Bingham, Charlotte (Mary Therese) 1942-
BINGHAM, Charlotte (Mary Therese) 1942-
PERSONAL: Born June 29, 1942, in Haywards Heath, Sussex, England; daughter of John Michael Ward (seventh baron of Clanmorris and a writer of crime stories) and Madeleine (a writer; maiden name, Ebel) Bingham; married Terence Joseph Brady (an actor and writer), January 15, 1964; children: Candida, Matthew. Education: Attended Sorbonne, University of Paris, 1959-60. Politics: Liberal. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home—Hardway House, Brutow, Somerset, England. Agent—A. D. Peters and Co. Ltd., 10 Buckingham St., London WC2N 6BU, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Playwright, novelist, and writer for television series.
MEMBER: Writers Guild of Great Britain.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Romantic Novel Award, Romantic Novelists Association, 1996.
Coronet among the Weeds (autobiographical; also see below), Random House (New York, NY), 1963.
Lucinda (novel), Heinemann (London, England), 1966.
Coronet among the Grass (autobiographical; also see below), Heinemann (London, England), 1972.
No, Honestly! (contains Coronet among the Weeds and Coronet among the Grass), Penguin (London, England), 1974.
Belgravia, M. Joseph (London, England), 1983.
Country Life, M. Joseph (London, England), 1985.
To Hear a Nightingale, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.
The Business, M. Joseph (London, England), 1989.
Nanny, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1993.
Debutantes, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1995.
The Nightingale Sings, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.
Kissing Garden, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
The Love Knot, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.
The Blue Note, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2000.
The Season, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.
Summertime, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2001.
Distant Music, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.
The Chestnut Tree, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
The Wind off the Sea, Transworld Publishers (London, England), 2003, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.
with husband, terence brady
Rose's Story (novel), Sphere Books (London, England), 1972, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1975.
Victoria (novel), W. H. Allen (London, England), 1972.
Victoria and Company (novel), W. H. Allen (London, England), 1974.
Yes, Honestly, Sphere Books (London, England), 1977.
scripts for television series; with terence brady
Take Three Girls, British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC TV), 1968-71.
(With others) Upstairs, Downstairs, LWTV, 1971-73.
No, Honestly!, LWTV, 1974-75.
One of the Family, Thames-TV, 1975.
Yes, Honestly, LWTV, 1975-76.
Plays for Today, BBC-TV, 1977.
Pig in the Middle, LWTV, 1980.
Nanny, BBC-TV, 1981-83.
Also author, with Brady, of television scripts Away from It All, Thomas and Sarah, and The Complete Lack of Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Creator of program Oh, Madeline, ABC-TV, 1983.
Author, with Brady, of plays One Two Sky's Blue, 1967, Making the Party, 1973, and Such a Small Word, 1973, and of radio play The Victoria Line, 1971.
Contributor to periodicals, including Vogue, Harper's, Evening Standard, and Catholic Herald.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A play, "A Dip before Breakfast," with husband, Terence Brady.
SIDELIGHTS: One of Britain's best known and most popular novelists, Charlotte Bingham has sold over three million copies of her books worldwide. In addition to novels such as The Love Knot and The Chestnut Tree, Bingham has authored fiction with her husband, actor Terence Brady, and has also collaborated with Brady on television scripts and stage plays.
Bingham comes from a literary family. Her father, John Bingham, was the seventh baron of Clanmorris and a writer of crime stories. He was also secretly a high-ranking member of the British intelligence agency MI5, charged with detecting foreign agents at work in England. John Bingham served as the model for John le Carre's fictional character George Smiley, a spymaster who figures into the plots of such best-selling thrillers as Smiley's People and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. although Bingham learned of her father's secret life as a teen, Le Carre did not reveal the secret until 2000. When the books were filmed, actor Alec Guinness played the Smiley character. "When I first watched Smiley I just couldn't believe it. It was like watching my father on screen," Bingham told Ian Starrett in the News Letter.
Bingham's literary career began when she was nineteen, and her first published book was her autobiography, Coronet among the Weeds. As the author once told CA: "I turned to writing at the age of eighteen because of an inability to master the arts of shorthand and typing. The resultant humorous book, Coronet among the Weeds, has been described as a book about being a debutante, which I no longer bother to deny, having too much regard for my royalties." Coronet among the Weeds proved to be a best-seller. Schofield quoted Bingham explaining: "It was unimaginably thrilling…. That whole time had a fairytale quality."
After this first, heady success, Bingham decided to make writing her career. As she told CA: "I met and married Terence Brady, who put an end to any treasured thoughts of early retirement by lassoing me into partnership with him." The couple have gone on to collaborate on a number of successes for television. "In the 1970s and 1980s they wrote a string of brilliant TV hits, including Take Three Girls; Thomas and Sarah; No, Honestly; Upstairs Downstairs and Nanny," Schofield explained.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2003, Neal Wyatt, review of The Chestnut Tree, p. 843.
Daily Mail (London, England), March 13, 2001, Lester Middlehurst, "The Spymaster's Daughter, Her Society Scandal and a Tragedy She Will Take to Her Grave," p. 13.
Library Journal, April 15, 1989, Lydia Burruel Johnson, review of To Hear a Nightingale, p. 98.
News Letter, March 15, 2001, Ian Starrett, "Charlotte, Her Father, and the Spy Web," p. 18.
New Statesman and Society, July 22, 1988, Sara Maitland, review of To Hear a Nightingale, p. 40.
Publishers Weekly, February 17, 1989, review of To Hear a Nightingale, p. 66.
Charlotte Bingham Web site, http://www.charlottebingham.com/ (November 6, 2003).*