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Writing Biography

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 as 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 literary based radio programmes such as  ‘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. 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 upcoming radio comedy is currently with Talk Back Productions and the film version of her first novel ‘LOSING IT’ is in progress. 

 

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.   

 

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 (CWIP) in 2018. Since then, CWIP has reached its third year with Marian Keyes as patron and enabled many unpublished writers to become published, acquire agents and have their work optioned for film. CWIP’s ‘Witty Wednesdays’ on Instagram is the first literary micro-vodcast for new and established authors.

BBC Breakfast - BBC One