Esther Rantzen in School Mag 1958


While in the Upper Sixth of the prestigious North London Collegiate School, where her schoolfellows included psychologist Susie (then called Susan) Orbach, budding writer Esther Rantzen seems to have got her head down working for her scholarship to Oxford. For in the school magazine for 1957/58 we look in vain for her name among the Orchestra, Netball, Hockey, Tennis, Rounders and Swimming teams. She wasn’t a prefect and doesn’t even appear to have bothered herself with the Drama Group, which is bizarre. But she was a member of the School Magazine Committee, which may account for her two contributions—a slightly silly piece of verse about cows and this long appreciation of food, rendered as a dream.  This gastronomic knowledge must have stood the presenter of That’s Life in good stead when it came to offering members of the public bat stew and selecting rude shaped vegetables to titter at.

Would hyberbolic Esther have made it as a novelist, like her ancestor Ada Leverson, author of The Little Ottleys (and known to Oscar Wilde as 'The Sphinx') had not the BBC come calling ? We’ll never know. [R.H.]

Love at First Bite-
click to read!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *