Actress Carol Drinkwater is probably best known for her role as Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. Also an accomplished novelist, she has achieved bestselling status with her much-loved memoirs of life on an olive farm in Provence.

Carol has been invited to work with UNESCO to help found an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean Basin. The aim is to create peace within the region and honour the heritage of this sacred tree.


What were the first pieces of writing that you produced?

I had an article published in a girls’ magazine – I can’t remember its name – when I was ten or eleven. It related an embarrassing experience at a dance. For this I received a five-shilling postal order. I was so overwhelmed when the letter arrived with the payment. I can still see myself staring proudly at that money order. Aside from that I kept copious diaries and notebooks and I collected words and phrases that I liked the sound of in a big green book.

What jobs did you have before you started writing?

I was – still am – an actress. So years of working in theatres and on film sets. When I was a drama student, I had a series of part-time jobs. The longest stint was as a waitress in a French bistro in Belsize Park.

What is your philosophy for life?

Live life to the full. I try to treat those I love well, telling them ‘I love you’ regularly and showering them with presents, particularly music. Each night before I close my eyes I run through the day and remind myself of all the miracles I have encountered. I try to tell the truth – the birds’ nests growing on Pinocchio’s nose scarred me for life!

Who do you most admire and why?

Writers, artists, such as the Argentinian Jorges Luis Borges who continue to create no matter what obstacles they encounter.