Interview: Rarely Asked Questions – Helen Lederer

Helen Lederer

Helen Lederer is a bit of a comedy legend. She was part of the early 1980s new wave and went on to appear regularly on TV, most famously playing dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous. More recently she has appeared in programmes as diverse as Splash, Old Jack's Boat and Hollyoaks.

Lederer’s new novel, Losing It, is published on February 12. It tells the story of Millie, someone whose fame has faded. 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 it. 

When she's asked to be the front woman for a new diet pill, she naively believes that all her troubles will be solved. She will have money, be thinner and maybe she'll get more sex. Of course, it doesn’t work out like that…

We took part in Lederer’s online blog tour. Yesterday she was at the Rea Book Review, tomorrow she interviews herself at But today she is answering those 11 Rarely Asked Questions…

Buy Losing It here.


1. What is the last thing you do before you go onstage (apart from check your flies, check for spinach between teeth and check your knickers aren't sticking out of your skirt)? 

I do a counting thing: twenty steps forward and then ten back (or something like that) and visualise myself on a beach  - a hypnotic exercise I learned  when I had to dive on a TV show! Trouble is I’ve forgotten how many steps now – If I’m in a play I touch a lucky mat my daughter gave me and then a silver box a pal gave me and…oh you don’t want to know! I’m often late on stage.

2. What irritates you? 

People being rude and dismissive – I can’t let it lie … and if I’ve had a few drinks ... oh dear I might be mean back .. oh dear 

3. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done? 

Gilding down a ravine in my car with my child without the engine on and unable to break… the car stopped just as it was about to fall over the edge … my last words were a quiet ‘oh no…’ 

4. What is the most stupid thing you have ever done? 

So many examples … er,  I criticised  an acting agent to a casting agent who the acting agent was best friends with. Yes, I got sacked.

5. What has surprised you the most during your career in comedy?  

That I’m still here, and that I can still speak in front of strangers. Also how nice some people are, and also how shallow.

Read the rest of Helen Lederer's answers and find out more about her new book and blog tour here.


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