Though Patience Collier's name has faded from public consciousness since her death in 1987, it still conjures cool memories of iconic television and film from the 1970s and 1980s – Sapphire and Steel, Who Pays the Ferryman, Fiddler on the Roof and The French Lieutenant's Woman. Fearsome, eccentric and unpredictable, Patience Collier was an actress whose perfectionism shone through in her every performance, and who worked alongside many of the most celebrated actors and directors of her time.
Drawing on material from Collier's extensive archive of diaries, letters and photographs as well as interviews with many of those who worked with her (including Joanna Lumley, Zoë Wanamaker and Timothy West), The Performer's Tale paints an involving portrait of a gifted and eccentric woman weaving her way through the twentieth century, mixing with artists, leftists, and numerous figures from world of entertainment. But Vanessa Morton also offers a panoramic overview of theatre, film, TV and radio in Britain over half a century. Part social history, part cultural history, The Performer's Tale is a richly entertaining account of an actor's life and times.