The Happy Hoofer by Celia Imrie

Published January 7, 2023

The Happy Hoofer by Celia Imrie

Book info

  • Title The Happy Hoofer
  • Author Celia Imrie
  • Year 2011
  • Genre Memoir

One of our best-loved actresses, Celia Imrie would rather have been a dancer. As a child she planned to join the Royal Ballet and marry Rudolf Nureyev. Now she has become one of our finest and funniest performers, on stage, TV and screen - adored for her roles in Acorn Antiques and Dinnerladies, as well as films including Calendar Girls and Nanny McPhee. In her hugely entertaining autobiography, Celia Imrie recounts a life hurtling (not always intentionally) into adventures both on stage and off. Whether it's finding herself on stage with half the scenery stuck to her cardigan, or being kidnapped on her way to location. Somehow she emerges from the chaos that can lie in her wake almost unscathed. Acting, she admits, is a mad, chaotic profession and it is her refreshing honesty, sense of mischief, fun and almost unruffled determination in the face of it all that makes this autobiography a never-ending delight.


I’ve seen Celia in plenty of film and TV over the years but didn’t know a lot about her life so this was an interesting read. It starts with a turbulent childhood, including a real struggle with eating disorders because of the body pressures on being a dancer, and then through a lengthy and varied career on stage and screen. Every moment is told with humour but there are the occasional reality checks and moments where Celia realises something about herself. It’s fun to hear about the moments behind the scenes of much-loved creations, the Exotic Hotel, working with Victoria Wood, and of course some of Britain’s best-loved TV. Not all of it is great but all of it is a lesson. A good read, this one.

Rating: 4 / 5

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