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STORY, 16 May 1986

(Thanks to Anneloes for the translation from the original Dutch!)

Miss Brahms from Are You Being Served? doesn't even have any family

Lonely Wendy Richard: "I Have No Shoulder to Cry On."

"I'm all alone," sighs actress Wendy Richard from the TV-series Are You Being Served? "There's nobody to lean on, when that's necessary..." She never really told anybody, "because," she says "I'm not sad or anything." But Wendy told Story how difficult it has often been for her.

She hardly has a life next to her daily work. Wendy Richard doesn't feel the need to either. Wendy, who became world-famous as the always sharp and sharp-tongued Miss Brahms in the television series Are You Being Served?, is completely devoted to the tasks that she does to earn a royal income. It sounds strange, but her exceptional will to work is not very illogical.

"I'm not married, and I don't have any children," says the 41-year old British actress. "And I'll be even more blunt: I don't have any family at all. Nobody. Visiting my parents on a nice Sunday is impossible for me. Getting a brother or sister over for a visit? I can't even imagine what that would feel like. Because I'm literally alone in this world. I don't have any responsibility at all, except for myself. I simply suppose there are good sides to the situation that I'm in now though."

She says this without a trace of emotion. Or of regret. And it seems that she really doesn't care too much that she doesn't have a family bond, something that other people find more important.

Still, she doesn't manage to hide that she would quite like to be part of a normal family life. And it's mostly by means of her telling so enthusiastically about her new part in the English hit-series EastEnders (not on Dutch TV yet), that shows a glimmer of her secret longing. Wendy plays a married woman with two teenage children. She talks about them, as if she really is their mother. . .

Work means all for Wendy. Not just because it gives her a sense of family, but also because she has to spend less time in her apartment. Because after all, that's where she lives, completely alone.

"I'm going to buy a dog within the near future," the blonde actress continues. "Firstly to keep me company during the hours that I'm at home. And secondly to give me a sense of safety. I would like for the dog to have some sort of guard dog training, because the city that I live in, London, is changing a lot these last few years. Unfortunately, in a negative sense. It is slowly becoming very dangerous when you are alone, like I am.

"A well-trained dog would be a solution in two ways. Next to everything, I'm completely dependent upon others for transport. I always have to take the bus or train. Or be picked up by colleagues of course. I have tried to get my driver's license, but I failed six times in a row. I have stopped trying -- and I think others should be grateful for that! -- after I finally realized that I was probably never going to pass.

"What I want to say with this, is that I am in quite a vulnerable position. I always have to go out on my own if I want to go somewhere. And believe me, I feel a lot safer knowing that I will have a nice dog soon, to accompany me wherever I go. I plan to also take it to work. I'll find some way to manage that. I mostly work more than 60 hours a week. Imagine that I'd have to leave the dog alone in my apartment for all that time. That's impossible, that goes without saying."

Again, she mentions work. "I have, and that wasn't even long ago, known completely different times," she explains. "In England it's terribly difficult for actors to continue to work. I have personally felt the consequences of that. So I know by experience how difficult it is to cope with very little money. These days, I have to admit, I'm over the moon because of that. The funny thing is, that when you are actually working, you get more offers. That's nice of course, but also a bit unfair. Because when I was out of work, nobody cared one bit for me. Oh well, that's over now. And hopefully forever.

"You know, I have recently been asked to record a song; 'Come Outside'. I will do that together with Mike Berry, who played Mr. Spooner in Are You Being Served? And I can't even sing!

"Now that I'm talking about that series anyway: all the cast will get together again, but in a completely different environment. In a different story. Mostly likely we will start filming at the end of the year. I'm really looking forward to that. Because it gives the feeling of finally seeing my family again . . . "

[Webmeister's note: as it actually turned out, it would be another five years before Wendy and the rest of the cast of AYBS? would be re-united in the sequel series Grace and Favour. Yet it is interesting to see here such a follow-on was being considered as early as 1986.]

Wouter de Vries

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