Petticoat Line



Anona Winn


Permanent panellist: Renée Houston


BBC Home Service, 9 January 1965 - 21 January 1976 (about 260 episodes)


Women-only version of The Brains Trust where discussions included listeners' letters dealing with the problems and comments on women's views on men. More light-hearted than The Brains Trust (though not outright comedic like Does the Team Think?), a lot of its popularity can be credited to former music hall star Renee Houston, who was a bit like the Miriam Margolyes of her day: a loose cannon and adored by the audience for that reason.


The first edition comprised of Renee Houston, Marjorie Proops, Jill Adams and Jane Asher, while subsequent panellists included Dame Barbara Cartland, Baroness Summerskill, Fanny Cradock, Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, Baroness Stocks, Isobel Barnett and Beryl Reid.

The 1968-9 series had a really badly-titled spin-off, Be Reasonable! which, if we're being charitable, you could possibly argue was a forerunner to the "fanzine" shows of today. Billed as "a male reply to Petticoat Line", it discussed the same topics and the original panel's response to them. Michael Smee was the chairman, and Humphrey Lyttelton the one permanent panellist.


Anona Winn and Ian Messiter.


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