Friday, December 25, 2020



Joan Collins and Tara Arkle on toxic men and working mothers

The actress and her novelist daughter on growing closer

Interviews by Caroline Scott
The Sunday Times

I was already pregnant when I married Tony Newley. I was 29, I’d been an actress for ten years and I was getting a bit bored and broody. I wanted a little girl and I got my Tara Cynara — she was the centre of my world. Sacha came along when Tara was 13 months old, so I had two under two. I was a full-on, hands-on mother until they went to nursery. By then we were living in Beverly Hills and I started to get a lot of roles in television. That’s when I realised that I loved acting and I loved the business. I just wanted to get back to work.

I’ve never felt guilt and I’ve never felt jealousy. Those are two emotions I don’t really understand. I didn’t have anything to feel guilty about. I had a right to work, and after Tony and I divorced when Tara was seven, I needed to work. Anyone who knows me will tell you I was a good mother, but I worked a lot and I loved parties — we didn’t have social media, you went to be seen — that’s how I got the part of Alexis in Dynasty. And when things were really tough I stood in line for social security — it wasn’t my favourite experience and I never did it again.

I don’t know anyone with a female teenager who hasn’t had problems. It’s the nature of being a girl. Tara was rebellious and she had a very old-fashioned idea of how a woman should be. I’d be in the middle of a movie and she’d ask: “Who’s going to pick me up from school?” It took quite a long time for her to accept that a woman has a right to do exactly as a man does: work and put bread on the table.

When she was 13 or 14 she decided to go and live with her father, whose girlfriend cooked spaghetti and stews every night. It didn’t break my heart and it wasn’t a relief because of course it didn’t last; as soon as they got married they moved into the biggest house in Hollywood and the scales fell from Tara’s eyes.

It took a while for her to decide what she wanted to do. She went to the American College in Paris. She went to Boston University. She became a singer and she was very good. She’s worked in the film business and radio, she’s worked [as a case worker] for a women’s refuge and she’s written a wonderful novel.

                                   Joan with baby Tara in 1964

I have experienced domestic abuse. I made it clear to even the worst of the husbands that if they raised a finger I would walk. I certainly have not approved of some of Tara’s ex-men. I did not like one former partner at all, he was not a nice man and the relationship ended horribly. Then she had a couple more relationships I didn’t approve of, just as she has not approved of some of mine. Tara is a girl who doesn’t hold back and she’s complained vociferously. There were a couple of men I was with in the late Eighties and Nineties she really didn’t like, and I can understand why because quite frankly they were terrible to her and to all my family. I was very stupid and it caused, not a rift exactly, but we weren’t as close as we should have been. So although we love each other to bits, it was sad we were both in these toxic relationships and couldn’t connect.

We both adore each other’s husbands now. I love Nick and she loves Percy. And we all love her children, Miel and Weston, to bits. She’s very much an earth mother, she’s really caring. Tara’s had to be strong because she’s had a tough life, but she’s not as strong as I am, and she gets very tired. It’s marvellous to see how happy she is now. I’m terribly proud of her. It’s not easy being Joan Collins’s daughter, I’m sure.

When I was growing up I had a fantasy in my head of what a family should look like. I hadn’t become the feminist I am today and I wanted my mum in an apron dishing out pancakes. My brother and I had a series of nannies as Mum slogged away at her career while going through relationships with men who didn’t support her. There were some very tough years and I was just disappointed she wasn’t with us more. I remember getting a Polaroid of her in a swamp fighting an enormous papier-mâché ant. She’d scribbled on it: “This is what your mum is doing to put food on the table.”

I was quite introspective and my parents’ divorce affected me deeply. When we moved from sunny California to London it felt like the expulsion from Eden. I was upset and confused, and that sense of loss coloured my childhood. Dad had let Mum down and she was looking for comfort and solidity by marrying again. I was angry with her and we didn’t connect in the way I hoped we would. She thought I was weighing her up against my dad’s new partner, who was a lot more mumsy. So we got in an argument and she said: “Go and live with your father then.” And I thought: “OK, I will.” But that too went south.

The repercussions played out for a few years, but everyone did the best they could and it worked out fine, because Mum and I are so close now it brings a tear to my eye. We can both be honest to the point of being blunt. That has sometimes made our relationship more complicated, but we totally understand each other.

