Bideford author reveals BBC abuse

Phillippa Leslie-Benson is hoping to inspire others with her tale of hope and adventure. Pic: Tony F

Phillippa Leslie-Benson is hoping to inspire others with her tale of hope and adventure. Pic: Tony Freeman. - Credit: Archant

Former BBC employee tells all in her new book detailing abuse, a violent marriage and addiction.

A BIDEFORD author has written ‘a tale of adventure and survival’ detailing the abuse she endured while working at the BBC and her later battle with addiction.

Phillippa Leslie-Benson, of Bideford, said the abuse she and her female colleagues were subjected to when she worked at the corporation during the 1960s was rife.

“The kind of abuse we tolerated at that time would never be acceptable now but we learnt to live with it,” she said.

Phillippa, who is now retired, said it was mostly verbal abuse she endured but the attitude at the time was to ‘just get on with it’.


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“If it became too heavy we would just avoid contact with the perpetrators whenever possible,” she said.

“You couldn’t really report anything sexual back then; it wouldn’t have been taken seriously.

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“If you had reported anything you would have been hauled up in court; it would have been harrowing.”

Phillippa later went on to experience three difficult marriages and battled with addiction which led to her quest to discover more about her family history.

In her new book, Far From Plain Sailing, Phillippa talks about her often harrowing experiences.

She said: “I think it helps to read of other peoples problems and relate them to one’s own position, if for no other reason than realising it is not just you.”

She first started writing the book with the help of playwright Richard Harris as a possible television or film script.

But after Richard retired from writing for television Phillippa continued telling her tale which has now taken the form of her ‘tell all’ book.

Although scarred by the experiences, Phillippa is now desperate to help others in the same situation.

“It’s not a book on how to overcome addiction but a book to encourage people through very difficult times and build their lives again,” she said.

As well as revealing the abuse and violence in her marriage, Phillippa, who has four daughters and nine grandchildren, also tells a tale of hope.

The book talks about her adventures through South Africa during apartheid, and the discovery of her family roots in Scotland.

In a bid to help others, Phillippa has also had her book placed in the libraries of women’s prisons such as Holloway in London.

“As so much crime is fuelled by alcohol or drugs this was very important to me to tell my tale and I hope to get it into more prisons in the future,” she said.

Far From Plain Sailing is available in Waterstones or Barnes & Noble, and is also available in paperback or on Kindle from Amazon.

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