Anna Mae Blessing

Many parents float the idea of “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it”. However, few actually put their threats into action. Enter Anna Mae Blessing who, in July 2018, reacted rather poorly to her son’s suggestion that she go into a retirement home. Rather than go gentle into […]

Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand was one of the most successful, critically acclaimed and prolific composers of the TV and film era. He won the 1968 “Best Original Song” Oscar for The Thomas Crown Affair‘s “The Windmills of Your Mind” (sung by Noel “Rex’s son” Harrison) and Best Original Score gongs for The Summer of ’42 and Yentl. He remained active right up until […]

Fatima Ali

And so falls the second much-picked chef on this year’s DDP. While Andrew Fairlie was a veteran with over 30 years experience in the culinary game, Fatima Ali was just at the start of her career. Ali, a New York-based chef specialising in modern Pakistani cuisine, first came to nationwide attention as a contestant on […]

Hugh McIlvanney

Hugh McIlvanney was, arguably, the greatest sports writer Britain has ever produced. He was certainly its most-loved among fellow journalists. This entry could easily be filled with the various anecdotes that have peppered his obituaries over the past 24 hours, but I can offer one I was told that hasn’t appeared elsewhere. A young sub […]

Diana Athill

A true literary celebrity, Diana Athill was one of the best-regarded editors in publishing history. She discovered, championed and nurtured some of the most famous writers of the past 50 years, including Margaret Atwood, VS Naipul and Jean Rhys. The first female publishing editor of note, she was handpicked by Andre Deutsch to be the […]

Bob Woodward

No, not the money-following journalist that took down Nixon. Bob Woodward, the UK version, was the founder of children’s cancer charity CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood). He set the charity up in 1976 when his 8-year-old son, Robert, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Robert died two years later but Bob continued the charity’s work: helping […]

Kaye Ballard

Born Catherine Gloria Balotta, Kaye Ballard began her career as a musical comedienne and a member of Spike Jones’s touring ensemble. In 1954 she became the first person to record a newly written song entitled “Fly Me to the Moon”, but didn’t think much of it and hid it away as a B-side. Americans perhaps […]

Fred Sutherland

In May 1943, 133 members of No. 617 Squadron RAF set off as part of Operation Chastise with the intent of crippling German infrastructure via the destruction of its dams using the Vickers Type 464 ‘Upkeep’ bomb. With the death of Fred Sutherland, only one member remains. The operation and its practitioners were immortalised in […]

Muriel Pavlow

Muriel Pavlow’s career stretched 65 years across both the small and silver screen. Although of mixed French/Russian heritage, she embodied a specific strain of Englishness in many of her roles. As a contract player with J Arthur Rank in the 50s she was the go-to girl for “wives back in Blighty waiting for their husband […]

Andrew Fairlie

And so we bid farewell to our first Drop 40er of the year… Andrew Fairlie began his career polishing glasses in a hotel bar aged 15, and ended it as arguably the most acclaimed Scottish chef of all time (even more than the pretend hardman who shouts at American restaurant owners). Training under Michel Guérard […]