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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the blue, one of the best.
I've been reading show business biographies for decades, and this effort by Andy Merriman is one of the best I've come across. Jacques was a much-loved figure and the author goes to some lengths to explain why. He doesn't shy away from her frustration with the work she got, or her unconventional approach to life. Among revelations (to this reader, at least) is the...
Published on 15 Sep 2008 by Ian Payn

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't get to the heart of its subject
As one or two other reviewers have hinted, this is a competent rundown of Miss Jacques' life, but the author never really gets inside his subject, or offers us much insight into what she was really like. We hear that she got on well with everyone in the business (except Norman Wisdom) and that she was a very warm and helpful woman, but we never quite get to understand...
Published on 23 Jan 2011 by Amazon Customer


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out of the blue, one of the best., 15 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
I've been reading show business biographies for decades, and this effort by Andy Merriman is one of the best I've come across. Jacques was a much-loved figure and the author goes to some lengths to explain why. He doesn't shy away from her frustration with the work she got, or her unconventional approach to life. Among revelations (to this reader, at least) is the assertion that all was not as rosy between Hattie and Eric Sykes as one might have imagined. Kudos to the writer and the publishers for not padding the book with out a hundred or so pages of filmographies, etc., a worrying trend, especially when forking out large amounts for hardbacks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hattie - an appreciation, 4 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
I remember seeing Hattie and Eric when I was a child. I even remember the Hattie - 'This is Your Life'. I loved Hattie and Eric and was delighted with the 'This is Your Life' . I remember also the divorce when John Le Mesurier was potrayed as 'the guilty party' . Saw the BBC production a few weeks ago and found my admiration of Hattie reduced but I resolved to read the book. I enjoyed the book but more importantly having read it I appreciated Hattie more than ever before. There was more to her than Hattie and Eric - she was an established comedienne and actress in her own right and those who were close to her - including Le Mesurier - treasured and appreciated her warmth and generosity so much that her frailties were not counted but were dismissed. What a wonderful person she must have been and this book sets out the frailties as facts but it also captures and highlights all of the positives of her life and personality so that once again she is restored as one of our national heroines. Loved the book and the revelation that we should all be counted by our positives and quickly forgiven our weaknesses.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superlative Read!, 15 April 2011
By 
Martin Oldham (Canterbury, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
As a reader who specialises in biographies, I can honestly say that this book on Hattie Jacques is without doubt, one of the most entertaining that I have ever read. It is quite succinct in comparison with what I am accustomed to, but the author provides a true insight into the life of this unforgettable comedienne. All aspects of Hattie's life are discussed in some detail, and by the end of my read, I felt that Hattie had personally told me about her life. Merriman uses contemporary sources and mainly interviews that Hattie gave throughout her career, or accounts from people who knew her very well, such as her son Robin, or her close friend, Joan Sims, which allows for a thorough insight into her life.

There are just two things that permeate an otherwise thrilling read. When the author tells us about Hattie's relationship with her co-stars, he often describes in detail the lives of these people, and this seems to take some of the focus away from his leading lady. Secondly, and most interestingly, at the very end of the book, the author states that Hattie continued her affair with John Schofield, on and off, throughout the 1970's. Unfortunately, he does not explore this statement any further, nor makes any previous reference to it, and I was left in rather a quandary as to the reliability of it. Otherwise the book was a truly enjoyable read, and well worth the money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She was so much more than just Matron, 12 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
Even some 30 years or so after her death Hattie Jacques is still one of Britain's most recognisable and best loved actresses. Although it is fair to say she is remembered chiefly as a key member of the `Carry On', team she was a much more versatile actress than people perhaps gave her credit for. This book is an affectionate look at her life and is very easy to get into, giving a sympathetic insight into the private life of HJ. From her birth and early life in Kent (her mother was an actress), her early ambitions to be a ballerina, her nursing work during the Blitz, her work with the Players' Theatre, her radio work and right to the roles she is widely known for today.

She comes across as a beautiful, generous and warm people person. Her size is of course covered she is quoted as saying "over the years the years I've learned to build a sort of invisible wall around me..." Her marriage to fellow actor, John Le Mesurier naturally features and a blip on the horizon of her life was her affair with a chauffeur John Schofield who actually moved into the Le Mesurier marital home but then later abandoned her.

