PASSED/FAILED: Jennifer Paterson
Thursday 21 August 1997
Hors d'oeuvre? When we came back from China, where I spent the first four years of my life, I was sent to a funny little school in Turkeycock Lane, Rye, with, I think, only one lady teaching. I can remember her giving us those terrible little sweets which looked like letters, to help us read.
First course? Then at about six, I went to a convent with my older brother. The nuns were very nice.
Main course? At about seven, I went to a tiny boarding school with only about 60 pupils, the Convent of the Assumption, which was in Ramsgate, evacuated during the War to Hereford. We did French and Latin, and "deportment": how to come through a door properly. We always had to curtsy - give a little bob - to the Reverend Mother when we passed her in the passage. I learnt "illumination", which meant those big capital letters with gold rubbed in and a picture inside.
Could I ask you to leave, madam? I was expelled at 15. They said that if I left, the school might settle down. I tended to be a rowdy; I would question things and wouldn't conform. I was an exhibitionist. They used to put my table in the middle of the refectory with a screen round it and I would climb over the top, which would cause screams. Reverend Mother Rita of the Resurrection (she couldn't pronounce her Rs) had a wooden arm with a hand covered by a sort of chamois leather; she used to take your hand, put it on top of hers and pat it. She took me for a walk and said: "I'm afraid we've decided you'd do better somewhere else." She used to call me "Chick-a-biddy-bee".
Afters? I was meant to go to the local [private] day school for my School Certificate, but at 16 became an assistant stage manager at Windsor Theatre for six months. I wanted to go to drama school but I think my family disapproved of acting, so I was sent to Kingston Art School. Then we went to join Father in Germany after the War.
My compliments to the examiners: Clarissa [Dickson Wright] is academic; she's very bright; she was a barrister. The only thing I ever passed, apart from the motorbike test, was the Royal Academy of Art exam which we took every year: it was still life and life drawing, which was usually of one of the girls - not naked, but dressed in a vest and bloomers.
Movable feast? I passed the motorbike test in about 1965 but I discovered much later that they had given me the wrong licence - for cars and heavy articulated lorries. I had to take the test again for the television programme, otherwise they wouldn't insure me on the series. Clarissa is perfectly happy in the sidecar and settles down, usually with a book - even though in the pilot film, when I'd never before driven with a sidecar (which is very difficult - it pulls) I lost control and hit a camera
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...
£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...