One of the biggest changes in our relationship came when I stopped expecting her to be anything other than who she is. I feel it’s taken me most of my life to get my shit together. I’m so proud of her and the precedent she’s set for women everywhere to stand a bit taller because they can be more gorgeous and strong later in life than they ever thought possible.

It’s so easy to criticise women who’ve had to do everything. Even when she was married I think she felt like a single mother. My father definitely wasn’t the man she hoped he’d be; being faithful would have been a start. Having the amazing, supportive partners we have now has helped us to become a family. We are both late bloomers, we’ve fought through a ton of stuff to get to a better place.

She takes motherhood very seriously and it would hurt her deeply if she felt she’d messed up. She didn’t — she made me who I am today — a strong, independent woman. She’s an incredibly supportive, loving mother and friend. She might not always know the traditional things to say but when the chips are down, she’s there for you.

Sure, life has thrown her some mud pies and some terrible men, but she chooses not to think about things she can’t change. She’s always had more energy than me. She loves cocktails and dinner out every night. I can’t think of anything worse. I want to be tucked up on the sofa with my husband and Netflix. But if she hears I’ve been ill she’ll call me every day. When you get down to it, she’s not very different to most mums. She just happens to be Joan Collins, a total legend.

Radio Honey by Tara Arkle is out now (Black Pawn Press £14)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Joan Collins Might Have Been “Scrooged” Out Of Christmas, But Her Festive Outfits Are Pure Joy


Joan Collins has a knack for lifting our spirits. Remember when she brought Hollywood Joan to London Fashion Week? She waltzed into Erdem’s spring/summer 2019 show – shades on, flanked by team members – with exactly the kind of chutzpah needed to make fashion editors look up from their phones. In lieu of current IRL events, Collins has taken it upon herself to bring a dose of showbiz style to her Instagram page. In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, she is posting 12 fabulous outfits for her fans

Kicking off proceedings, Collins shared a picture of herself wearing a splashy floral Erdem dress with a frilly hem and a black blazer with swing sleeves. Hand on hip, with her signature blow-dry and red lip executed to perfection, the 87-year-old was the inspiration we needed to ditch the tracksuits and get dressed in a manner befitting the festive season.

Next up, for a stint on The Jonathan Ross Show, Collins pulled off a snow-white suit, a sequin silver top and point-toe pumps with her hair pulled into a bouffant that looked nothing short of magnificent. 

Her hashtags might have reflected the mood of the nation – #christmasiscancelled #nowheretogo #scrooged – but Joan was all smiles in her Christmas jumper and walking gear.

        A waistcoat followed on day three (“looking slightly grumpy,” said Collins).

If you don’t already follow one of the nation’s chicest dames, let now be the time you click that little Insta tick. There’s still 10 more outfits to come via Collin’s charming virtual advent calendar.  Follow Joan on Instagram here!

Imagine the thrill of Christmas Day Joan in full swing…

Friday, December 18, 2020



To add some sparkle to your Christmas viewing, tune into The Jonathan Ross Show this Saturday 19th on ITV1 in the UK AT 9.25PM, as Joan will be Jonathan's star guest.. Viewers in Ireland can catch it on Monday evening 21st Dec on Virgin Media 2 at 11.05pm ..

Thursday, December 17, 2020


Joan Collins: The politics of Christmas trees

 To say that the past nine months have been tough is like saying a hurricane felt like a spring shower. For many people it must have been utter hell, particularly those who own hospitality businesses. I simply cannot imagine how they could plan and manage ahead when our government refused to give anyone a clue whether either of the lockdowns was genuinely going to end.

It all reminds me of the silly children’s game Grandmother’s Footsteps, in which players attempt to creep up behind ‘Grandmother’. If she turns and catches them moving, they must return to the beginning. We always seem to be returning to the beginning. Lockdown all over again. Except the rules of Grandmother’s Footsteps are at least clear. Boris Johnson kept saying: ‘Go out’, ‘Stay at home’, ‘Wear a mask if you go out’, ‘But you can’t go out, so go home’. Frankly I didn’t understand any of his rules and I didn’t feel we had to obey them. They weren’t actual laws, after all. On the other hand, I wasn’t keen to get fined for whatever unintentional misdemeanour I might commit, so Percy and I just stayed at home in our ‘bubble’. Whatever a bubble is.

