Clarissa Dickson Wright, who found fame later in life thanks to BBC2 cooking series, Two Fat Ladies, has died at the age of 66. She passed away on Saturday in Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.
A former barrister, Clarissa teamed up with the late Jennifer Paterson for their international smash Two Fat Ladies. First broadcast back in 1996, the BBC2 hit showcased their love of delicious food and their endearing, eccentric personalities.
A statement released by her agent said: “Loved dearly by her friends and many fans all over the world, Clarissa was utterly non-PC and fought for what she believed in, always, with no thought to her own personal cost. Her fun and laughter, extraordinary learning and intelligence, will be missed always, by so many of us.”
Clarissa Theresa Philomena Aileen Mary Josephine Agnes Elsie Trilby Louise Esmerelda Dickson Wright was born to a wealthy family in St John's Wood, London in 1947. For her, caviar, shooting game and then eating it and other fine foods were the norm. The youngest of four children, she had a Roman Catholic childhood, studied at Sacred Heart School before pursuing a law degree at University College London.
She practiced law for several years but her mother's death in 1975, combined a few years later with her father's, left her deeply depressed and Clarissa found solace in drink. Like her father, she was an alcoholic.
To say she had an eventful life is putting it mildly. Anyone who watched the wonderful Two Fat Ladies will have heard some of the tales. She worked at a drinking club in London where she met her partner Clive, also an alcoholic. Their relationship lasted until his death in 1982 from kidney failure at the age of 40.
Disbarred for practising without chambers, Clarissa talked of having sex with an MP behind the Speaker's chair in the House of Commons, she was homeless, broke and out of control due to her drinking. After being charged with driving under the influence, she sought help.
Two Fat Ladies
After recovery, Clarissa moved to Scotland and expanded on her love of cooking. During her time in Edinburgh, television producer Patricia Llewellyn asked her and Jennifer Paterson to make a television programme.
The two bold and brash ladies took the world's kitchens by storm. Over four series, viewers tuned in to watch them ride around Britain on a motorbike, cook lavish meals and make fun of vegetarians. Clarissa Dickson Wright was in no doubt about the secret of their success: "People feel we've given them a licence to do whatever they like - eat beef and cream and enjoy their food again," she said.Two Fat Ladies ended with Jennifer's death, but Clarissa soldiered on, taking on various TV projects and popping up on panel shows or giving her views on food production and hunting (she was a lifelong supporter). She published several cookbooks, including the Two Fat Ladies book series, Haggis: A Little History and Potty: Clarissa’s One Pot Cookbook.
Didn't know she had such a rough go of it. I loved Two Fat Ladies with them singing their own theme and their motorcycle with the sidecar.