Book review: Portland Place: Secret Diary Of A BBC Secretary

READING this entertaining story of a highly unusual affair between two BBC employees in 1971 will unlock bitter-sweet memories for anyone who lived and worked in “Swinging London”.

Sarah Shaw

Constable, £16.99

ebook, £8.99

Sarah Shaw, the securely middle-class diarist, was 19 at the time. 

The object of her reciprocated affections was 62-year-old Frank, a married, working-class, Irish lift attendant. 

Shaw, now a retired librarian, says she based the book on a diary she kept from those days. 

Anyone who wonders whether it could possibly be entirely factual will find it hard to fault the period detail, which is a constant delight. 

We are right back in a badly-heated world of typewriters and carbon paper and perennial cigarette smoke. 

The still-prissy BBC is a place where a woman staff member can get into trouble for wearing trousers to work.

There would undoubtedly have been a minor explosion if the hierarchy had discovered what Sarah and Frank were getting up to on the premises.


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