BROADCASTER and journalist Baroness Joan Bakewell is as sharp as a tack.

The 84-year-old is busy both as a media writer and as a working peer in the House of Lords.

Before being invited to become a peer by Ed Miliband in 2011, she thought long and hard about this honour, before accepting the offer to enter the House of Lords as a working peer.

Despite being in the House of Lords, Joan believes it is ripe for reform and long overdue for change.

She said: “Before I came into the House of Lords I did not give the place a thought.

“I did think long and hard about becoming a peer. When it was suggested I could become a working peer, it sounded a lot better as I could do something which was positive.

“The House of Lords does need reform as they are too many hereditary peers, too many bishops and there should be an age for retirement.There are also too many peers who do not turn up unless there is a three line whip and suddenly they are there to vote.

“If I could carry out the reforms I would reduce the numbers of hereditary peers, bring in an age of retirement and look at people who do not bother to turn up.

Somerset County Gazette:

“There is reform taking place but it is very slow.

She felt becoming a working peer was the right thing to do as it meant she was making a contribution and not just turning up and doing nothing.

Joan felt her drive and determination to be busy and hard working is a characteristic which she admits comes from her background and especially from her great grandfather, her mother and her father.

You can find out more about Joan and her career in the media both in print and on television when she comes to the Tacchi- Morris Arts Centre in Taunton on May 20.

She will be appearing in An Evening with Joan Bakewell.

In the show, Joan will chat about her life before taking audience questions in the second half.

There will also be a chance to get your books signed by Joan at the end of the evening.

Looking at the world today and what is happening in it, Joan who is a highly respected journalist, felt reporters both those in print and those in the broadcast media should ‘keep their eyes open and report on what they see’.

She said: “They need to keep their eyes open and report on what they see.

Somerset County Gazette:

“The problem is today, there is a lot going on and they have a tough job especially with fake news. The best journalism is similar to a fiction writer as they need to look closely at the world and report what they see. Two people can look at the same thing and have two different views.

“It is very important to be true to yourself.

“I think we are living in very troubling times and the world is very much a more gloomier place. There is a massive famine going on in Africa and we have got to do something about this.

“There is the worry about the NHS and what is happening with Donald Trump.

“We need to examine how so many people believed his lies and thought they were true.

“The whole of American society is now threatened by instability “There is dramatic change in America (with the election of Donald Trump) and the British government seems to be swinging to the right which I find very distressing.

“I cannot understand why Theresa May who voted to Remain in the EU, is now PM and talking about a Hard Brexit.”

Joan felt we were living in a world which is motivated by money and about making money.

She said: “You always hear the phrase when it comes to people getting paid excessive amounts when they say ‘I was made an offer I could not refuse’.

“There was an option they could have resisted it.”

Looking at her own career, Joan added: “I have enjoyed being able to follow a path which has suited by temperament.

“I have enjoyed the jobs which have engaged my intellect. I have given up a lot of the silliness on television to do what I thought was important. I am pleased I have been able to have a career as well as raise my children.”

- Tickets for An Evening with Joan Bakewell cost £24 / £22 Concs.

For further details go online at or call the Box Office on 01823 41 41 41