Portland Place is the diary of then-BBC Secretary Sarah Shaw for the year of 1971, a humorous and charming perspective of life at the BBC and for a woman at the time.
Secret Diary of a 1970s Secretary is the diary of Sarah Shaw for the year of 1971, which she recently uncovered whilst clearing out her loft. Working as a secretary for the BBC at the time, Sarah's diary describes the life of a suburban girl who certainly wasn't 'swinging' but who was, ironically, not only working on a cutting edge BBC survey on sex education but also in the throes of an unlikely affair with middle-aged, working-class, Irish lift attendant, Frank.
Sarah talks humorously and frankly about what it was like to be a young, working woman at the time as well as life at the BBC during the 1970s and the difficulties of navigating her first romance. She is funny and self-effacing with a self-knowledge that only few attain. Her innocence and naivety are hugely charming and the diary forms a valuable snapshot of a time not so far away that is now lost to us.
Evocative . . . vivid and joyous diary - Sunday Telegraph
She's a curious, candid chronicler . . . and it's oddly soothing to read about the drabness of everyday life at a moment when the psychedelic Sixties had faded and the flashy Eighties were still a decade away - The Mail on Sunday
Entertaining story . . . a constant delight - Belfast Telegraph
It's not often I say I love a book but I loved Secret Diary of a BBC Secretary. From the start I was engrossed in a world not that long ago (1971) but often a million miles away. I became involved with the characters and their lives. I worried about them. I cared about them. I couldn't put the book down. Now that's I've finished it I still want to know what happens next. A jewel of a little book. Read it and you'll be glad you did. - Gail Renard, chair of the Writer's Guild
I spent a lot of time in the Langham on training courses and when I worked on the Today programme. I knew the place had many mysteries. But Sarah's book reveals a few more, and it is a fascinating glimpse into a time that feels very different to today. - Roger Mosey, formerly Editor of the Today programme on Radio 4, Controller of BBC Five Live, Head of BBC TV news and Director of the London 2012 Olympic Games coverage
Sue Townsend meets Lynn Barber; the innocence and wit shine through this account . . . I found it charming! Such genuine innocence / ignorance girls had back then though! So captures that! - Jill Dawson, Sceptre author and Orange Prize short-listee