The Centre of the Bed by Joan Bakewell

Review published on January 17, 2018.

1933 saw the birth of Joan Dawson Rowlands. Within three years or so, her family moved to Bakewell Road just outside Stockport. Some eighteen years later, she altered her name and began a career as an influential person who infiltrated all styles of presentation within the media.

This autobiography, The Centre of the Bed, is an incredibly intimate story of her life thus far. Her face is so well known to the public that one wonders if she not actually omnipresent. Somebody of her calibre needed a book like this to represent her life story. I purchased this a few years ago, the dustcover front picture is quite beguiling, and the back cover picture shows how she looks now. Still attractive today, as many males would attest to.

She was the first of her family to attend university, where she met her first husband Michael. Thereon in, her life began within the media of the day, motherhood followed whilst trying to hold down some form of employment. This was in an age where women had only few directional avenues of work open to them; she did however, through connections and sheer endurance, conquer several stepping stones that led her eventually into the newly re-established television era. Television had already begun, but WW2 wrote a quick ending to its formative history.

Throughout this book, she writes about how the BBC, and others of its ilk conducted their business, how the older hierarchy worked diligently together to make the BBC the world class act it was, but she also relates how that all changed as the years slipped by, political, and ethical aims all changed for the worst it would appear. Her assorted contracts fell by the wayside as the years rolled on; undaunted she simply altered direction and did something fresh. That is why she is so well known to people, she has covered so much ground over the course of her history.

Within these pages lie revelations about her personal life, it is good for those of us who demand the scandals, but all she has done is lived her life by how she saw it, how she reacted to circumstance, her priorities are carefully considered and I truly believe she has had a great, action packed life, as written about, very eloquently, in this autobiography.

Reg Seward 4/1

The Centre of the Bed by Joan Bakewell
Sceptre 9780340823118 pbk Jun 2004

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