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The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Randolph Churchill


My mother inspires Evelyn Waugh
John Julius Norwich Writer
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He [Evelyn Waugh] and my mother were basically, of course, great friends and he put my mother into several of his novels. She's called Mrs Stitch and she drives this little car. My mother did drive a little car wildly all over the place and he actually has her driving it down into the Tube station and out the other side, and things like that. But he has lovely sort of pictures of her. She used to spend the morning in bed, but full of activity, I mean, not... not drowsy, sitting bolt upright, because bed was the bridge, bed was where she operated from. That was where the writing paper was, where the telephone books were, by the dresser, you know. This was, I say, her centre of operations. And he has a lovely sort of picture in one of them. I can't remember which book it is now, might be Scoop, of my mother in... in full action in bed in the morning, with me aged about five doing the Times crossword puzzle. So unlikely.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Evelyn Waugh, Lady Diana Cooper

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018