So I tried to keep busy. My closets and wardrobes are now immaculate. Every dress, shirt and jacket is cleverly colour-coordinated and my shoes stand to attention on the shelves like brave little soldiers. Underwear, stockings and sweaters are folded in drawers as neatly as an assistant at Selfridges would do it. And then — what to do next? I was one of the lucky few in the entertainment business. I worked on a TV series, shot a couple of commercials, did a few photoshoots and press interviews and made lots of videos for charities and friends’ birthdays. Then, it was back on the sofa to read or watch TV.

I’ve discovered this year that there’s only a limited amount of time one can gawp at the television. I can now rattle off the names of all the dancers on Strictly and all the announcers and anchors on breakfast news and morning chat shows. I’ve also become a news junkie, reading four newspapers a day, including the American ones. But I find most programmes on terrestrial trite or dull. So we watched, yet again, Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, Big (basically, anything with Tom Hanks) or any of a dozen or more old favourites from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, which look great on our new 85-inch screen and make it seem like we’re in our private cosy cinema. Percy and I even broke open a box set of Dynasty and started binge-watching! I was amazed that I hadn’t seen many of the episodes and astonished by the number and variety of outfits I wore — none of which I remember.
As the second lockdown wore on, I sought solace at the chocolate and the cheese counter at Waitrose (masks and gloves on, of course). It’s amazing how rapidly one’s lifelong dedication to healthy eating and eschewing junk food goes out the window. The pounds piled on, but I steadfastly ignored them even as my zippers broke, one after another.

To cheer me up and brighten our lovely flat, near the start of November Percy schlepped all our boxes of decorations and lights down from the attic, complaining: ‘It’s much too early for this!’ I spent a delightful weekend dressing the tree with all the baubles and decorations I’ve collected for years, and then started decorating the sitting room and dining room, sprinkling garlands, candles and various colourful arrangements around. I proudly posted the photo of my completed tree on Instagram with a caption saying, ‘What else should we do during #lockdown?’

The next day I found myself in the centre of a national furore on television, in print and on the radio — not to mention on all the social media platforms — as to whether I was too quick off the starting block. Various presenters offered their critiques on my style and substance. Should one have a fake tree or a real tree? Was the tree pre-lit or, as my husband’s raw hands can attest, painstakingly lit by hand? Personally, I’m against cutting down forests to satisfy the real-tree lovers, but I do not judge (safe space, safe space). Once the tree has been heavily decorated, one can’t tell if it’s real anyway, and the advantage to fake is that you don’t have a million needles to contend with daily and a balding tree by the time Christmas arrives — especially when you’ve fired the starting gun early.

Making the most of the joyful time London has spent in Tier 2 (sorry, my northern brethren), I booked multiple lunch and dinner reservations at our favourite restaurants, grateful that we were able to go out, not only for Percy and me, but for our many friends who own these establishments and have been suffering brutal financial hardship.
I’ve always liked to plan ahead my days and my life, but that has now become a thing of the past and we live on tenterhooks, wondering what the next arbitrary rule will be. But whatever happens, my husband and I are looking forward to sitting in front of the tree with some American-style eggnog and toasting the end of this terrifying, hideous, rotten, awful year!

FASHION ALERT : Dame Joan Collins: In The Bag | Episode 41 | British Vogue & Valentino .. DEC 17TH 2020 ..

Ever wondered what Joan carries in her handbag? Well wonder no more!

Saturday, December 5, 2020


 Joan braved a chilly London to launch the 2020 Burlington Arcade Christmas lights earlier this evening.. The always fashionable
shopping arcade in the heart of Mayfair is the place to go for true style.. A truly timeless destination, uniting Picadilly and Bond Street..



December 4, 2020

In a pre-pandemic era, perhaps you spotted her at the Forum Shops or Fashion Show mall with that streak of ebony hair, big, saucer eyes lined in black, and that unmistakable English accident. The word “darling” was flying, and why not?

Joan Collins always has been part diva, surprisingly down to earth and all kinds of fabulous.

As with most things in life, Dame Joan Henrietta Collins always did Vegas her way. On a cold winter afternoon at her London mansion, all she could do was reminisce. “I adore Las Vegas, darling!” she exclaimed, sipping tea brought by her husband, Percy Gibson.

