Forces BRATS have the tenacity to go far in life… Did you know that renowned British actress Joanna Lumley (Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous), and the Nations most successful female comedian duo Dawn French (Vicar of Dibley) and Jennifer Saunders (Edwina, Absolutely Fabulous) are ex- forces BRATS?
In fact French and Saunders are both ex RAF BRATS. French, a corporals daughter was born in Wales and spent much of her childhood in boarding school in Plymouth, whilst Saunders the daughter of an RAF pilot was born in Lincolnshire; spent the early part of her childhood in Cyprus and through various postings attended numerous different schools. Word has it that although the twosome only met in their late teens, at some point they had actually grown up on the same RAF base, and had even shared the same best friend, without ever meeting.
With a string of hit comedy series to their name, and awarded a prestigious BAFTA Fellowship award for recognition of outstanding achievement to the arts in 2009, French and Saunders have attributed their natural capacity for humour, in part, to a nomadic army upbringing that involved having to endear yourself to others and quickly make friends.
Likewise Joanna Lumley, the daughter of a major in the Ghurkha rifles, also had an ‘out of the ordinary’ childhood. Born in India, she spent much of her childhood living in the Far East before returning the UK where she is now a well respected actress and was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her contribution to the arts. Most notably in 2009 she became the spokeswoman for the Ghurkhas (who had served with the British Army) and successfully advocated for their right to settle in the United Kingdom. On the subject of ‘life’ Joanna says;
“I’ve always believed you only have one go at life, which is thrilling…only you can make yourself into what you want to be…don’t blame anybody else. You are entitled to fresh air and that’s it. Do the rest yourself.” (see here)
A mantra clearly influenced by the resilience she gained through having an army BRAT upbringing and perhaps a mantra that should inspire us all? ….