This archive, dedicated to Joan Wyndham, was launched in April 2008 to celebrate the one year anniversary of her death and to offer an online tribute to a remarkable woman

Material about Joan and her life will be added to the archive. If you knew Joan, have memories or images of her please contact us so we can include them:

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Love is blue
Dom and Susi on Joan Wyndham

BBC A Very British Romance
Joan featured at 33.30

Born in 1921, Joan Wyndham aspired in her youth to be, first, an actress, then an artist, worked latterly as a journalist, cook and restaurant critic but will be forever remembered as a wartime diarist and chronicler of Chelsea Bohemian life in her four volumes of memoirs. One reviewer described her as 'Pepys in camiknickers'.

In the 1980s, Joan's daughter, Camilla, found her mother's diaries, written 40 years previously and encouraged her to get them published. The contents emerged as Love Lessons (1985) and Love is Blue (1986) covering the surprisingly pleasurable war years and Joan's peripatetic childhood. Anything Once (1992) tells the story of her grown-up life with all its ups and downs and in her last book, Dawn Chorus (1994) Joan wrote in more detail about her childhood and teenage years.

The obituaries and reviews reproduced in this website will serve as an introduction to the life and work of a remarkable woman, but her books remain as a testament to her talent and we encourage you to seek them out.

As frank and funny in print as in real life, Joan's readers, as did her friends, adore her warmth and generosity of spirit, her sangfroid and lust for life.

In 2008 Maggie Contreras and Valentine Guinness teamed up to write a TV adaptation of Love Lessons. They worked for two years writing first the TV adaptation, then reconstructing it as a 110 minute feature, and finally deciding it was best as a three-parter for TV (leaving open the possibility of more with Love Is Blue). One of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to make a period drama which didn't need a Hollywood-sized budget. It would be a bit complicated in the credit crunch to reduce half the Fulham Road to rubble and deck Soho out in wartime Christmas lights, so they decided to focus on the humour and intimacy of the story Joan recorded so diligently. They have achieved something that is charming, sexy and a snapshot of a long-lost London tribe during that unique period.

Their efforts were noticed. In 2011 at the suggestion of producer Charles Walker, they reached out to writer Julian Fellowes. He instantly offered his full support and took the project to the BBC and to Gareth Neame at Carnival Films. Although we continue to await a decision from a broadcaster, we are excited that Carnival Films (who partnered with Fellowes to create Downton Abbey) has bought the project which is currently in development.