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Pam Ayres, poet and broadcaster, is interviewed by Kirsty Young for Desert Island Discs.

Pam Ayres is a poet and broadcaster.

Pam was born in the Vale of the White Horse and retains her characteristic Berkshire burr. She is the youngest of six children, and grew up in the company of her four brothers and a sister in a small council house.

Although she was interested in writing from an early age, she failed her 11-plus exam and left school at 15 to join the Civil Service and later the Women's Royal Air Force, where she found opportunities to appear in amateur dramatics.

She began to perform her comic verse in local folk clubs in the early 1970s and her first break came when she secured a spot on BBC Radio Oxford. In 1975, she won the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks and by the following year she had given up her day job.

Pam has sold more than three million copies of her books, and has been called "the people's poet", thanks to her ability to write verse which resonates with a wide audience. Her best-loved poems include Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth, which was voted one of the UK's top ten comic verses in a BBC poll. Striking a very different note, her poem Woodland Burial has become a popular reading at funerals.

Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Sarah Taylor.

Available now

38 minutes

Last on

Fri 10 Aug 2018 09:00

Music Played

  • Tim van Eyken & Members of the War Horse Company Chorus

    Only Remembered

    • War Horse - Original music and songs from the National Theatre production.
    • Sony.
    • 2.
  • Alun Armstrong & Original 1985 London Cast

    Master of the House

    • Master of the House.
    • First Night Records.
    • 11.
  • Bob Dylan

    The Times They Are A-Changin' 

    • The Times They Are A-Changin'.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 1.
  • Neil Sedaka

    Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

    • Neil Sedaka: All Time Greatest Hits.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 3.
  • Bruce Springsteen

    Independence Day

    • The River.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 5.
  • Tina Turner

    The Best

    • Foreign Affair.
    • EMI Records Limited.
    • 2.

    • The Fureys & Davey Arthur

      When You Were Sweet Sixteen

      • Festival Of Irish Folk Music Volume 2.
      • Chyme Records.
      • 4.
  • Ruggero Leoncavallo

    Vesti la Giubba

    Performer: Luciano Pavarotti. Orchestra: Vienna Volksoper Orchestra. Conductor: Leone Magiera.
    • The Essential Pavarotti.
    • Decca.
    • 8.

    The Oxford Book of Humorous Prose: From William Caxton to P.G.Wodehouse by Frank Muir


    A medicine cabinet including mosquito repellent


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Pam Ayres
Producer Sarah Taylor


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