Helen Lederer: ‘Being a comedy underdog is fine with me!’

Helen Lederer has said she might not be one of TV’s top name comediennes, but she’s more than happy with her lot.

The 60-year-old has starred in shows as diverse as Absolutely Fabulous and Hollyoaks, began her stand-up career alongside the likes of French and Saunders, Rik Mayall and Harry Enfield and is now nominated for a prize for her debut novel, Losing It.

But despite enjoying a steady stream of work, she said she doesn’t mind not having made it as big as her contemporaries.

Helen LedererHelen Lederer (Ian West/PA)

Helen explained: “I was after French and Saunders, who were already ring-fenced for their own enhancement, but there wasn’t a space. Women are complicated and competitive, particularly in those days when comedy was very difficult to define. It was quite a toxic environment to be in. I was very naive.

“I don’t feel miffed, because what’s great about this middle-aged phase is an acceptance that my career has gone in so many different ways, and that was right for me. I had some near misses, but what matters is I’m here now, I’ve written this book and I’ve kept working throughout. It’s OK to do it in a more bespoke, minority, less famous manner.”


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