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A Play on Words [Mass Market Paperback]

Deric Longden
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2000
Episodes in the life of Longden, his wife and his army of cats. The theme is the experience of Longden watching LOST FOR WORDS become a TV drama along with a collection of observations of life at home and abroad.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Books; New edition edition (1 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552146609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552146609
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deric Longden was born in Chesterfield in 1936 and married Diana Hill in 1957. They had two children, Sally and Nick. After various jobs he took over a small factory making women's lingerie, but began writing and broadcasting in the 1970s and before long he was writing regularly for programmes like 'Does He Take Sugar?' and 'Womans Hour'. Most of his work was based on his own experience. The demands made on him by Diana's illness, subsequently believed to be a form of ME, forced him to sell the factory, and since then he has devoted himself to full-time writing, broadcasting, lecturing and after-dinner speaking.

Diana's Story, published in 1989, some years after Diana's death, was a bestseller. The book hit the Sunday Times best seller list straight away, won the NCR book award. It was followed by Lost for Words, The Cat Who Came in from the Cold, I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Enough to Make a Cat Laugh and A Play On Words. Deric Longden's first two books were adapted for television under the title Wide-Eyed and Legless, and an adaptation of Lost for Words. Both were nominated for multiple BAFTAs and Lost For Words, screened in January 1999, attracting an audience of more than 12 million viewers and won the Emmy for best foreign drama and a BAFTA for Thora Hird as best actress.

He married the writer Aileen Armitage in 1990 and now lives in Huddersfield. Aileen and he were jointly were awarded honorary Doctor of Literature from Huddersfield University in 2004 and Deric a honorary Master of Letters from Derby University in 2006.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

A behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Lost For Words, the Emmy-award winning TV drama based on the Deric Longden classic.

In A Play on Words, Longden is at his wittiest chronicling the wondrous experience of seeing his autobiographical book Lost For Words come to life on film. Several years in the writing, his screen-adapted version of this sequel to Wide Eyed and Legless had finally been completed thanks to the continual needling of Dame Thora Hird, who breathed life into the role of his mother in both films.

