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Bibliographical Information
Jenkins's's's's's, The – Wales's First Family
Chris Needs
ISBN: 9781847711069 (1847711065)Publication Date November 2008
Publisher: Y Lolfa, Tal-y-bont
Edited by Haydn Price Illustrated by Mark DaviesFormat: Paperback, 215x140 mm, 192 pages Language: English Available Our Price: £9.95 
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A humorous account of a dysfunctional family from the Welsh valleys, as heard on Chris Needs' BBC Radio Wales show. Seen through the diaries of the matriarch of Wales' first family, our Gladys. Follow them from their humble beginnings in their valley community of Ponty Pantin to the sun kissed Mumbles Bay and foreign parts (including Western Super Mare).

Stori ddigrif am deulu â thrafferthion o gymoedd de Cymru, yn seiliedig ar sioe radio ar raglen Chris Needs, BBC Radio Wales. Ysgrifennwyd ar ffurf dyddiadur Gladys, sef mam y teulu. Dilynwch eu hanes o Ponty Pantin i Fae Mwmbwls a mwynhewch helyntion digri un o deuluoedd enwocaf Cymru ...
This is without doubt a book to share – whether it be over a few pints or with the lads and ladettes or a drop of vino after the kids are nicely tucked up in bed. Needs' coarse but indisputable humour vibrates (literarily) through the pages of the novel, the diaries of a Welsh matriarch from the Valleys who rather questionably sees the world of her extended family through what surely be a pair of thick-lensed rose-tinted spectacles.

The diaries take the reader through a year when mother Gladys manages to take the family on a rather dubious holiday to the Caribbean: 'We are flying from Jatwick, very posh. Anyway I've done the jam sandwiches ready for take-off and 10 flasks of tea as well. We can't wait, mind you we've never been to the Caribbean before, so we've taken all precautions; woollies, thermals, gloves and Idwal's oil-filled radiator.'

Idwal is . . . 'the old man upstairs. We're not really sure of his age and I don't think he is either.' Idwal marries Netty, an American millionairess several years his junior but still 75. Netty is convinced she is pregnant, so Gladys gives her a ferret with a bonnet, who then attends a private school! Gladys moves the family into Netty's mansion in the Mumbles while the happy couple go to live in the family's council house in Ponty Pantin.

So the romp continues: Dad Dai with his bad back, son Philll in his leathers, daughter Shantelll in her pelmet-sized skirt – ‘Philll came into the house and asked our Shantelll, "When's Mother's Day?" Shantelll said, "Nine months after Father's Day, love." She's always been good with dates. Her Spanish husband Paco wants her to go upstairs for a siesta, but she told him straight, "It's a Vauxhall or nothing."’

Reminiscent of the Barbara Windsor/Sid James crew in the Carry On films, Needs' characters are quintessentially British, as is the somewhat smutty sense of humour. Not to everyone's taste, but I found myself chuckling continuously and it certainly has the feel-good factor – but don't ask me why! Another glass of sangria perhaps.

Norma Penfold

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Author Biography:
Chris Needs - M.B.E. Radio Presenter and actor, Stage performer and piano teacher. Compere and figurehead of a registered charity. School music teacher and accomplished classical pianist. Raconteur and award-winning show business personality.

He became Touch AM's most popular presenter and moved a few years ago to BBC Radio Wales. Having hosted an immensely popular afternoon show, he has now moved to present the late show, and has single-handedly taken his slot to the top.

In the 2005 new year's honours list, Chris was announced as MBE for his services to broadcasting and charity in Wales. He received the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace in June 2005.
Further Information:
Here is a year in the life of the famous Chris Needs creation, the Jenkins's's's's's family, seen through the diaries of the matriarch of Wales' first family, our Gladys. Follow them from their humble beginnings in their valley community of Ponty Pantin to the sun kissed Mumbles Bay and foreign parts (including Western Super Mare). Relax and enjoy the hilarious escapades of this larger than life Welsh Valleys family.

*This book contains some humour that may offend - for adults only.*

The revealing autobiography, Like It Is, published in 2007 by Y Lolfa told of Chris’s traumatic childhood, his showbiz and charity career as an accomplished pianist and vocalist, and his life more recently as an all-round celebrity.

However, this book is a completely different kettle of fish. In her riotous, humour-filled diaries, Gladys tells of her struggle to keep the family’s crazy, mixed-up lives together. Mam’s task isn’t easy though. Her husband Dai is work-shy, son Philllip has a handbag, daughter Shantelll is preggers and dog Christopher – or is it Christine? – has had puppies. Just as well Elsie next door is accommodating – she agreed to an adjoining door so they only pay one TV licence.

Follow the family from their humble beginnings in the valley community of Ponty Pantin to the sun-kissed Mumbles Bay and foreign parts (including Western Super Mare). Crammed full of outrageous valleys humour, this is an ideal Christmas treat for all of Chris’s fans – and anyone else who needs a good laugh. The book is illustrated with eye-catching colour cartoons by Mark Davies.

Chris Needs is a much loved radio presenter with a high profile thanks to his popular weeknight music and chat show on BBC Radio Wales. His cult fan club ‘The Garden’ has over 40,000 members worldwide.
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