Dec 2, 2015

A Pirate to the Manor Born - with Anna Campbell

I'm so delighted to have lovely Anna Campbell to visit us on the LoveCats DownUnder!  She has a rollicking good Christmas story, A Pirate for Christmas, just released and she's generously giving away a Kindle download to one luck commenter!

Over to you, Anna!


Hi Love Cats! Thank you for having me as your guest today. I hope you won’t mind if I have a brief meander down Memory Lane before I get to my latest release, A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella

Although my family was staunchly Australian, there was one part of the house was forever England.
 

The TV set.
 

I grew up on a steady diet of classic UK TV shows. Period drama like Upstairs Downstairs; The Pallisers; Raffles; I, Claudius; literary adaptations like Pride and Prejudice and Anna Karenina.
 

And British comedy. Lots and lots of British comedy.
 

Family conversation was littered with references and jokes from shows like The Two Ronnies (Piggy Malone featured strongly), Yes Minister, The Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life, Open All Hours, and Fawlty Towers. Personally I had a liking for the slightly more surreal stuff like the Goon Show and Monty Python, but they weren’t part of the mainstream family diet.
 

One of our all-time favourites was To the Manor Born, starring Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, which was originally broadcast between 1979 and 1981, and which is still playing on Pay TV. Clearly everybody else loved this show too. By the way, if you’d like some background on the program, there’s a nice Wikipedia article here.
 

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton’s family has lived in the manor for 400 years, but unfortunately the money has run out and after her husband’s death, she’s forced to sell to nouveau riche supermarket millionaire Richard DeVere. Worse, DeVere is actually Czechoslovakian so this bastion of English heritage has fallen into foreign, and as far as Audrey’s concerned, completely inadequate hands.
 

A romance reader can tell right now where this story is going – and 20 episodes later, that’s just where it did go, with Audrey and Richard in love, marrying, and moving into the manor together. On the way, there are some beautifully observed characters, some lovely comedy, and a very nicely done romance. It’s lovely seeing Audrey gradually overcoming her blind prejudice and even lovelier to see Richard teasing her along the way – he knows pretty much from the start that she’s the one for him. Sigh.
 

Years ago, I saw an interview with the writer Peter Spence, and when he was asked why the show had such universal appeal, he said, “It’s a romance.” And you know, he absolutely nailed it.
 

Why am I spending so much time talking about old-fashioned sitcoms? There is Manor in my Madness. I’ve always wanted to write something inspired by TTMB and this year’s Christmas novella is it. My heroine Bess Farrar, the vicar’s daughter who is the de facto head of the village of Penton Wyck, is considerably younger and less managing than Audrey, but she shares a managing manner with her inspiration. Scottish Rory Beaton, the new Earl of Channing, is a cuckoo in the nest in this sleepy Northumberland village – and like Richard, he is subject to much wild and unfounded gossip about his past.
 

Just to clear something up straightaway, he’s NOT a pirate, but everybody thinks he is and nothing he does shifts the public perception. And to be honest, he has quite a bit of fun teasing Bess about his supposedly lawless background before he fesses up to being a gallant naval captain.
 

I hope you’ll have fun with this story too.
 

Here’s the blurb:
 

Pursued by the pirate…
 

Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
 

Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honourable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
 

A Christmas marked by mayhem.
 

Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
 

You can read an excerpt of A Pirate for Christmas on my website here

You can buy A Pirate for Christmas at a bargain price from:
 

Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble



So do you have a favourite British comedy? There’s plenty of great ones to pick from! 

I’ve got a Kindle download of A Pirate for Christmas (international) for one person who comments today. Good luck!

73 comments:

  1. Love the Are You Being Served repeats. Just looked it up. Hard to believe they finished production in 1985 (starting in 1972), as I'm sure I've been watching it since around 2000!

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    1. Laney, that's another staple on cable TV here - "Are you free, Mr. Humphreys?"

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    2. That's another classic, Laney. Some shows really do have ever-lasting entertainment value.

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    3. Not to mention Mrs. Slocombe's pussycat.

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    4. I adored Are You Being Served - still do!

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  2. Woohoo Hi Anna

    Oh one of my favourite British shows is Are You Being Served and I have lost the title the one with Mrs Bucket in it and the sisters can't think this morning we used to laugh so much watching these shows there have been a few but of course the titles aren't there this morning :)

    I have read A Pirate For Christmas and I can highly recommend this one don't miss it is fun and a fabulous story :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Helen, that's Keeping up Appearances - another one that's all over cable TV. I think pay TV would be very quiet without these classic old comedies. Thanks for saying you enjoyed my pirate! xxx

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    2. OH, Helen, Mrs Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances! I always felt so sorry for Elizabeth next door being pressed to come in for a cup of tea! Too scary with the Royal Doulton with the blue periwinkles!