In his own inimitable style, Deric describes the daily goings-on around the film set amidst the continuing chaos of his private world, where he serves as official guide dog to his blind wife, the writer Aileen Armitage, and as parent, therapist, chief entertainer and chef to their three and a half cats and assorted other animals. Despite the usual interruptions by this familiar cast of characters, his own brand of literary work somehow manages to get done.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A Play On Words is another hilarious selection of anecdotes from Deric Longden. This time he chronicles the production of one of his previous books, Lost For Words, into a television play starring Thora Hird and Pete Postlethwaite. Like his other books we hear of his totally unbelievable but undoubtedly true exploits with his wife, (the writer Aileen Armitage), his cats and with ordinary members of the public. The differences that make this book special are, first, it gives us an insight into the mind of the writer watching his work come to life on television. Secondly, we are given an idea of what it is like to work with an actress with the experience of the delightful Dame Thora Hird. (Dame Thora Hird also appeared in a previous adaptation of Deric Longden's work - Wide Eyed and Legless). She plays his late mother. To see his mother recreated again by Dame Thora Hird was obviously an extremely emotional experience for Deric Longden. We are privileged to share some of those emotions in this book. However, unlike Diana's Story (about the illness and tragic death of his first wife) this book concentrates more on the joys of being able to remember a loved one without being morbid or morose. It is a truly funny book.
I would recommend that people read Lost For Words before this book to fully appreciate the story.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best birthday ever! 11 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's not very often that you get such an inside view of what it is like having a book turned into a television play, and Deric (as usual) manages to capture his life in a unique and very funny way. I met Deric in November this year (the day before my birthday; hence the above) and he is a lovely warm man in person, very humble and quite nervous still at public speaking. He signed my book, and even put happy birthday in it! Although I now have an edition with a few extra words by the author,which makes it extra special, it is nevertheless a really warm and funny book. My advice if you've never read his work before is to try "Lost for words" the book first, then the film, and then this. Even if you don't, you will find yourself hanging on to every word. By the way, Deric, I meant what I said, we all want more books on your life & cats!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I got this book this afternoon and finished it within 5 hours. The story makes you laugh and cry all the way through. I found myself laughing out loud and fighting back the tears whilst I read this book, something that last happened with Derec's previous book "I'm a Stranger Here Myself". I found myself raging with jealousy at him for having the honour of being made to take Dame Thora Heard out to lunch. This book is up there with all of his previous works, I am going to re-purchase the rest of his back catalogue, He is so good, if you lend his books to anybody you will never see them again. Guard them with your life!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I couldn't wait to buy this book, and I wasn't disappointed. From the very first page it is like being taken by the hand and introduced to a wonderful witty family. Once again you are introduced to the Longden family and led through their ups and their downs but always with a smile.
I was reading this in Crete and must apologise to everyone who was kept awake by my outbursts of laughter. And his way of telling the tale of an old cat who comes for a final visit brings such a lump to your throat.
If I could say just one thing to the Author in disagreement it would be "Sorry Deric, but you do remind me of Bernard Cribbons"!
If you have never read an autobiagraphical book before - try this, you won't be bored - but enriched from this man's tales.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Pets 1 Mar 2009
By JilleO
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Another book brilliantly written by Deric Longden, regarding his brood of cats. Just so funny, makes me wonder if really he's living in my house with my animals. A good light hearted read for anyone who is an animal lover, everyone can associate with this book, it makes you laugh at the antics that they get up to. So easy to read, makes a cold soggy day turn bright.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deric Longden's books come alive in my mind. 13 Sep 2000
It's like being a part of Deric Longden's family. His writing truly comes alive in my mind. It's almost like being invited in his home for a cup of coffee and being made part of his life. Although I would be the foreigner in his beloved Country, at the end of the day I would be as English as he is. I have all his books, plus the video on Lost for Words. I actually felt sad when I finished reading his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ectasy is a book by Deric Longden............... 10 Nov 1999
By A Customer
Once again we meet up with Deric, Aileen and his motley crew of feline friends! This book follows a period of Derics' life when the film was being made about his mother, I first encountered Deric in the back of YOUR CAT magazine in october of '96 and have been following the tales of Deric ever since,all the various cats that have come through his catflap!I think this writer should have more than a monthly column in a magazine,as so much goes on in his life that it is sheer hell to have to wait for a new book to come out and i frequently read all of his books at least four times a year ,Having just read A PLAY ON WORDS, I cant wait to pick it up and start allover again! Life without a cat seemed ominous the way Deric portrays it, so I have acquired 5 cats myself, in a 2 year space and just hope that Deric doesnt come to my house or the cats would want to leave with him! Once again, A wonderful book to be treasured for eternity!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic a must read.
Published 10 days ago by Tina Durkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Deric has written a superb book as always
Published 14 days ago by Trisha
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious at times.
Occasionally hilarious.
Published 1 month ago by buxom
5.0 out of 5 stars i love deric longdon was not
i love deric longdon was not disappointed
Published 2 months ago by patricia king
3.0 out of 5 stars Sadly disappointing, sorry Deric
Have loved the other books by deric, go back and read them whenever I feel I need a good laugh or cheering up. But sadly found this too forced and not as fresh. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
Very touching and very humorous at the same time, a really good book I just wished it was longer as I was enjoying it so much.
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Deric Longden work of art
As I've said on all my reviews on Deric Longden's book I love them. In fact I'd go as far to say they are among my favourite ever reads. Read more
Published 6 months ago by CatMad JoJo
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable humour
Having read other books by the author i'm glad to report his humour is still apparent. Complete belly laughs on occasions with the rest an enjoyable read and pleasant way to pass... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kibbie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Witty and poignant, very readable. Sad that there will be no more books from this author, He will be missed
Published 11 months ago by Andra Tongue
5.0 out of 5 stars Deric longden
A great loss to the reading public, a book that makes you laugh and cry all at the same time
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. Margaret H. Rhodes
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