Liz Smith, once called the nation's favourite fictional grandmother, is a familiar face to all TV and cinema viewers.
She is most often recognised for her role of Nana in The Royle Family.
OUR BETTY is Liz's life story - from her cosseted yet lonely childhood with her beloved grandparents (her mother died giving birth to Liz's stillborn sibling), through the war with the WRENS, marriage and children, divorce and poverty, long years working in dead-end jobs such as in a plastic bag factory, until her heavenly escape of evening acting classes provided the chance for a career.
While working at Hamley's one Christmas ('I was one of those tiresome people who stop you and beg you to try samples of this and that'), she received a phone call from a young director who wanted to make an improvised film.
His name was Mike Leigh and the film Bleak Moments. From that point, when Liz was 50, her career took off and she has worked with some of the most famous names in the entertainment business.
OUR BETTY is, like its author, original, amusing and fascinating on the struggles, hopes and successes endemic of a life in front of the camera.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 240 pages, 25 line drawings and 15 photos
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication Date: 05/03/2007
- Category: Television
- ISBN: 9781416511618
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Review by the.ken.petersen
This is not so much a biography as an old lady sitting in a chair and telling one stories from her life. This works well for Liz Smith and makes for a most enjoyable read. The one reservation that I have is that, rather like that old lady, the narrative drifts off into a gentle slumber at the end.