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Pam AyresIn 2005 PAM AYRES celebrated 30 years as a professional entertainer.

It was November 1975 when Pam made the first of her appearances on the ITV talent show, the ‘Pop Idol’ of its day, Opportunity Knocks, and this proved to be the start of an incredible career for a unique entertainer. There is no other contemporary entertainer whose career was established by writing and performing comic verse.

PAM AYRES always wanted to be a writer. At school she shone brilliantly at English and Art, but was pretty useless at everything else. The youngest of a family of six children, Pam was born in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire, during the long cold winter of 1947. After leaving school Pam joined the civil service as a clerical assistant, a job in which she soon lost interest, and which prompted her to join the Women’s Royal Air Force. It was while Pam was in the WRAF that she developed her love of singing and acting, and slowly the wild idea emerged that she would like to be an “entertainer”.

On leaving the WRAF Pam set out to achieve her ambition. By this time her poems and verses had become a hobby, written and performed for the local folk club in Oxfordshire, to where she had returned to live and work as a secretary. In 1974, a friend arranged for her to go to the local radio station, BBC Radio Oxford, to read one of her poems. Pam’s first broadcast for Radio Oxford, in 1974, was selected for BBC Radio 4’s Pick of the Week, and subsequently repeated on the 1974 Pick of the Year programme, by which time Radio Oxford had asked Pam to return and recite some more of her poems.

In 1975 Pam decided to audition for television’s Opportunity Knocks. Since then Pam has appeared on virtually every major TV show in the UK, has had her own TV series, and filmed Christmas TV Specials in Hong Kong and Canada. Other highlights include the BBC televising one of Pam’s solo stage shows, and her appearance on the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium in 1977, to celebrate HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In October 1996, Pam performed part of her stage show at a Royal Gala Charity Reception at St. James’ Palace, attended by HM The Queen, and she entertained HM The Queen again, in the somewhat less august premises of the Sandringham WI in January 2004. Pam was thrilled to be awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004.

Pam Ayres’ book sales to date have exceeded 2½ million worldwide. September 2006 sees the publication of her latest book, PAM AYRES – SURGICALLY ENHANCED. Pam’s record, tape, & CD sales are in excess of half a million. 2006 also sees the release of a live DVD recording, Pam Ayres - In Her Own Words, and a new live CD recording, Pam Ayres – Ancient & Modern.

Pam AyresFor the last ten years Pam has been a regular on BBC Radio. From 1996 until 1999 Pam presented a two-hour music and chat show every Sunday afternoon for Radio 2, followed by two series of Pam Ayres’ Open Road, in which Pam visited various parts of the country from Skye in the North to Devon in the South meeting people with interesting stories to tell about their lives and the area where they lived. More recently Pam has become a regular contributor to Radio 4, on such programmes as Just A Minute, Say The Word, That Reminds Me, and two series of her own Ayres On The Air.

Pam Ayres performs her solo show in theatres throughout the UK, performing in excess of 50 concerts a year. She has taken her one-woman show to Ireland, the Middle East, Hong Kong, France, Kenya, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Pam returns to Australia for another extensive tour, including the Sydney Opera House, in October 2006.

Recently Pam was featured in a list of Britain’s 20 Funniest Women, and one of her poems, “I Wish I’d Looked After me Teeth”, was also voted into the Top Ten of a BBC poll to find the UK’s 100 Favourite Comic Poems, in which Pam was one of the few writers in the Top Ten who is still alive! In the UK Arts Council’s report on poetry, Rhyme and Reason (pub.Oct 2000), Pam was named as the fifth best-selling poet during the previous years 1998 & 1999, following Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, and Sylvia Plath.

PAM AYRES is married to concert agent & theatre producer Dudley Russell, and they have two sons, William and James, aged 23 and 22. The family lives in the Cotswolds, where they keep rare breeds of cattle, together with some sheep, pigs, chickens, and guinea fowl, and where Pam is a keen (and knowledgeable) gardener and beekeeper.

 

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