Pam Ayres - at least she's a poet with the necessary aptitude. Book cover photo by Trevor Leighton, courtesy of Ebury Press, Acorn Entertainments Ltd and Pam Ayres.

Pam Ayres (Cont.)

In February 1976 Pam was paid £600 to star in a cream cheese commercial and the next year, in 1977 (by way of a change), she appeared on the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium to celebrate HM The Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

HM The Queen apparently developed a great liking for Pam Ayres. She was asked to perform part of her one-woman stage show at a Royal Gala Charity Reception at St James’ Palace and she entertained HM The Queen yet again at Sandringham in January 2004 (after which she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2004).

Pam married theatre producer Dudley Russell and they had two sons, William and James. The family lived in the Cotswolds along with a menagerie of rare breeds of cattle, sheep, chickens and pigs, a ready source of material.

‘After I got married and had our two sons, I felt as if the real world had opened up,’ Pam said. ‘I think children are a great leveller and I can see now how squeamish I was before...My mother said, “We all have to come to it” and I came to it.

‘What I also came to, by marrying and having children, was a new world to write about. Family life has always seemed to me to be a rich picking-ground. “Once I was a Looker and so was my Spouse”, came from this time and “Don’t Start!” about the way we talk to our children. I think there is more real humour to be found in family life than in any elaborately constructed gag.’

On Comparing my Husband to Robbie Burns

Oh oft I think of Robbie Burns,

Striding through the heather,

All manly clad in tartan plaid

To spurn the Highland weather,

O’er loch and glen, that man of men,

His black eyes all a-flashing

Could any heart not leap, and start,

Or fail to find him dashing?

Oh oft I think of Robbie Burns,

His dirk thrust in his gaiters,

And then I think of you dear,

And go home and peel the taters. 


Since her appearance on Opportunity Knocks, Pam has published six books of poems, sold many millions of books, record albums, CDs and DVDs, made guest appearances on an astonishing number of radio and TV programs, and become a regular on the BBC’s Radio 2 and Radio 4.

Pam’s career as a poet, author, broadcaster and author now spans over 35 years. She continues to perform her solo show in theatres throughout the UK, with more than 60 concerts a year.

In April 2011 she made her debut appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe and her show became one of the fastest selling tickets. The Scotsman reported: ‘Pam Ayres has a quality of fun which glows ever more brightly as newer, lesser entertainers make their bid for stardom.’

Pam Ayres has toured her one-woman stage show to Ireland, the Middle East, Hong Kong, France, Kenya, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 2011 she performed 15 shows in Australia and appeared at the QPAC Concert Hall in Brisbane on 8 November.

Pam's theatre shows during the UK spring tour played to more than 90% capacity over 20 shows and several Theatre Managers said that her show was the first sold-out show they’d had this year.

In 2012 Pam will be busy with a series of UK Concert and Literary Festival dates for autumn, which will coincide with the release of the paperback edition of her autobiography The Necessary Aptitude. The hardback edition, published in September last year, was the UK’s bestselling female autobiography of 2011. This makes Pam one of the few authors who have had bestsellers in the Sunday Times charts in just about every decade since the 1970s.

Ayres fans will be delighted to know that her next book of poems will be published in the northern autumn of 2013. Pam has always written a commentary on the things that happen around her and finds these notes an endless source of amusement and inspiration, so it's unlikely that she will ever run out of ideas.

Pam Ayres has never thought of herself as a poet. Poetry seemed to her to be such a serious and profound business, and she was rather more interested in writing something that would make people laugh. She believes that her work is more in line with the British music hall tradition.

‘I have a large and much-loved collection of music hall pieces and I feel a great sense of identity when I look through them. True, most of my pieces are not songs but the feel is there, the sense of fun, the pleasant shuffling of words to get a comic effect. I would like to think I was in that tradition...I wrote these pieces to be proclaimed out loud; with gusto...if they make you laugh I will be extremely happy.’

Website Watch

Pam Ayres

In the 1970s Pam Ayres did for poetry for the common man and woman what J.K. Rowling later did for kids’ reading. There’s a touch of the music hall and a bit of Joyce Grenfell in Pam’s approach and delivery. We loved her then and audiences across the world still flock to her performances. This is the official Pam Ayres website: poet, writer, broadcaster and beguiling entertainer. You can look and listen to some of her poems, keep up with the news, find out about Pam’s tour dates (God knows when the woman finds time to breathe), and check out her books and dvds. You can find out even more about Pam, listen to an extract of her new book ...or just go to and trawl your way through her website at leisure.