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JENNY ECLAIR: GOOD TELLY IS THE BEST MEDICINE

Camberwell comedian Jenny Eclair on why some good telly – or a turn on the dance floor at The Rivoli – is the best medicine

Have you had a holiday yet? I haven’t but a friend of mine has and, let’s just say, South America is not the ideal destination for a middle-aged female prone to hysteria. 

Basically, my chum, who shan’t be named (Judith), spent the entire month-long ‘adventure’ watching TV on her iPad to distract her from the worry of snakes, being mugged or kidnapped and strange folk wanting her to be a drugs mule.

From El Salvador to Nicaragua, she didn’t look up. Forget rain forests and volcanoes, the only thing she actually saw was Series 4 of Call the Midwife and The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special, which she had saved for a real emergency (ie a scorpion in the hotel room). Doctors take note – when patients come begging for a ‘little something to take the edge off their anxiety’, forget the tranquilizers, all the NHS needs to prescribe is some feel-good telly. A box set of Downton Abbey, say, or a few hours of Last Tango in Halifax.

My personal recommendations for TV valium include The Big Allotment Challenge, The Great British Sewing Bee and Glorious Gardens from Above, so anyone suffering from nerves or high blood pressure, do yourself a favour and check these out. Oh and if you’re choosing a holiday destination, look no further than Centre Parcs.

The Rivoli welcomes everyone who likes to cha-cha-cha. It’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be

Something else to check out is the Rivoli Ballroom, bang slap opposite Crofton Park railway station. This little south London gem of a place is an instant step back in time and justifiably prides itself on being London’s only surviving 1950s ballroom – all gold mirrors and red flock wallpaper.

The Rivoli is special not just for its faded retro glamour, but for its huge welcoming embrace for everyone and anyone who loves to cha-cha-cha. This is a place where you can be whoever you want to be.

The first Saturday night of every month (Jacky’s Jukebox) must be one of London’s friendliest mixed, straight and LBGT nights out with everything from Latin and ballroom to line dancing. Truly magical, it’s a bit like falling down your own private rabbit hole!

Talking of which, it’s 150 years since Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and there are various productions cropping up all over town. For south Londoners, your best ‘Alice experience’ might be at The Vaults under Waterloo Station (Alice’s Adventures Underground, 11 April), a labyrinth of tunnelled spaces that are gradually being used more and more for theatrical events.

The Vaults are cool, the Rivoli is cool and my latest book club recommendation, The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, is cool. The latter is a deeply unsettling book that would have completely sent my mate Judith over the edge had she’d taken it with her on holiday! As for me, I’m touring the country with Grumpy Old Women: Fifty Shades of Beige for the entire month of April. Tickets for a theatre near you (The Churchill Theatre, Bromley, is the closest to our neck of the woods) are ready and waiting for your purchase!

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