Dame Joan Bakewell talking about Harold Pinter

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Joan Bakewell, 88, has been an influential figure since she first joined BBC Radio in the 1960s. During this time, the journalist, Labour peer and author was nicknamed the “thinking man’s crumpet”.

Comedy personality Frank Muir was behind the nickname following Joan’s appearances on BBC2’s Late Night Line-Up.

The moniker stuck with Joan while it also went on to be applied to other high-profile women like Dames Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley.

Opening up to Express.co.uk about this nickname, Joan shared how “inappropriate” it was.

She said: “You wouldn’t do that now, would you?”

“I just think it’s silly, I think it’s really silly. It’s very out of date,” she continued.

“I don’t think it’s out of date because I’m in my 80s, which is obviously inappropriate.

“But it’s just out of date as a phrase, isn’t it?

“To nobody would you say that now I don’t think for a minute. Women wouldn’t stand for it.”

Joan has been working in the public eye since the 1960s and admits she’s seen a lot of change in that time.

She said she feels “fortunate” to still be working, with her career in the House of Lords as well as being the President of Birkbeck University.

“I feel very fortunate because I’m still working.

“I’m delighted that the company wants me to work for them still in my 80s and they’re very helpful.

“I am lucky to keep working and I do think we should keep on working, even if it’s part-time or it’s really small time.

“I think it’s important, it makes a big difference to your welfare.

“You feel better when you meet different people. It’s interesting, rather than sitting home.

“Even if you sit at home in a beautiful garden. If you’re on your own, it’s not much fun.”

Joan has recently released a new book reflecting on ageing and the impulse to downsize.

Entitled The Tick of Two Clocks, this sees her reflecting on moving from the home she lived in for 50 years to a bungalow.

Alongside detailing the actual process, her book contains meditations on nostalgia and how to cope with growing older.

She explained: “It’s a reflection of two periods in one’s life, moving from one house to another.

“It’s very appropriate now that they’re discussing social care because a lot of older people are living in big houses with children grown up and left.

“So they’re alone, if they’re widowed, in a big house with a garden.

“They find it very hard to keep it tidy and nice and they often feel quite lonely.”

The Tick of Two Clocks: A Tale of Moving On by Joan Bakewell is available to buy now. £16.99, published by Hachette UK.

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