Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Dad and I had a residency at the exclusive St. James's club in Mayfair.
"Sir John Mills was a patron. I met with him at a West End theatre. Where he endorsed my Equity application.
"As did fellow club patron Michael Caine.
"Not a lot of people know that!"
If you've ever wonder just how much hard work it takes to make it in showbiz, and how many names you'll be able to drop in your biography when you do, then this could be the book for you! Here is the programme as presented by the publisher to inform us of the running order.
"The lure of the spotlight can be intoxicating, and Jessica Martin was captured by it early on. The daughter of a bandleader, she came of age in the jazz clubs of London's Soho before going on to forge a career as a West End regular, Spitting Image impressionist and Doctor Who actor.
Now entering a new phase of her performing life, Jessica Martin looks back on the parts and people that contributed to her success in this honest and revealing autobiography, which shows the true grit beneath the greasepaint.
Featuring a cast of diverse characters and guest appearances from some very recognisable personalities, Life Drawing is the story of a woman living a fully creative life."
It is indeed. Firstly, top hats off and high kicks aplenty to Jessica for being brave enough to write and draw her own story. She's clearly a multi-talented lady over and above her on-screen and stage accomplishments.
For people of a certain age, like myself, who fondly remember the likes of Spitting Image, Bobby Davro, Gary Wilmot and indeed Sylvester McCoy doing his turn as Doctor Who, there was a great deal of fascination and amusement as to which A- through to Z-lister was going to crop up next, as Jessica seemingly knows, and has worked, with most of them. Whether that be a private command performance for Prince Charles at his Highgrove estate or in panto with the likes of Michael Barrymore attempting to chew up the scenery and steal the show.
But first we start with a fairly in-depth exploration of Jessica's formative and unconventional early years with her mum holding the family together and being responsible for her subsequent lifelong love of musicals, whilst her errant father was off playing jazz and only really taking an interest when he realised he could use her as singer. There's even a mystery half-brother who briefly pops up from Iceland before disappearing again just as quickly!
If you're remotely interested in reading about someone who has led a truly fascinating life, in the very delightfully peculiar cultural corner that is the British world of showbusiness, then this will definitely appeal. Her art style has a certain very slight rawness which one would expect of a non-professional but she certainly has talent and her passion for telling her story - and indeed indulging in a bit of luvvie namedropping whilst knocking out some very amusing anecdotes - shines through like the star she is.