“In the late 1950s, I would come to Vegas to see Sammy and Frank. I loved Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. What a glorious and magical place,”. When Collins brought her one-woman show to the South Point before life got germy, she spent her days doing what she wanted to do. “I’m not a big gambler, but I do fritter my time away in malls,” she said. “Vegas has the best shopping, darling. You’re making me want to go there right now.”

Review-Journal: How are you handling these odd times, and what’s your ideal Sunday?

Joan Collins: I’m well. I’m sitting here right now with my tea, wondering if London will go into a complete lockdown where all the hotels, bars and restaurants aren’t allowed to be open. I’ll be very upset if that happens. What can you do? I remember that I was a tiny girl during World War II. We would go downstairs at night when there were bombings. There was an intense amount of togetherness for families during that time. This time reminds me of those days. The sad part is I’m not allowed to see my daughter or her children. They live in the country — and that’s the perfect Sunday. I love walking around the countryside with my grandchildren.

What is one thing fans would be surprised to know you’ve been doing?

Well, I don’t bake, darling! I have read tremendous amounts of books and newspapers. I bought 55 books when this started, and I like holding an actual newspaper in my hands. I also watch too much TV. A few weeks ago, I had the brilliant idea of tidying up my closets and drawers. Now, they’re all terribly pristine. I’ve also been terribly busy working or talking about work.

Tell us about your new film, “The Loss Adjuster,” a Christmas comedy about insurance man Martin (Luke Goss), whose life spirals out of control during a really bad day.

I play a woman named Margaret. I won’t ruin it for you, except to say that she enters Martin’s life. What I loved is that it’s a very cheerful movie that’s not about killing or dismembering people. My part was shortened because of COVID. But it was a lovely, sweet role.

Do you ever give in to the despair of a really bad day?

I do not. I’m a very positive person. If I was having a very bad day as a child, my mother would sit me down and say, “Don’t be upset. There are children starving in India.” If my mood didn’t improve, she would remind me, “In addition, there are starving children in Africa.” I wasn’t allowed to feel sorry for myself. The good news is I was born with the happy gene. I’ve made a very good living. I’m happy and content.

Acting was always in your blood.

Acting was something I always wanted to do. I did change my mind a few times when I was younger. I wanted to be a detective at one point, and my grandmother encouraged it. Then my father told me it was a very dangerous profession for a young girl. After, all I wanted to do was go to RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). It was in my blood. My father was an impresario; my siblings were dancers; two of my aunts were on stage. It was very difficult to get in. My father said, ‘Fine, if you get in, you’ll be an actress.’ I you don’t get in, you’ll go to secretarial school, marry a nice man and have children.” I got into RADA.

Joan with Robin Leach

You’re a frequent visitor to Las Vegas.

I love doing Vegas, even if it’s just for a few days. My best friend lives in Vegas and I’m always happy to go there to see her. I loved doing my show in Vegas. What I do miss is seeing Robin Leach. I’d always see Robin when I came to Vegas. He was a lovely man. I do consider America my second home, by the way. I’ve been going there since I was 20.

Are you happy when you look back at your filmography?

I am happy, although there are a few clunkers in there. Everyone has clunkers. It’s part of the deal.

Do you ever lament aging?

I did start thinking about age when my sister, Jackie, died a few years ago, and once again when COVID entered our lives. I was confronted with my own mortality. You just have to push past negative thinking. Each day is a gift. I take care of myself, exercise and have a good attitude.

Joan with Jackie in Las Vegas

Looking back now, would you call “Dynasty” diva Alexis Carrington a feminist?

First, I must say I adored her, and she was such a fabulous character. Blake Carrington was not a very nice man even though everybody thought he was the hero. He was actually a killer and incredibly jealous and overly ambitious. Alexis, on the other hand, did a lot of things that men do and got away with it. She was a woman of the 1980s and got slammed for her feminism. Yes, she was ambitious, brilliant in business and used her power. What’s wrong with that? We’d say “good on that” if she were a man.

You mentioned doing a major closet cleaning. I’m imaging rows of silk blouses and blazers with giant shoulder pads and pencil skirts.

There are no Alexis outfits, alas. Most of them have gone away over the years. Not a shoulder pad in sight!

Do you ever recite old Alexis lines? Such as when she said to Blake, “Take this junk and your blond tramp and get out of my house!”

I do not, but those times were so much fun! So delicious, darling!