As we drift down the river Lockdown on the good ship Telegraph Online, the time has come for me to jump overboard.

Pinching my nose, closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and make the leap into uncharted waters.

I hear the skipper’s voice.

‘You’ve left your Layton on Lockdown diary behind,’ shouts Cap’n Editor.

‘I don’t need it! ‘ I call back, as I manfully doggy-paddle towards:



I’ve always been a morning person.  The moment I open my eyes, I’m straight into a conversation.

‘Moya, I’ve been thinking…’ is usually the first thing I say when I wake up.

‘Darling, give me a minute.’

‘Yes, ‘course.  Sorry…but I’ve been thinking.’ 

And I’ll start my morning rant.

‘For God’s sake, George, let me wake up!’

‘Yes, sorry…But I’ve been thinking about Michael Gove.  He’s a twat.’

I blame BBC Sounds.  Being a poor sleeper, I spend much of the night with an earphone in one ear, listening to the app. 

You can go back 30 days.  I’ve probably had my ear tuned to an old edition of Any Questions. 

Or, I’ve been lying there since 6am, getting increasingly wound-up by the Today programme, and by 6.45, I’m selfishly willing Moya to stir, so that I can begin my morning vent. 

It must be irritating to live with.   Well, I know it is.

‘For God’s sake, ring the BBC.  Write to The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph! 

‘Not the Mail?’ I ask, helpfully.

I get her steely look.

‘How many times?  Write a blog, get it out of your system’. 

For years she’s been telling me this.  I respond with the years-old lazy excuse I always toss back.

‘I wouldn’t know where to start,’ I whine.

‘Find out!  Go on the Internet.  Just let me wake up!’

So, I’m finally doing it.   I hope I’m not the only one reading it.  But if I am, at least I’m keeping one person happy. 

Until I wake her up with a cup of tea – and start ranting.


The Government mantra ‘Stay Home – Protect the NHS –  Save Lives’ has shifted to ‘Stay Alert – Control the Virus – Save Lives’

It would appear that the Government had to import two antipodeans, Issac Levido, a communications strategist from Australia, and Ben Guerin, a digital advisor from New Zealand, to help devise this new slogan.

Goodness, where would we be without them?

‘Layton on Lockdown’, initially commissioned by the Telegraph Online for 1 week, then extended to 4 weeks and ultimately 7 weeks, is now making the transition to a weekly blog.  

In line with government policy, it was felt a change of name was required, together with a change of format

Following intensive strategy meetings, many late into the night, Layton on Lockdown has now been rebranded:

‘Life in Laytonia’!

And I did this all by myself.  No antipodeans required. 

When I say, I did it myself, being a self-confessed technophobe, I haven’t clue what I’m doing. 

It is all down to Ferdy, my tech guy, and I am relying on Ferdy to ensure that this blog is online every Monday.

Let me tell you about him: apart from being a whizz-kid when it comes to all things technical, Ferdy also has a rum business. 

By ‘rum’, I don’t mean dubious.  He sources and market rums from around the world.

I mention this because, in line again with the government, I am looking at ways to ease lockdown. 

And if the odd bottle of rum were to come my way, it would certainly ease lockdown the land of Laytonia.


I’m not one for change.  If it were up to me, our house would be a shrine to the 80’s.  We would still have the same pine kitchen with the Spanish tiled worktop and splash-back that we put in over 40 years ago.

Mind you, it was an early Smallbone kitchen.  It could have been the earliest, perhaps the first, in London. 

It was installed by Charlie Smallbone himself in 1980 and Smallbone of Devizes didn’t open their Notting Hill showroom until 1981.

‘That is a kitchen that will last a lifetime!’

I don’t know if it was me or Charlie Smallbone who said it, but having gone through a crippling divorce, emotionally and financially, I have no doubts that I justified this expensive kitchen by believing that it was literally ‘a kitchen for life’

That our home is not trapped in an 80’s time warp is down to Moya’s vision, creative flair, excellent taste and ultimate disregard of my lazy, mean-spirited, penny-pinching negativity.

Moya embraces change whilst I, either through fear or laziness, resist it. 

This is why I have shunned social media.  Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin – they are not for me.  I have recently got into Twitter, but how it works is a mystery.  I can never follow ‘the thread’.

And now, writing this blog unnerves me; Ferdy has completely gone off my radar.  Without him I haven’t a clue how to get it to go live, online, on the screen!

See, I don’t even know the jargon.


One of the joys of being an actor, is sometimes you get to work with people that you have long admired.  Hero-worshipped is not too strong a hyphen-ated word to use.

Bob Monkhouse springs to mind. 

Growing up in the 50’s, radio was King and Bob Monkhouse was a Giant in radio comedy.  And I was glued to the radio. 

I worked with Bob in 1965 in a television play, Enter Solly Gold, and he became a life-long friend. That, however, is a story for another Life in Laytonia day. 

It is the great and much-missed Roy Kinnear I want to talk about.

Roy was my kind of actor; long before I ever worked with him, I had admired the way he could glide seamlessly from rollicking comedy, which brought tears of laughter, to moving drama that just brought tears. 

His heart-rending, almost unwatchable, performance in Sydney Lumet’s, The Hill being just one reminder of this consummate actor.

But more than that, Roy was able to keep the mad profession that acting is, in perspective. 

Family always came first, starting with his much-loved wife, Carmel and then the arrival of their first of their three children, Karina. 

Unfortunately, due to a lack of oxygen at birth, Karina suffered severe brain damage.

Last week Karina died at the age of 48 from Covid 19. 

I only learned of this when I read her brother Rory’s direct, unsentimental and utterly compelling piece in Tuesday’s Guardian.

I would urge you to read it.  It will move you to tears.