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  3. Loved loved Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em...even more after I heard Michael Crawford sing and realized how rounded he was as an artist.

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    1. Rose, I remember laughing till I cried at that one! He featured in family jokes too - there was a particular tone when he said, "Betty" that was ripe for imitation.

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    2. Yes! Rose! Another classic British comedy! Anna's so right about the way he said "Betty".

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  4. Hi, Sharon and the LoveCats! Hi, Anna!

    Congrats on the release of your wonderful Pirate, Anna! He's truly a catch. ;)

    I've actually never seen To the Manor born, but I did grow up on a lot of Brit shows like The Goodies. I *adored* The Good Life! Tom and Barbara were ahead of their time!

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    1. You never saw To the Manor Born? You haven't lived, my friend! Oh, I loved the Goodies and the Good Life too. They were all...good!

      Thanks for saying you enjoyed Pirate! xxx

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    2. Hey Vanessa! Anna's Pirate is a great catch, isn't he!

      I loved The Good Life too! Such a good laugh... and I secretly fancied it would be great do a "Barbara and Tom" and live a self-sufficient life-style. Alas, I don't have the required green thumb!

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    3. Actually I think there's a touch of Tom and Barbara in a certain Love Cat's domain. Just saying...

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  5. HI, Anna! Congratulations on the release of A Pirate for Christmas! Fab to have you visit us on the LoveCats today with the gorgeous Bess and Rory!

    What a great walk down memory lane! I adored To The Manor Born! And the re-runs are just as enjoyable so it's a enduring favourite! I think I've seen and enjoyed most of the other comedies listed. And have you seen Black Books? There's Fawlty Towers too - Basil's classic wince-worthy clangers! A friend loaned us a DVD series called Coupling which we thought was great too so if you get the chance do watch it.

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    1. Oh, love Black Books. Do you remember the epislode where a Borders (not named as such) opens next door and Manny goes to work for them? Hilarious! Fawlty Towers is great but my lord, it makes me tense. All that anger! Haven't seen Coupling. Must check it out.

      Thanks for having me as your guest today. Always love to visit the Love Cats!

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  6. Sharon, thanks for asking Anna along as a guest today. Hi, Anna!

    Loved, Pirate, as you know and yes, the sneaking similarity to To the Manor Born was fun. But as I read it was wasn't thinking about Richard and Audrey, I was totally immersed in the fun of this beaut Christmas read. Such fun.

    Not sure I have a favourite UK comedy. It used to be Fawlty Towers but I suspect I've seen it too much. The Good Life and Keeping Up Appearances are classics but it depends on my mood. A few years ago I was chuckling over The Mighty Boosh when others in the family were watching it - not a fave, but with an anarchistic humour that reminded me a little of The Goodies and Monty P.

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    1. I love the Mighty Boosh - I spend far too much time singing, "You are the Chosen One. Loving you is so much fun." Do you remember creepy Old Greg, the old man of the sea? Eeeek!

      Actually a more recent one I had a great fondness for (not THAT recent) is the Vicar of Dibley, especially the earlier episodes. The villagers were hilarious.

      Thanks for saying you enjoyed Pirate!

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    2. oh, yes, Monty P! Annie that was always completely wacky and irresistible!

      And Anna, the Vicar of D! Love it at the end when she's talking to ditzy Alice! And then there's "no, no, no, yes" - kind creeps into the odd sentence!

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    3. Sharon, do you remember his wife came on one episode and she was yes, yes, yes, yes, no?

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  7. Ooooh! I am a child of the ABC (or should I say BBC) too, Anna. Only 1 TV statation in the little town where I grew up so while other girls I knew were watching Little House On The Prairie and Happy Days I was watching all the shows prvious,y mentioned as well as things like Dad's Army and It Aint Half Hot Mum, The Liverbirds, George and Mildred, Man About The House, Porridge and, of course, To The Manor Born. My Mum particulalry loved it!
    We also loved The Kenny Everett Video Show and Doctor Who - far better scripts than the new series if you ask me even if the special affects looks rather pathetic now. They certainly scared the bejesus out of me at the time!

