> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 18 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9780091940492
  • Imprint: Ebury Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $19.99

The Necessary Aptitude

A Memoir




An eagerly-awaited country childhood memoir by one of Britain's most-loved personalities

‘I never once attended a Sunday morning church service in Stanford. There was always the feeling that they weren’t aimed at families like ours.’ Pam Ayres was the sixth child in a hard-up family who lived in a council house, her parents’ generation were harrowed by the war. Yet they lived by the green in the village of Stanford in the Vale, where everything you needed was within walking distance and the sound of motorcars was rarely heard. Then reaching her teens, Pam realised how few opportunities she had. At fifteen she started working for the civil service, and for a social life she had the local ‘hop’. Pam knew she had to reach out for more, and sought it first in the WRAF. But it was some time before she discovered the unique talent that would make her one of Britain’s best-loved comics … Containing Pam’s much-loved combination of humour and poignancy, The Necessary Aptitude is a beautifully written memoir of growing up in the country in post-war Berkshire.

  • Pub date: 18 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9780091940492
  • Imprint: Ebury Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Pam Ayres

Pam Ayres has been a regular on television and radio since winning the talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1975 - on Just a Minute, The Comedy Quiz, Countdown and her own series, Ayres on the Air. She performs her solo stage show throughout Britain and around the world and has a huge fan base in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Pam is one of Britain's best-loved personalities and was awarded the MBE in 2004.

Also by Pam Ayres

See all

Praise for The Necessary Aptitude

“Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford”

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

“I find her work sweet and sour, gentle and sad, and often very moving in its wistful way ... The descriptions of post-war Berkshire life in The Necessary Aptitude are wonderful ... The world Ayres evokes is Hardy's Wessex ... I do admire (and envy) this marvellous woman”

Roger Lewis, Daily Mail

“Excellent ... Unsentimental, especially about herself, Ayres gives a surprisingly moving account of what it was like to grow up poor in rural England without any "aptitude" for making something of herself”

Kathryn Hughes, Christmas Guide to a Cracking Read, Mail on Sunday

“Highly readable ... Pam's memoirs are a masterclass in effective and effervescent prose”

The Lady

“An evocation of long-gone village life as captivating as Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford. At the book’s height, she reaches up and touches Laurie Lee”

Buckinghamshire Life

“As funny and benevolent a memoir as you’d expect from one of Britain’s finest comic”

Good Book Guide

“It’s all so well written, so funny and so touching”

Readers' Digest

“Charming”

Choice

“Ayres gives a wonderful account of what it was like to grow up poor but respectable in post-war rural England. Some of her writing in the early chapters, describing life as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire, has the original freshness of classics such as Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford”

Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday


Related titles