Successful Launch Event for WFTV Pat Llewellyn Bursary Fund
We launched the Pat Llewellyn Bursary Fund last week at the River Café in London. The River Café is the restaurant where Jamie Oliver was working when Pat discovered him and together they created The Naked Chef in 1999.
The Fund, generously supported by the BBC, ITV and Channel Four, will provide a total of £150,000 to enterprising female programme makers over the next five years.
Pat’s husband Ben Adler spoke movingly of his wife’s life and work, though he also had his audience laughing, particularly when he described how Pat flagged down a police car to get a lift to a party when she was late, telling the bemused officers that she was the series producer of Police, Camera, Action! (she was).
The Bursary Committee is composed of women who knew Pat well – Martha Kearney, Jane Root, Nicola Moody and Elaine Bedell. Together they formed a panel at the launch to pay tribute to Pat, while WFTV Chair Liz Tucker, who also serves on the Committee, spoke of how the Bursary Fund aspired to help women move their projects forward, not just with money, but with mentoring provided by Committee members. The other two members of the Bursary Committee are Sue Murphy, who had originally approached WFTV with the idea of setting up a legacy for Pat last November, and, of course, Ben Adler.
The panel spoke of how Pat ‘invented’ The Two Fat Ladies – bringing together two extraordi
nary characters who had never met until Pat united them – and how they won a world-wide audience as they bumbled around the country being rude to each other. Mary Portas was also in the audience as Nicola Moody recalled how Pat had brought her Mary, Queen of Shops, convincing her of its quality by her sheer passion.
But the star of the show was Jamie Oliver, who had the audience in gales of laughter as he recounted his experiences working in the kitchen of the River Café and being wound up by fellow workers pretending that a TV producer wanted to film with him. Naturally, when a real producer did contact him, he assumed he was being wound up again and his reaction was unprintable. Jamie paid moving tribute to Pat, explaining how she teased out the best in him, abandoning the rigid format of food shows in those days and producing an informality by simply talking to him from behind the camera as he cooked. Jamie credited Pat’s husband Ben Adler with coming up with the show’s title – The Naked Chef – but he also revealed the working title of that first show – Forking Gorgeous!
You can find out more about the WFTV Pat Llewellyn Bursary Fund and how to apply here.