The latest chapter in Helen Lederer’s busy career

Helen Lederer. Picture by Matt Crockett
Helen Lederer. Picture by Matt Crockett

Horsham’s Capitol offers a chance to enjoy An Audience With Helen Lederer on February 21 – and a chance too to learn about her new book.

Actress and writer Helen will share a tongue in cheek journey around her brush with show business, literati and reality TV, as well as an exclusive reveal of her debut novel Losing It.

It’s the latest chapter in a long and busy career.

“Somebody called me the supply teacher of comedy, which I thought was very funny. That sums it up, the fact that I have been around for a long time. Lorraine Kelly on the TV programme said to me ‘You are a survivor, Helen!’

“I suppose it just means that when everyone else has done it or doesn’t want to do it, they ask me! For some reason, I just found the comment amusing. It means that I am in the canvas. I know looking back there are not that many posts for Queen of BBC Comedy, but it’s OK. I am quite comfortable being a player.”

Helen is probably best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous in which she appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders in all six series, as well as creating the Girl at the Bar in Naked Video.

However, to many she is known for her wit and observational humour. A comedy writer with an extensive portfolio that includes writing and performing her own material, Helen has starred in a great number of top TV comedy and radio shows, including Bottom, French and Saunders, One Foot in the Grave and many more.

The point is, she’s an original – and that’s good and bad.

“It alarms people. When I first started, I don’t think people were used to people being original, writing their own material.”

In hindsight, the ’80s were indeed a bit of a golden age for comedy: “There were people chartering new areas. Comedy has got its own epochs. That charted that epoch. And there must be another epoch just around the corner.”

But certainly there has been a proliferation of comedy since the days when Helen first broke through: “I suppose it all helped set up the infrastructure and helped people realise there were money-making opportunities to be had.”

And now, for Helen, comes a new chapter. Well, a lot of chapters, actually. Losing It has just been published by Pan Macmillan.

Millie is agony aunt for The Good Woman Magazine. In debt, divorced and desperate, she’s about to lose her house. Worse, she has no money, a best friend with a better sex life than her, a daughter in Papua New Guinea and too much weight in places she really doesn’t want.

When she’s asked to be front woman for a new diet pill, Millie naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She can save her house, the weight will be gone and maybe she’ll get sex – or at least have someone to go to the cinema with.

If only life was really that easy. As the money dwindles and the weight clings on, Millie is forced to up her game. It doesn’t take her long to realize it’s going to take more than a diet pill to solve her troubles.

The day of the photo shoot arrives…Can a middle aged woman really have it all?

Helen promises to navigate it all in a hilarious, brutally-honest exploration of a woman who still feels 30 but can’t deny the odd stray grey…

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £18.

Call 01403 750220 or visit www.thecapitolhorsham.com.