‘I belonged to other people’: Petula Clark recalls life as a child star
As she prepares for ‘Mary Poppins’ on stage, the singer, now 86, explains that life was not all sweetness and light
Petula Clark is regaling me about the night she got sloshed with Peter O’Toole in 1969, around the time they starred in Goodbye Mr Chips. It came at the end of a golden decade for the singer and actress – she was the biggest British female recording artist of her time – scoring hit after hit, that 1964 phenomenon Downtown putting her in a league of her own.
“It was hard not to get a bit tipsy with Peter when you were with him. That’s the way it was. And after one very merry meal in Hampstead, we set off downhill, with me sitting on his shoulders, singing at the tops of our voices. People were leaning out of their windows, complaining that they were trying to get to sleep. And he was yelling back: ‘Do you realise who you’re talking to?’” she laughs, fondly.
In spite of such recollections, Clark – who began performing in public in her early youth and is still going at 86 – tells me she hates the nostalgia trail...