Joanna Lumley’s blunt assessment of first marriage: ‘Should have had raging affair’

Joanna Lumley suggests rations are needed to help climate change

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Joanna returns to screens tonight at 9pm for ‘Joanna Lumley and the Human Swan’ on ITV. The programme sees the husky-voiced national treasure team up with eco-campaigner and para-motorist Sacha Dench, aka the Human Swan. Joanna follows Sacha as she flies round Britain in an electric para-motor encouraging people to tackle climate change.

The pair encounter first hand the effects of the climate crisis, witnessing crumbling coastlines, endangered seabirds and Scottish wildcats. 

They also meet dedicated beach cleaners, high-tech food scientists, zero-carbon home-dwellers, and a range of other inspiring people demonstrating ways to live sustainably. 

Joanna is lauded for her iconic role as Patsy Stone in Nineties sitcom Absolutely Fabulous alongside Jennifer Saunders. 

She has since also starred on the big screen in The Wolf of Wall Street alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, and in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.

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Joanna married conductor Stephen Barlow in 1986, and the pair live in London together. 

However the actresses’ first marriage was far less successful, lasting only months.

In 1970, Joanna married actor Jeremy, who was best known as co-author of British sitcom ‘‘Allo ‘Allo!’ and ‘Are You Being Served?’

The pair wedded in May, but subsequently split in September the same year, with Jeremy working in the US and Joanna remaining behind in the UK.

According to the BBC, Joanna wrote of her short marriage: “He was witty, tall and charming ‒ we should have just had a raging affair.”

The couple met while Jeremy was visiting England, and the writer described the subsequent relationship as a “whirlwind romance”.

He wrote in memoir ‘Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once’: “On a visit to England, I met a stunning girl with a terrific sense of humour.

“Afraid that at my advanced age I’d never meet anyone so wonderful again, I flung myself into a whirlwind romance. 

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“We were married at Chelsea Register Office and I moved into her flat in Holland Park where she lived with her young son. 

“She was an actress and her name was Joanna Lumley.”

During the couple’s short-lived marriage Joanna suggested Jeremy write a sitcom on his experiences at the Simpsons department store in Piccadilly, London.

On his wife’s recommendation he sent the idea to bosses at the BBC, with the proposal eventually becoming the hit programme ‘Are You Being Served?’.

Jeremy wrote on the breakdown of his marriage to Joanna: “I tried to make the relationship work and resigned from Laugh-In, but the marriage fell apart ‒ understandably I’m sure.

“I can be very aggravating.”

Jeremy had been married to model Dawn Bailey between 1955 and 1962 before meeting Joanna.

After divorcing the actor, he married Collette Northrop in 1992 and in August 2014 Elizabeth Moberly.

Sadly, Jeremy died of pneumonia four months after his marriage to Elizabeth.

Watch Joanna Lumley and the Human Swan on ITV at 9pm.

‘Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once ‘was written by Jeremy Lloyd and published by BBC Books in 1993. It is available here.

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