From TV presenter with odd rabbit puppet Gus Honeybun on TSW (essential viewing for a time when I was at college in Devon back in the early 80’s) to host of “The Big Allotment Challenge” in 2015 on BBC2, Fern Britton has had some television career! Not on our screens as much as when she was a daily fixture on “This Morning” she has found time to branch out into writing and this was the first fruits of her labour (I’m going to stop this now in case the allotment puns keep coming!) She has kept herself on familiar territory as the main character has to juggle a television career with the demands of her family.
When her husband dies suddenly TV journalist Christie Lynch finds herself having to give up her spot on the television consumer programme and after a period of time, with money running out she needs to return to television, firstly on a daytime female talk show, the Loose Women-ish “Tart Talk” (fab title Fern) where she meets a formidable agent Julia Keen who signs her up. Julia is a great character, a high profile no-nonsense woman who has been tainted by scandal and Christie soon realises that having her as her agent does have disadvantages. Christie also has to deal with child-care, a teenage daughter not over the death of her father, a younger son who has found his father substitute in an ideal romantic proposition for Christie. She herself becomes increasingly paranoid by the trappings of fame and the realisation that her agent might not be totally on her side.
This is a well-paced, very readable book which remains likeable throughout. Fern has blended fiction with her experiences of life in front of a TV camera and dealing with fame, the press, a career and family. She has done a good job. It all feels plausible, there’s just the right amount of gloss and it never becomes over-sensational.
With a book a year since this debut Fern has joined the roster of good quality writers of this type of fiction.
“New Beginnings” was published in the UK in 2011 by Harper Collins.