    Love the look of your pirate and the nod to TTMB. Great cover!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! Oh, I so agree with you about the old Doctor Who. I think because the special effects weren't so great, they had to rely on great writing and wonderful characters. I had a major crush on Jon Pertwee who was the dandy doctor with the velvet coat and I think nobody's ever been as good in the part as Tom Baker with his mad eyes and long scarf and jelly babies to solve all intergalactic conflicts. Perhaps he should try that on a few modern places! You never know. Might work.

      The Kenny Everett Show was a major highlight of my Christmas holiday viewing. I have very fond memories of the naughty bits!

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    2. Loved both Petrwee and Baker. John Pertwee used to host a murder mystery show too...can't think what it was called but at the end he used to say "Will the real murderer please stand up". We loved it!

      Have you seen what the sonic screwdriver can do these days, Anna? It's just not right....

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    3. I'm with you. And there's a grim tone to the new ones that I just don't like. I'm clearly an old-fashioned gal!

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    4. Amy, I caught that murder mystery show too and enjoyed it - was it called Who Done It?

      Ducking as I say this... but I never got into Doctor Who!

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    5. But I do remember that from the large "salt and pepper" shakers that chased people around! LOL

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    6. Oh yes, Sharon! I think it might have been spelled Whodunnit though? Hmm...off to Google...

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    7. YES! I think you're exactly right, Amy. I would have liked to see more episodes actually!

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  8. Anna, I don't have a favourite because there are so many good ones. The British do comedy so darned well. They've got it locked up.

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    1. Amen to that, Sue! There are so many crackers aren't there! Actually I just had another thought for a favourite at Chez Archer which no one has named yet and that's As Time Goes By. What's not to love about Judi Dench!

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    2. Sharon, that was a family favourite too. Lionel and his book "My LIfe in Africa." And people would ask, "What's it about?" And he'd say, "My life in Africa." It was probably the delivery but it cracked me up every time.

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    3. Sue, I think the 70s were a really classic period for Britcom. We were great fans of Man About the House too.

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  9. "There is Manor in my Madness." I see what you did there, Ms Campbell. :-)

    Thank you So much for reminding me how much I love these Bitcom classics. To the Manor Born is my absolute favourite, I suspect because of that beautifully worked romance. I believe it may have (unconsciously) cultivated my love for the "lady and the tradie" class-difference trope, which I eat up in both historical* and contemporary romance. *In historical it's more likely the lady and the duke-disguised-as-a-groom-or-estate-manager, but still the same trope.

    Your "pirate" sounds right up my alley. Off to procure, right now...

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    1. Bron, it's been a lovely little walk down memory lane with the reminders of shows from other commenters.

      LOL on the "lady and the tradie"!

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  10. Bron, so glad you swung by. Completely different subject but I finally laid my hands on a copy of Jezebel's Blues - we'd spoken about the wonderful Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind and you'd recommended this one. LOVED it. Love how she writes about music. Brilliant story.

    Yes, I'm a sucker for cross-class love stories. A Scoundrel by Moonlight is one of those in spades except she's a maid and he's a lord. Like the lady and the tradie too (beautifully put!). Hope you enjoy Pirate - it was a fun one to write.

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  11. Hi Anna, so lovely to see you here at the LoveCats. I snapped up A Pirate For Christmas as soon as it was released. I love your Christmas novellas - and Pirate did not disappoint. Loved it. You realise your readers will expect one every year? You have set yourself high standards!
    I love all the British comedies - I think all my favourites have been mentioned in the comments. Are You Being Served really makes me laugh, they got away with a high level of risque. Blackadder in all its incarnations never fails to please.

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    1. Kandy, thanks so much for saying you enjoyed Pirate. That's lovely to hear. I don't mind at all if I write a Christmas story every year - it definitely gets me in the frame of mind for the season. Oh, didn't mention Blackadder - that one's great although I remember being devastated at the end of the last one. I still hatch cunning plans a la Baldrick!

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    2. I think you're absolutely right, Kandy! Anna, is definitely setting up an expectation!

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  12. Ooh, great topic, Anna! I've only caught a couple of episodes of To the Manor Born, but I think it's exactly the kind of thing I love...so hopefully Santa will bring it to me for Christmas. :-) I only watched The Good Life a few years ago and I thought Penelope Keith was the real stand out of that show. Other favourites include As Time Goes By (love Judy Dench!) and Ab Fab. ;-)

    Huge congrats on the new release. It's waiting for me on my Kindle and I'm so looking forward to it! :-)

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    1. Michelle, one of the pleasures of TTMB is watching it in order and watching Audrey soften. She's really not that nice at the start, although she's definitely gutsy so you're on her side. As you say, PK was the standout in the Good Life - you needed that bit of acid to counter the sweetness, I think. Hope you have fun with my pirate!

