What can we say about the 2000 winner of Carlton Television's ‘Mae West Award for the Most Outspoken Woman in the Industry’ that hasn’t been said already? Janet’s name has become synonymous with challenging perceptions, particularly about youth, old age and women in the workplace. She’s a person who shoots from the hip, no matter how controversial her point might be. This hasn’t always made her popular, but it made her the ideal choice for a QI episode about gun condoms, the Kama Sutra and penguin sex.
Janet’s media career began with fashion reporting for magazines and papers like Petticoat, the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard. But it was her partnership on LBC Radio with Paul Callan that pushed her into the limelight. Callan’s ‘cut glass’ accent was the perfect foil for what became known as Janet’s ‘cut froat’ diction. Their frequent on-air battles were so compelling there are stories of drivers having accidents while listening. She then moved into television, firstly with LWT in 1975 and then Channel 4's Network 7, before becoming head of youth and entertainment features at the BBC (where she commissioned shows such as Rapido and Red Dwarf). She says that her proudest moment was re-writing and producing a new version of the opera The Vampyr for BBC2 in 1992. The show picked up the Prix Italia and an Emmy nomination. Since then, she has appeared in many reality shows and is a regular presenter on the ITV show Loose Women. She’s returned to journalism and is a regular columnist for a number of magazines and newspapers. For a time, she was editor of the Independent on Sunday where she increased circulation by more than 11%.
Alongside championing youth culture, she’s now keen to promote the idea that getting older isn’t a bad thing either. ‘I have approached my 60s with joy’, she told the Daily Mail. ‘Underwear reins in the flab, I ignore all dietary advice, and drink what I like. Life is for having a laugh, and I couldn't care less what I look like on the tennis court.’
Life's Too F***ing Short
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Fall Out: A Memoir of Friends Made and Friends Unmade
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The F Word: Series 4
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