Nesta Wyn Ellis makes hugely watchable Television. She is compelling, amusing and good to look at. Serious or sarcastic she makes you want to hear the next crack. Her TV arose from her writing and before that her politics. She published her first book, Dear /elector, the Truth about MPs when she was herself a candidate for Parliament and before that, appeared on many TV shows as a political candidate. She is succinct , contraversial and witty.
But it was her writing that made her a guest hard to resist. Nesta was a journalist before her books made her a big name. Starting her career with a one way trip to Africa she interviewed the great dissidents of the Apartheid era including Helen Joseph and Lilian Ngoy Her long features in the Guardian and comic ones in the late-lamented Punch, gave way to her role as political columnist for Harpers an Queen and profiler of and interviewer of high profile personalities and the leaders of the political world, many in Woman’s Journal but also the tabloid magazines of the Sunday Mirror and People, the Mail on Sunday and upmarket Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph magazines. Her first and sensational novel “The Banker’s Daughter” brought many a request for interviews and then her unique biography of the youngest ever PM, John Major which revealed the success of her tell-all, interview techniques and her own experience of political life, brought her international fame via photographs and TV as wide apart as Australia’s Channel 9 and the US CBC.
I was her eminently steal-able little book of saucy biographies of Britain’s top 100 Eligible Bachelor’s that drew the most attention from TV Programme makers. Many shows were set up especially in studios where women talked about marriage to successful or moneyed men.
A biography of Lord Bath, self professed great lover was to follow her to Paris where she went to live for 13 years to end a turbulent period of tabloid exposure. It brought her the solace of uninterrupted creativity and she wrote several novels most of which she published herself with the imprint Lioness Books.
But Tv followed her to Paris where she was also singing songs in French in bars and cafes there
and gave concerts as she had already done in London, starting at Pizza on the Park. She had taken her own self produced show Saisons d’Amour (Season’s of Love) to the Edinburgh Fringe and now she took it with her to Paris and performed it there. She also made a French disc, Les Rivages de Paradis, (The Shores of Paradise) having already made her first recorded album, Experience of Love, some of her English language songs in London. She has composed 63 songs which are registered with PRS and will record her third album, Ordinary Things. The song Tes Yeux, used in the award winning Bolsas de Huesos y Recuerdos made her an IMDB composer of film music.
She composes as well as sings the established repertoire, (especially in French )and her decision to turn to music was made by accident in 1995 when a BBC 2 TV strand, Arena came to her house at 34 Montagu Square to shoot a film about Jimmy Hendrix. He had lived there in the duplex below her own apartment during the 1960s when the lower floor had been leased by Ringo Starr and the Beatles had lived there. And Paul McCartney and John Lennon composed there. JH had left his graffiti in the plaster under the hall wallpaper and one day his ghost came to Nesta while she tried to sleep on a hot wet night. He returned the next day to dictate a lyric ( “you write the tune)” He said) which Nesta will use in her forthcoming Anglo -French feature film, Three Days in September. It was S4C who came several times to film documentaries of her life in Paris, including some of her concerts..
It was producing a programme called The Big Wedding which inspired Nesta, then living in Paris, to begin her production service Paris Production Services, in Paris. Serving foreign producers for several other countries who needed help with their productions. parisproductionservices.com enabled these non French producers to access French resources and permits and to shoot in a French speaking environment. Working with non-French producers, Paris Production Services enabled these non French film making teams from the US, India, Greece and pother countries to make their films and documentaries in France. And to deal with French laws and language.
Now a C4S producer has invited Nesta to be the subject of a semi-documentary,,high profile show where she meets an old boyfriend and they ask each other what has transpired over the past years since they were friends. This will be recorded later this month in a grand hotel in Shropshire.
Her own memoirs have been written and are ready for publication after editing. They cover different periods of her extraordinary life including the period of her fame as Major’s biographer, the death of her publisher Robert Maxwell and her early work in music. She has also written about earlier periods such as her adventurous journeys in Africa. It seems however that a person known through TV is more likely to be of interest to an audience and to publishers.. Hence her interest in uk tv. She has turned away from book authorship to film making snd script writing. She has written two screenplays and further ones are likely. She now prefers the images of film and photography to straight writing in order o tell a story. Music also plays it’s part. She was ready to record songs for Three Days in September and has composed some satirical jazz numbers for her film of The Bankers Daughter.
She developed her interest in images, especially in film as a medium while she was living in Paris for 13 years. Her new Novel, “Three Days in September” as a story definitely originated there. It was written first as film script in English and later she published it as a novel set in Paris and the Rhine Valley. This will be shot mainly in Paris, with some French actors and crew.
The film has been held up by Covid and her own accident which stopped her from working. She has waited due to the deleterious effect of Covid on cinema audiences. She will have to return to Paris to film it partly with French crews but mostly due to the locations which she has researched and costed already. Film and music are the future for Nesta.
Always bewitched by the Paris of past and present she will make this film her Parisian film debut. She returned to the UK for experienced crew and finance. She intends however to become more known to UK audiences by TV roles which make use of her interviewing skills.