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SUNDAY EXPRESS, 25 October 1992
Wendy Richard arrived early, so she's given the shop the once-over. "I've found the most wonderful brooch", she says with a grin that EastEnders scriptwriters rarely afford her alter-ego, Pauline Fowler. "I'll have to drop a few hints to my husband later!"
The sparkling marcasite and silver frog seems destined to join two similar brooches that are adorning Wendy's top. "I collect frogs and I've worn these especially. I came in here years ago to buy a diary and when I saw all these lovely animals, that was it!"
While other customers may not share Wendy's weaknesses for small green amphibians, her opinion of Success of London appears to be a popular one. As co-owner Mies van Wijngaarden explains, the shop's mainstay since opening in 1974 has been a range of leather-bound diaries imported from her native Netherlands. This and a wide variety of other gifts has resulted in this Marylebone shop living up to its name.
"It's such a pretty little shop. I always come here first when I'm looking for presents for people," says Wendy, who lives nearby with her husband of two years, Paul Glorney. "I've always liked small shops and, with so many going out of business, it's important to use them. I feel the same way about street markets -- they're part of our way of life.
"I don't have much time nowadays, so when I go shopping it's with a purpose. I tend to buy things that catch the eye and I like a bargain! I find it frustrating when supermarkets move things -- I like to be in and out in 10 minutes."
Her spare time recently has been more precious then ever; she has just finished filming a second series of Grace And Favour -- the successor to the '70s comedy Are You Being Served? -- due to be screened near year. "It really is great fun to do and I love getting back with the cast -- that's probably the best thing about it for me. There are scenes when we can hardly look at one another for laughing. When we did the first series I was acting in EastEnders as well, and it nearly killed me. Thankfully, this time, the BBC decided to pack Pauline off to New Zealand."
Her latest comic stint over, Wendy is now settling back into Albert Square. "Pauline has a very strong story line at the moment and that has been an enjoyable challenge. I think the reason EastEnders has been so successful is that people have taken us to their hearts. There is the public awareness side of things such as teenage pregnancy and AIDS, but that is balanced by it being entertaining, too."
Wendy's own idea of entertainment -- along with collecting frogs, doing the Telegraph crossword, and indulging in a glass of champagne -- is a quiet Sunday morning listening to The Archers, a programme she has been addicted to since she was a child. "I'm a card-carrying member of the fan club. Paul goes off to play squash and I spend an hour catching up while I bath our little cockatiel, Henry. Then I go for a walk with Shirley, our cairn terrier.
"Paul and I are very happy together and, although I've always worked hard, I still think I've been very fortunate in my career. I don't like to say too much, but I do feel sorry for some of the actors on Eldorado where things haven't worked out."
Wendy heads back to work and, by coincidence, she's off on another shipping trip, this time with the EastEnders' wardrobe designer.
"We've decided Pauline needs some new clothes," explains Wendy. "It's about time something nice happened to cheer her up!"