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    2. Another Judy Dench fan! Isn't she awesome! I think she's been the BEST M too! Ab Fab! So much fun!

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  13. We also had a big diet of UK TV growing up, Anna. The Goodies was a big one in our house.

    Your Christmas tale sounds fantastic. I'll have to read it just to find out what happens with the rascally donkey.

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    1. Jennifer, my brother and I loved the Goodies, my parents not so much. Poor Tim - he always had to dress up as the lady! Thanks for saying you like the sound of my pirate!

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    2. A Goodies fan! They were great, Jen!

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  14. I just recently started watching keeping up appearances and I just love that show.

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    1. Laurie, she's such a monster, isn't she?

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    2. Priceless, isn't it, Laurie! Mrs Bucket is such a control freak... I wince to admit but I do see bits of myself in her performances!

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  15. I didn't get the chance to watch much television, Anna, but I did love Upstairs, Downstairs. I'm catching up on some of the other ones you mention in my retirement! The Brits do excellent drama series, and ones with a good laugh. Thanks for your 'Pirate', I enjoyed reading his story. It's romantic as well as being beautifully Christmassy.

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    1. Malvina, thanks so much for picking up Pirate. I'm delighted you enjoyed it. Oh, I loved Upstairs Downstairs too. I missed it first time round because I was at boarding school but they played it in the afternoons one university holiday so I got to watch the whole thing. Amazing array of characters and my current crush of the time, Anthony Andrews, got to marry the heroine at the end. Awwww.

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    2. Another good British program, Malvina. I enjoyed The Duchess of Duke Street which was set in the same era I think.

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    3. Sharon, I absolutely adored The Duchess of Duke Street. I had such a crush on Charlie!

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  16. Hi Anna - I just love to The Manor Born. Like you, I was raised on a staple diet of UK comedy. Loved Father Dear Father and Man About The House. And anything with Wendy Craig - like Butterflies and Mother Makes Three (and of course Mother Makes Five when she got her happy ending) Oh, and A Fine Romance with Judy Dench....love that one. Great post :)

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    1. Helen, I missed those couple of Mother ones with Wendy Craig. I was in boarding school for a lot of the 70s so there's a whole slab of TV I missed. I have very fond memories of Butterflies.

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    2. Just Googled A Fine Romance, Helen! I haven't come across that one so it looks like I need to pop it on the wish list!

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  17. Thanks for opening the giveaway to international readers. We are almost always neglected, sigh... Now it's up to how well I keep my fingers crossed, I would really love to be able to say I won this chance for a good read eventually.

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    1. Iris, as I said, when I'm queen of the giveaway as I am here, my giveaways are always international. As an Aussie, I know how frustrating it can be to be locked out of the prizes! Good luck!

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    2. Good luck, Iris! Thanks for popping in to say hi!

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  18. I used to love watching keeping up appearances,are you being served? And on the buses.

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    1. Louise, I remember On the Buses being tremendously popular. I don't think I ever watched it! Nice to meet so many British comedy enthusiasts here.

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    2. Hey Louise, thanks for dropping by. I don't think I've seen On the Buses either... must Google!

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  19. OMG. How could I forget Mrs. Brown's Boys? I see it on the Internet all the time. It always cracks me up!

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    1. Laney, that one's really funny, isn't it? Her very stupid friend cracks me up the whole time!

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  20. I think As Time Goes By has to be my favorite. Touching and sweet but also always makes me laugh out loud.

    No need to enter me in the contest - I snatched up A Pirate for Christmas the first day and I loved it! Thanks for a great story.

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    1. Thanks so much for picking up my pirate, GC! And absolutely shivering my timbers with delight that you liked it. As Time Goes By really is touching, isn't it? My late parents just loved it - I think that gentle, heartfelt humour really appealed to them.

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    2. hey, GC, you're another fan of As Time Goes By! It's great, isn't it!

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  21. Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Love Cats and especially the lovely Sharon Archer who was my go to gal for this visit. Wishing you and all your readers the compliments of the season, however they celebrate it.

    And don't forget to swing back to see who won the Kindle download of A PIRATE FOR CHRISTMAS! Good luck!

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    1. Anna, it's always such a pleasure to have you visit!

      Yes, we'll be drawing the lucky winner of Anna's gorgeous Pirate for Christmas soon!

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  22. Doctor in the House was directed by my cousin and we went to the filming iof an episode n London and got meet all the cast. It was a firm favourite!

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