Joanna Lumley: ‘I love Patsy because we’re such polar opposites…’

The nuns at convent school wore black stockings under their long habits and wimples. They were part of the Blue Stockings teaching community, and more concerned with turning us into interesting, strong women than anything holy.

We followed my father’s regiment in the Gurkhas from India to Hong Kong and Malaysia. My memories are of a bungalow that looked out over a little air strip where biplanes would land and the spotlight from a prison camp that flicked through my bedroom windows.

I went to modelling school for one month where I was taught how to walk and be graceful and put on makeup so it wouldn’t frighten the horses.

I still count myself as a Bond girl. We were sent to Switzerland for two months [nel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service] on £100 a week – which was masses of money – and treated as stars.

People often stop me and say: "Oh, my mother is Patsy” [a partire dal Absolutely Fabulous]. I love Patsy because we’re such polar opposites. She’s so dismissive of laws and rules and behaving properly, and I’m clearly a saint.

I tend to say yes to everything because of my fear that I never went to drama school. dico, "Sì, how lovely,” hoping it will lead to something else.

I went to a marvellous party at No 10 when President Clinton was in power. He was stupendously good-looking, with piercing blue eyes, and seemed to be seven feet taller than everybody else.

io spent nine days on a desert island off Madagascar. I didn’t have soap, a comb, makeup, a change of clothes, a mirror, a camera or anything to eat. When I came back, I saw this wild woman and realised I had no idea what I really look like.

You can’t be happy all the time, but you should always try to make other people happy. And that includes everything that lives on this planet, from people to fishes.

What’s the secret to my eternal youth? The Holy Grail. Ha!

I’ve been vegetarian since my late 20s. Sometimes I’ll smell a barbecue and say, “Ooh, that smells divine,” and my husband will say, “But it’s meat!"

I’m a great reduce, reuse, recycler. I never buy plastic bottles of water. I reuse clingfilm, take cloth bags to the supermarket, flatten my bubble wrap. I wish the recycle companies wouldn’t just say: not currently recycled. Lazy bastards. I didn’t say bastards. They are just lazy, naughty people. Sort it out.

io want to say to people dispirited after this year of lockdown and sadness: don’t lose heart, have energy, do something.

Joanna Lumley’s 10 Steps to Greening Good is at




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