Dream, dream, dream

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 6 February 2014

So lets have the discussion. At what age should we give up on a dream?

Is it ever appropriate to remove dreams from the landscape of our lives?

I never dreamt I wanted to be broadcaster. As with so much in my life, it came to me.

Starting out as an actress and forming a theatre group with like minded savages.

Being chased up a corridor to appear on a new fangled thing called Breakfast TV.

Being asked to work at ITV whilst I was still young and feisty, and presumably still allowed to have a dream.

Working at Aunty Beeb. For years I got paid to talk to people, travel, write and have a throughly good time, although it is true that youth is wasted on the young.

Brought up my daughter - well I helped the old git did most of the good work - turned my hand to food and then broadcasting came a-knocking.

I always thought it would be the rosiest of jobs. A mug of hot chocolate a pair of woolly socks and a telephone. But should I still have been allowed to be in the broadcasting firmament, since Peewee, I was over 50 with my own individual voice.

When I started at LBC we had an audience of just over a 140,000. By the time I left we had built an audience of 500,000. I learnt that meant nothing, when the powers that be want you out you're shown the door, with your little brown box, and not so much as a wham bam thank you maaaam.

Am I bitter? No I couldn't be writing this if I were.

In the eventuality radio was, or course, nothing like as rosy as that. There's pressure, there's management, there's competition. But there is also great fun to be had and a platform for the listeners to have their say.

I was what they called a PERSONALITY presenter. In the end LBC didn't want that. They knew they wanted politicians and people with a different colour political persuasion than mine.

The BBC, well it was returning to the HOLY GRAIL. I had worked at The Beeb for years making telly stuff, and now it was my turn to go to Regent Street and enjoy more hot chocolate and wooly socks….

But The BBC, as they always do with women, like em young and well young. I hung in there as long as I could.

Dear Peewee, not because of lack of audience, not because I was no good at my job, not because my dream had come to an end, but a brutal policy that when a bird gets too big and old for its cage the door is opened and out they go, sink or fly. I was advised to sue for ageism by several people in the industry. I have better things to do, believe it or not.

But do I still have a dream and does it include radio, telly, writing….well if I care enough about humanity, as long as I have any kind of voice then yes the dream is in tact.

Martin Luther King had a dream and they shot him. Mandela had a dream and they incarcerated him.

I do not have any kind of gravitas, but I do have a dream that I won't let up on. and that, dear Peewee, is to be of some kind of service in this little thing called life.

How can I help, if I'm allowed to help, how I can be of assistance, if I'm allowed to be of assistance, how do I keep dreaming? Well in the wee, dark hours, when the rest of the world is asleep I sit in the chair and wonder, like you Peewee, whether I should have the right to carry on dreaming. That as old as I am should I now find that blanket and bath chair and sit and stare at the waxing and waning of the moon. Watch the tide surges ebb and flow. Or should I just cut the mortal coil Peewee?

Since I am what I am and what I am is a loud mouthed broad-caster who cares about some things then I'm afraid I won't loosen my grip. My methods may change, my voice may waver but I aint going nowhere.

Dear Peewee I thank you for your blogs, they help to clarify. Last night I felt dark and sad after what you wrote. Sad that I had lost my footing, but if June Whitfield, Joanna Lumley, Judy Dench, Zoe Wannamaker, even Thatcher, any number of great dames can hang on then so can I.

I am lucky enough to still have a beating heart. So it's onwards and upwards, a walk, a yoga class, my first day on a new writing course.

It really isn't over until the fat lady sings and so far you haven't heard me trilling…

So whatever you may think about me Peewee I would remind you not to be pushed by your problems but to be led by your dreams.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At February 6, 2014 10:54 AM Pauline Jones wrote:

Thank you for this morning's blog Jeni, it calmed me down after reading Peewee's messages (yes I will name names) made me so angry. Such a limited point of view.

I'm an occasional blogger, don't always agree with your point of view but look forward to your every posting. It's a real pleasure to check and find a new message - you make us think and feel and care.

We should all try to follow our dreams, that's the joy of living!


2. At February 6, 2014 9:29 PM LV wrote:

JENI why bother to bite the provocateurs bait. The bitter will be bitter, rest assured it brings its own toxic punishment. Including premature wrinkles & saggy buttocks!
Guaranteed Universal Law of Causality.
Love the Light and of course your dreams.

3. At February 8, 2014 2:29 PM Jackie wrote:

Hi Jeni, I always read your blogs they are sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always interesting. You make it seem as if your telling a story to your friends. Peewee sounds very bitter and spitefull. Keep on doing what your doing. You make a lot of people very happy. X

4. At February 8, 2014 9:00 PM Peewee wrote:

Here the faithful go! Regular as clockwork. Yes Jeni ... No Jeni.

Agree Agree Agree.

Jeni .... stop being so sensitive .... people will think you have a HUGE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER!

Surely not?

5. At February 8, 2014 10:18 PM Tish wrote:

''Do you not to be pushed by your problems but to be led by your dream…" You said it Jeni, hang in there. You are a fine broadcaster with lots to say and we want to hear it. We want you back on radio and telly! Why don't you get together with other powerful women - Anna Raeburn, Anne Diamond and you would make a great team. Maybe an all round tv prog sorting out personal & cooking problems.. Chin up Jeni, you are truly fab. xxx

6. At February 9, 2014 11:19 AM 'L' wrote:

As you can see dear Peewee, although I triggered off this discussion by commenting how I hope our dear Jeni will one day be on air once again, you can see by now how all who love her are dreaming the same dream. You seem to be the only miserable one out there that's given up on dreaming and striving for a better future. Only the weak give in without a fight, we have the power to change our fate and not just sit back and wallow in misery whilst trying to deflate other's dreams. And as Jeni said, as long as the heart is beating we still have the chance to achieve our dreams.
So Peewee, it looks like you have given up on your dreams which is why you have a chip on your shoulder.
Us bloggers owe our darling Jeni for all the many hours she kept us entertained over the years and we will continue to praise and encourage her to utilize her fantastic qualities, as she has so much to offer. You still have 20 years of broadcasting left in you, so yes my dear Jeni, push for that dream as you never know when that will happen.
Your loyal blogger and listener,

7. At February 9, 2014 3:03 PM poopypeewee wrote:

No way should Jeni be involved with the old TV AM image. Anne Diamond? Been that... done that. Poor Jeni.
She has the medal.

Give Jeni a break .... never go back to the past.

They sacked her for reasons only known to themselves and not the ones we are lead to believe.

Same as the sudden death of Lady Di. That will all be exposed at some point in the future.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.