Scottish comedy favourite Janey Godley to relive traumatic upbringing in TV interview

Scottish comedy favourite Janey Godley is to relive her traumatic upbringing in a TV interview - in which she also reveals she is writing a novel which will be partly set in her native Glasgow in the 1970s.

Janey Godley will be the first guest on the new series of The Big Scottish Book Club when it returns on Sunday. Picture: Robert Pereia Hind
Janey Godley will be the first guest on the new series of The Big Scottish Book Club when it returns on Sunday. Picture: Robert Pereia Hind

Godley, who revealed she has been writing her debut novel at home during the extended coronavirus lockdown this year, has provided daily doses of hilarity to Scots this year with her voiceovers of Nicola Sturgeon’s coronavirus briefings.

But in her forthcoming TV appearance she describes what it was like living with a mother with epilepsy, a gambling habit and addiction problems, as well an acoholic father.

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Godley also recalls the impact of the child abuse she suffered at the hands of her uncle and how she helped put him behind bars by giving evidence against him in court.

Damian Barr will be interviewing Janey Godley when The Big Scottish Book Club returns for a new series. Picture: Robert Pereia Hind

Godley, who revealed that part of her debut novel will also be set in modern-day Glasgow, will appearing in the The Big Scottish Book Club when it returns to the BBC Scotland channel at 10pm on Sunday.

She tells how she had used her experiences in her stand-up shows long before the trend for “confessional comedy.”

Recalling the influence her mother Annie had on her, Godley said: “She was definitely a character. She was this thin whip of a wummin’, she would dance to Hollywood films and she had dreams of the everyday housewife that never came true.

“In real life, she was traumatised. She was always in debt, she was always telling lies.

“She ended up in a mental hospital a few times – that’s what it was called then. She had epilepsy and fell about a few times. Once she put her feet in the fire and nearly burnt to death. She had quite a tragic life, but she had big dreams.

“I had a very good dad. I didn’t know he was an alcoholic till he told me he was. He held down a job and he loved my mammy.

“But my mum had created so many lies. I don't know what she did with the money. They should have been okay.

“I just think she never got to live the life that she wanted. Like many women back then, if they had emotional problems they weren’t allowed a nervous breakdown. She just lived her life on tablets. To this day I still have a problem trying to swallow a tablet because it reminds me of her.”

Godley recalls how the uncle that abuse her as a child was “always lurking around” the family home.

She added: “I used to drag my legs going home thinking: ‘Please don’t let him be there.’ And of course he was there a lot. He put me though a whole range of emotions and abuse.

"People always say: ‘When you go through abuse like that do you spend the rest of your life exhaling and forgiving?’ Naw, I hated him every day of my life. When he died I got up and opened up a wee bottle of gin and had a drink.

"When you’re a child and you’re scared to go home and you know what a man is going to do to you, you don’t spend the rest of your life drawing rainbows, making macrame and having healing sessions.”

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