Ayres, pam

Pam Ayres. Courtesy Random House.

Pam Ayres
Born March 14 1947 (1947-03-14) (age 73)
Stanford in the Vale, Berkshire, England
Occupation poet, songwriter]], presenter of radio and television programmes
Nationality English
Genres poetry, songs

Pam Ayres MBE (born 14 March 1947) is an English poet, songwriter and presenter of radio and television programmes. Her 1975 appearance on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks led to a variety of TV and radio appearances, a stage show, and performing before the Queen.


Youth and educationEdit

Pam Ayres was born at Stanford in the Vale in the English county of Berkshire (now in Oxfordshire).

After leaving Faringdon Secondary School at the age of 15, she joined the Civil Service as a clerical assistant and worked at the Army (RAOC) Central Ordnance Depot in Bicester. She soon left and signed up for the Women's Royal Air Force, where she worked in a drawing office dealing with operational maps,[1] and it was there that she chose her career as an entertainer.

In September 2006, the BBC website stated that Bob Dylan inspired Ayres to write poetry,[2] although in an interview (aired on Radio New Zealand's Nine To Noon programme, 24 October 2006) she stated that the Lonnie Donegan records her brother played were her inspiration.


Ayres began reading her verses at the local folk club in Oxfordshire, and this led to an invitation to read on the local BBC Radio station in 1974. Her reading was re-broadcast nationally, and then broadcast again as a BBC Pick of the Year.

In 1975 Ayres appeared on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks. This led to a wide variety of guest appearances on TV and radio shows. In February 1976 she was paid £600 to star in a cream cheese commercial. Since then she has published 6 books of poems, toured in a 1-woman stage show, briefly hosted her own TV show and performed her stage show for the Queen.

Ayres is married to theatre producer Dudley Russell, and they have two sons, William and James. They live in the Cotswolds, and keep some rare breeds of cattle, as well as some sheep, pigs, chickens, and guinea fowl. Ayres is a keen gardener and beekeeper.[3] She is a patron of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.

Ayres continues to actively perform her work, the humorous quality of which is enhanced by her idiosyncratic delivery and 'country bumpkin' accent. Starting in September 2006 to coincide with the release of her latest book and audio CD, Ayres gave dozens of performances in various locations in the United Kingdom and Australia, with additional dates scheduled for the UK and New Zealand in 2007.

From 1996, Ayres has appeared frequently on BBC Radio: from 1996 until 1999 Ayres presented a two-hour music and chat show every Sunday afternoon on BBC Radio 2; this was followed by two series of Pam Ayres’ Open Road, in which she visited various parts of the United Kingdom, interviewing people with interesting stories to tell about their lives and local areas. More recently Ayres has become a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, appearing in programmes such as Just a Minute, Say The Word, That Reminds Me, and two series of her own show, Ayres On The Air, a radio show of her poetry and sketches.[4]

In mid-2007, Ayres started work acting in a new radio sitcom, Potting On for BBC Radio 4, in which she co-starred with actor Geoffrey Whitehead.[5] She wrote and recorded 3 series of her BBC Radio 4 programme Ayres On The Air, the latest of which was broadcast in the late summer of 2009.[4][6]

Since 2002 Ayres has appeared a number of times on Channel 4 in Countdown's Dictionary Corner alongside Susie Dent.

On 16 January 2009, she made her debut appearance on BBC TV programme, QI. In September 2011 she said in a Daily Telegraph magazine interview that she was "about to go on my 14th tour of Australia". Ayres is well known for her comedy songs. One of these is "They Should Have Asked My Husband".

Her biography, The Necessary Aptitude: A Memoir, was published 15 September 2011. It traces her life and career from growing as the youngest of six children in a council cottage in the Vale of White Horse, Berkshire. It covers her time in the Women's Royal Air Force and the string of events that lead up to her winning Opportunity Knocks. The title refers to the number of times she was told in her life she "did not have the necessary aptitude".


Her poetry has a simple style and deals with everyday subject matter.


In June 2004 she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire  for services to literature and entertainment.

In popular cultureEdit

Her poem Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth, was voted into the Top 10 of a BBC poll to find the Nation's 100 Favourite Comic Poems.

In the UK Arts Council's report on poetry Ayres was identified as the fifth best-selling poet in Britain during 1998 and 1999.

However, in 2000 her TV show was ranked at number 64 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Moments from TV Hell.



  • Some of Me Poetry. London: Galaxy Records, 1976. ISBN 0-950-47740-0 
  • Some More of Me Poetry. London: Galaxy Records, 1976. ISBN 0-950-47741-9 
  • 1978: Thoughts of a Late-Night Knitter (illustrated by Roy Garnham Elmore). London: Arrow Books, 1978.
  • All Pam's Poems (illustrated by Roy Garnham Elmore). London: Hutchinson, 1978. (includes her first three books)
  • Dear Mum: Poems for mums and their babies. London: Severn House Publishers, 1985. ISBN 0-727-82066-4
  • The Works: Selected poems. London: BBC Books, 1992.
  • With These Hands: A collection, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997.
  • Surgically Enhanced. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2006.
  • The Broken woman. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2008.
  • The Works: The classic collection. London: BBC, 2008.
  • You Made Me Late Again! My new collection. London: Ebury, 2013.


Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[7]

Audio / videoEdit

Pam Ayres - Please Will You Take Your Children Home Before I Do Them In

Pam Ayres - Please Will You Take Your Children Home Before I Do Them In

Pam Ayres 'Up in the attic' poem (Ch 4) (R) 14th June 2018

Pam Ayres 'Up in the attic' poem (Ch 4) (R) 14th June 2018

Pam Ayres - A Poem About Physical Exercise

Pam Ayres - A Poem About Physical Exercise


  • Some of Me Songs & Poems, Listen for Pleasure, 1996.
  • The Pam Ayres Poetry Collection (cassette). London: BBC, 1997.[7]
  • Pam Ayres Live. BBC Audiobooks 1997 .
  • They Should Have Asked My Husband. Hodder Audiobooks 2004.
  • Ayres on the Air. BBC Audiobooks 2005
  • Pam Ayres Ancient and Modern. BBC Audiobooks 2007.
  • The Broken Woman. Hodder Audiobooks, 2008.
  • Ayres on the Air 3. BBC Audiobooks, 2009.
  • Will anybody Marry Me? Listen for Pleasure, 1996.


  • Pam Ayres In Her Own Words (DVD). Acorn Video 2005.
  • Pam Ayres Unsupported (DVD). Warner Music Entertainment 2007
  • Live on Stage, BBC, 1999

Except where noted, information courtesy The Poetry Archive.[8]

See alsoEdit


Notes Edit

  1. QI. Dave. 12 December 2009.
  2. "The Magazine Monitor". BBC News. 8 September 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  3. Pam Ayres - Biography
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pam Ayres
  5. BBC - Radio 4 - Potting On - Stones
  7. 7.0 7.1 Search results = au:Pam Ayres, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 22, 2014.
  8. Pam Ayres (b. 1947), The Poetry Archive. Web, Dec. 24, 2013.

External linksEdit

Audio / video
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.