Actress and comedian HELEN LEDERER describes the different coastlines that have accompanied each phase of her life and why she would like to write her next book by the sea. Interview Alex Reece
I was born in Llandovery in Wales, which isn’t coastal, but you can get to the sea quite easily from there. The Gower Peninsula (pictured) is amazing. That was my first seaside. I have lots of photographs of me in the carry cot eating sand.
I lived in South-East London probably from age two and from there we went to Camber Sands in East Sussex. One of my parents’ friends lived in Ashford, Kent, so we’d stay with them and then go out to the seaside in the day. What did I enjoy about it? Just being able to go in the sea and the freedom – and I’m sure there was an ice-cream place.
I’m so lucky to have a college friend in Cornwall who I can go and see. Lantic Bay is very magical. I remember I went there after we left college and my child was just starting to walk. We both remember seeing this being, going: ‘OK, this is a beach – this is mine!’ She claimed it. Children just understand the landscape, don’t they?
All these seascapes have got their own culture and quality of light. Working on Old Jack’s Boat [the CBeebies series filmed in Staithes, North Yorkshire] is fantastic – it’s really interesting being up there. Staithes is famous for its light, its seascapes and its art – I hadn’t realised that English Impressionists learned and studied there. It’s a different world for a townie like me, living in London.
I wrote my new book in very stressful conditions, because my next-door neighbours were rebuilding their house. For the next book, I’d like to go somewhere and be able to really shut off and not have drilling sounds, phones, people, pressure or urban stuff. We have to downsize anyway. The only fear would be that it’s too quiet. Maybe I need the angst to fight against, to get the brain moving? But the sea would be the place to go to for complete freedom.
Helen's book Losing it is published by Pan Macmillan (£7.99 paperback, £9.99 ebook).