I've always admired both her and Joan Sims and this wonderful book just made me like her even more. I truthfully didn't know very much about her so this book was ideal and I hadn't realised that so much of her life was played out around the parts of London that are my own stomping grounds.

All in all an enjoyable read!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God Bless Hattie!, 3 Jun 2010
By 
M. Norris "Glamour Fan" (Brighton, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
This is without doubt one of the best showbiz biographies I have read. Andy Merriman gives us a fascinating view of the wonderful Hattie Jacques' colourful life both in and out of the public eye. And what a full and fabulous life it was!

Her story is told with honesty, integrity and affection and includes contributions from her son and surviving friends who knew her best.

She was a lively and multi faceted character. A bright and funny lady, a truly great actress and comedienne, a loving mum to her two sons, a devoted daughter to her beloved mother, a friend who many loved and relied on, and a woman whose love life was often eventful.

There is no hint of ego or any unpleasant trait in this lady!

People remember her home with great nostalgia. It reflected her character - warm and welcoming, 'A place of abundance' as one friend recalled. She welcomed family and friends at all hours and was known to cook guests bacon and eggs at 3am (her energy boosted by the purple hearts she freely handed round to her guests!)

Her courtship by John Le Mesurier is covered with touching detail. The chapters on her early career as a popular stage performer, before she became a radio star with the ITMA show, are fascinating and capture the era vividly.

Andy Merriman leaves us in no doubt this lady was a star from the very start of her career. She was also wildly sexy (once likened to Ava Gardner), though her weight always bothered her and she hated being the butt of 'fat jokes'.

This did not stop her embarking on a passionate, though ill fated affair which ended her marriage.

I personally didn't much like the 'Carry Ons' and much preferred her in 'Sykes' where her size was never referred to and she turned in beautifully judged comic performances that more than matched Eric Sykes.

It emerges in the book that Sykes may have shown some professional jealousy towards Hattie. It is said this caused her stress and sadness and consequently when she died her sons banned him from her funeral. This is terribly sad, especially when one views the Sykes shows and is reminded of what a wonderful double act they were.

This is an irrestistible and heart warming story, skilfully told. I was left feeling full of affection for Hattie and breathless admiration for her talent. She was very much loved by her family and friends but also by those who only knew her through the TV screen.

A great shame she suffered ill health towards the end of her life and died prematurely in her fifties. She was a wonderful actress and a very special human being and had so much more to give. I felt privileged to get this in depth insight into her life and personality.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 24 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
A well written book with a good outline of her public and private life. TBH I felt it could have been longer as many of her peers are still alive but still a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the real" Carry on", 21 Feb 2011
By 
J. R. Valentine (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
this biop of Hattie Jacques does lift the lid on the life of this well loved actress. I grew up not knowing of the turmoil and lack of self worth in her life until I read this book.I would certainly recommend this read for its honesty and putting the record straight about the strong sexual urges Hattie had had towards men ,particularly younger men. The book also gives an accurate account of Hattie's tireless efforts in supporting her many charities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 31 May 2012
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
The reviews of this book were so correct. An exellent biography of a woman who had an unusual life and was loved by all who knew her. It isn't one of those books that goes "then I did this show, then I did that film" - it flows and and you really get to know the person not what they have done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worth the wait, 14 Nov 2011
This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
It was a pleasure to read about this wonderful actress in detail and hats off to the author for at last giving us a full-scale biography of a lady who brought so much pleasure to so many people.

The fact that this biography was authorised shows the author had 'inside information' and this clearly shows in the detail - and sympathetic approach. It would have been good to see more written about Hattie's work but on the whole this book is a treat.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait!, 9 Dec 2008
By 
J. A. Hogg "JAH" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques (Paperback)
I've been waiting years for this book. Hattie Jacques was one of the finest actresses of her generation. And, like Joan Sims, was so much more than just a member of the Carry On team.

Hattie's hugely interesting life-story has been very well researched and wonderfully written. The illustrations are a joy and contributions manifold. Easily the best biography i've read this year.
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Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques
Hattie: The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques by Andy Merriman (Paperback - 25 Sep 2008)
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