|Born||14 March 1947
Stanford in the Vale, Berkshire, England
Pam Ayres was born at Stanford in the Vale in the English county of Berkshire, now in Oxfordshire. After leaving Faringdon Secondary School at the age of 15, she joined the Civil Service as a clerical assistant. She soon left and signed up for the Women's Royal Air Force, where she worked in a drawing office dealing with operational maps, and it was there that she chose her career as an entertainer. She began reading her verses at the local folk club in Oxfordshire, and this led to an invitation to read on the local BBC radio station in 1974. Her reading was re-broadcast nationally, and then broadcast again as one of the BBC's Pick of the Year.
In September 2006, a BBC website stated that Bob Dylan inspired Pam Ayres to write poetry, although in an interview (aired on Radio New Zealand's Nine To Noon programme, 24 October 2006) Pam stated that the Lonnie Donegan records her brother played were her inspiration.
In 1975 Ayres appeared on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks. This led to a wide variety of guest appearances on TV and radio shows. Since then she has published six books of poems, toured in a one woman stage show, briefly hosted her own TV show and performed her stage show for the Queen.
Her poetry has a simple style and deals with everyday subject matter. Her poem I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth, was voted into the Top 10 of a BBC poll to find the Nation's 100 Favourite Comic Poems. In the UK Arts Council's report on poetry Ayres was identified as the fifth best-selling poet in Britain during 1998 and 1999. However, in 2000 her TV show was ranked at number 64 in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Moments from TV Hell.
Ayres is married to theatre producer Dudley Russell, and they have two sons, William and James. They live in the Cotswolds, and keep some rare breeds of cattle, as well as some sheep, pigs, chickens, and guinea fowl. Pam is a keen gardener and beekeeper. She is a patron of the Battery Hen Welfare Trust.
Pam continues to actively perform her work, the humorous quality of which is enhanced by her idiosyncratic delivery and 'country bumpkin' accent. Starting in September 2006 to coincide with the release of her latest book and audio CD, Ayres gave dozens of performances in various locations in the United Kingdom and Australia, with additional dates scheduled for the UK and New Zealand in 2007.
From 1996, Ayres has appeared frequently on BBC Radio: from 1996 until 1999 Pam presented a two-hour music and chat show every Sunday afternoon on BBC Radio 2; this was followed by two series of Pam Ayres’ Open Road, in which Pam visited various parts of the United Kingdom, interviewing people with interesting stories to tell about their lives and local areas. More recently Pam has become a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4, appearing in programmes such as Just a Minute, Say The Word, That Reminds Me, and two series of her own show, Ayres On The Air, a radio show of her poetry and sketches.
In mid-2007, Ayres started work acting in a new radio sitcom, Potting On for BBC Radio 4, in which she co-stars with actor Geoffrey Whitehead. She wrote and recorded three series of her BBC Radio 4 programme Ayres On The Air, the latest of which was broadcast in the late summer of 2009.
On Friday 16 January 2009 she made her first appearance on BBC TV programme QI.
Pam Ayres is well known for her comedy songs. One of these is ‘They Should Have Asked My Husband'.
Pam Ayres: In Her Own Words was recorded live at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham in September 2005 and is available on DVD