May 21, 2008

Podcast: Joyce Grenfell

Sir Bernard Fergusson (1911-1980), Baron Ballantrae of the Bay of Islands, was Governor-General from 1962 to 1967. His father, Sir Charles Fergusson, was Governor-General from 1924 to 1930, his father-in-law, the Earl of Glasgow, was governor from 1892 to 1896, and his grandfather, Sir James Fergusson, was governor from 1873 to 1874.

The New Zealand link continues with Bernard's son Geordie, British High Commissioner since 2006.

Sir Bernard's sister-in-law was the renowned actress and comedienne Joyce Grenfell (1910-1979). Joyce and Reggie Grenfell were a regular guests at Wellington's Government House and are fondly remembered by a generation of dinner guests, in an era before the decline into political patronage changed the Vice-regal milieu forever.

From the BBC's Great Lives series, comic performer Arabella Weir nominates Joyce Grenfell, whose comic monologues were a huge influence on her, growing up. Joyce's family friend and biographer Janie Hampton supplies the inside information in this 28 minute program.

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