Helen began her career in stand-up comedy at London’s famous Comedy Store, as part of the early 80s comedians including French & Saunders, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson
and Harry Enfield.
She wrote her first play aged ten and was an avid diarist which served her well recently when asked to reveal them in BBC Radio 4’s My Teenage Diary.
On television, Helen is possibly best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in all five series of ‘ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS’ with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, but her creation as The Girl at the Bar in BBC’s ‘NAKED VIDEO’ utilised her comedic monologue writing form – which later appeared in regular slots on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s
Hour and then as reportage when she was a columnist for ‘Woman and Home’ magazine.
She has written and performed several highly successful one-woman shows - her one-woman show ‘STILL CRAZY’, a sell out at the Edinburgh Festival in the 90’s, transferred to the Purcell Rooms, followed by a national tour concluding at the Donmar Warehouse. Her most recent show ‘I MIGHT AS WELL SAY IT’ was also written and performed by Helen and received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018.
As a commissioned writer on BBC Radio she has written and starred in two series of ‘LIFE WITH LEDERER’ and ‘ALL CHANGE’ (pick of the week BBC Radio 4). She has also been writer and presenter of ‘HOME TRUTHS’, and regularly written and presented on ‘PICK OF THE WEEK’, while being a panellist on ‘THE NEWS QUIZ’, ‘QUOTE UNQUOTE’, ‘JUST A MINUTE’, ‘SAY THE WORD’, guest reviewer for ‘KALEIDOSCOPE’, ‘FOURTH COLUMN’, ‘BOOKED’, as well as a literary panellist for ‘SPEAKING VOLUMES’, ‘A GOOD READ’, ‘OPEN BOOK’ and ‘GREAT LIVES’.
Other writing: Helen is the agony aunt for MY WEEKLY MAGAZINE, has written for travel sections in MAIL ON SUNDAY and THE INDEPENDENT, was regular wine columnist in The SUNDAY EXPRESS, and has written features and short stories for ‘Girls Night In’ Harper Collins, ‘The Erotica Review’ Mammoth Press THE SCOTSMAN, THE EXPRESS, WOMAN’S WEEKLY and more recently for ‘STORIES TO MAKE YOU SMILE’ published by Simon and Schuster, ‘THAMES STREET’ (ShelterBox Book Club) and ‘THIS IS HOW WE COME BACK STRONGER’ (Feminist Book Society). She also wrote the forward to ‘AND I’D DO IT AGAIN’ - by the eccentric explorer Aimee Crocker (Head of Zeus). She writes a regular guest column in the I NEWSPAPER and for the Telegraph as well as guest columnist for ‘FUNNY OLD WORLD’ in WOMAN’S WEEKLY.
Her published books include ‘COPING with HELEN LEDERER’ (Angus and Robertson), ‘SINGLE MINDING’ (Hodder and Stoughton) and ‘FINGER FOOD’ (Accent Press).
Her comedy novel ‘LOSING IT’ published by Pan Macmillan was NOMINATED FOR THE BOLLINGER EVERYMAN WODEHOUSE PRIZE in 2015. Helen read the audiobook version of ‘LOSING IT’ with excellent reviews and praise for ‘LOSING IT’ in the press. And currently the memoir, ‘NOT THAT I’M BITTER’... is in its final stages.
Helen has enjoyed reading Jacqueline Wilson’s award-winning children’s stories for BBC Audio including ‘THE WORRY WEBSITE’, ‘A CLEAN BREAK’ and ‘LOLA ROSE’. She has also recorded ‘THE ADVENTURES OF MS. WIZ’ and ‘MY NAUGHTY LITTLE SISTER’ and Roald Dahl’s ‘THE MAGIC FINGER’ - among others.
Helen has been a judge for the Costa Book Awards and The Roederer Best Wine Writer Awards, while being both host and judge for The Romantic Novelist Award. She was a judge for the Women’s Prize For Female Fiction in 2011 – and set up her own Comedy Women In Print Prize in 2018 in order to celebrate and enable witty women’s writing to make it more visible, and create a platform for women’s wit - procuring a publishing offer from HarperFiction for the winner of the Unpublished Fiction category. Since then, CWIP has enabled more than 24 authors to become published and acquire agents. Judges include Marian Keyes, Maureen Lipman and Joanna Scanlan. CWIP partners with universities and TV companies to offer meaningful support. CWIP’s ‘Witty Wednesdays’ on Instagram is the first literary micro-vodcast for new and established authors.
PRESS COVERAGE FOR COMEDY WOMEN IN PRINT
BBC Breakfast – BBC One