image

Lynda La Plante: I had three years of absolute agony

The award-winning screenwriter and author talks about turning a new page on her health

She’s just hit 78, but Prime Suspect and Widows creator Lynda La Plante is showing no signs of slowing down – in fact she seems to be on a roll.

The award-winning screenwriter and author has penned two books during the pandemic, Judas Horse, the second in her new books series featuring hapless detective Jack Warr, and a new young Tennison book, Unholy Murder, which comes out in the summer.

She lives in her beautiful 19th century home in Surrey with her 17-year-old son, Lorcan, who she adopted as a baby when she was 59 after suffering years of infertility.

Lynda La Plante (Gemma Day/PA)

Lynda La Plante

In recent years there have been health setbacks – she lost her sight following a double cataract operation and had to dictate her books, using a magnifying glass to proof-read. She also struggled for years with chronic neck pain, but has come out the other side stronger and fitter, retaining her wicked sense of humour and sharp observations on life.

Do you still have neck problems?

“No. I had eight different surgeons. Every one of them said, ‘Oh, it’s disc four, disc three, disc seven. I’d just wake up in the same agony. There was one surgeon who did a completely new thing – ablation of the nerve in the neck. I went in and had it done. It wasn’t my disc at all. To think, I had three years of absolute agony. Now, I can whip around.”

How are your eyes now, after partially losing your sight?

“At one point it affected my work terribly. I had to do tapes and go through it and had to hear it talked back to me all the time. I now have bottleneck glasses and because of working on the laptop, I can make the print so large I can work on it. I’m not dictating any more.”

How do you stay so young?

“Gin and tonic! But truthfully, you get old if you’re lonely, sad or very poorly. I was so poorly for two years that just to be able to turn my head to look behind me and use my computer raises my energy levels. And I am made to feel very loved by my fans.”

Does Lorcan help keep you young?

“Do you mean through worry?” she says wryly. “It’s preposterous that he’s in flip-flops and shorts when it’s snowing. He says, ‘Mother, mind your own business.’

“It takes quite a lot for me to lose my temper, but there’s an irritation in that my son can bring down dishes from his room where he’s been eating and leave them two inches from the dishwasher,” she says, with a grin. “But Lorcan is a very good cook and because I haven’t been out for months, we decided that we would become great meat eaters. He ordered in steaks, we light up the barbecue come hail or snow and he’s out there cooking.”

How much exercise do you take?

“I walk every day, about a mile. Also, I have a lot of stairs. I usually get up around 6am, walk the dog. Lorcan and his girlfriend have a puppy called Pluto, a whippet.”

Are you careful what you eat?

“I wish I was. I’m afraid not. I’ve put on about a stone during lockdown. It’s mashed potatoes. I used to eat fudge and Liquorice Allsorts, but now it’s Crunchies and they do these big bags of them. I don’t eat puddings or cake, but I do like chocolate. And at four o’clock I think, ‘Could I have a gin and tonic now?’ I like the ginger and rhubarb gin from Asda.”

How do you relax after a stressful day?

“Sometimes I watch Poirot, but I’ll get halfway through and think, ‘I’ve seen this before’. I like Midsomer Murders. Sometimes I think, ‘What if I hadn’t had Prime Suspect or Widows?’ I would have remained an actress and I would have been in Midsomer Murders as that old barmaid.’”

Does work help your wellbeing?

“Definitely. Without it I don’t know what I’d do. I have tried a hobby of knitting, and if I was to show you what I’m knitting, it would make you gasp. I don’t know how the holes come. I think it’s going to be a blanket.”

Do you worry about getting older?

“No, although I was looking at my body the other day in the bath and I thought, ‘God, you’re white and blobby.’”

What about romance? Is there a man in your life?

“Not on any surface – and I don’t want one. They would never allow me to work the length of time that I work, do what I do, eat what I eat. It’s over. I couldn’t be bothered.”

Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante is published on April 1 and available at Amazon

The following two tabs change content below.

The Press Association

News from the Press Association - the national news agency for the UK and Ireland

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
QuakerDave
1st Apr 2021
0
Thanks for voting!
Just Love Lynda's attitude towards life, romance & food. Life is too short to worry about what other people think you should be doing. Live your own life.

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!