News of the World Article, July 12th, 1981 by Noele Gordon
I couldn't sleep at night, only in the daytime. My whole system was topsy-turvey. Mr Television, Val Parnell,
had told me he was in love with someone else.
Alone and unloved, I was on the point of collapse and I went into a London nursing home. Val came to see me, but
there was no dramatic reconciliation - not at that stage, anyway. All that his visit did was to produce another unexpected
"My wife Helen and I are back together," he announced calmly. "I realised I've behaved disgracefully in going off
with Aileen Cochrane the way I did. I'm going to make amends and but Helen a new apartment in Bayswater where we will
be together as we used to be."
I was distraught. There was nothing left to live for. Any hope that I ever had of Val and I getting back
together was now gone. Once again, I'd become to all-time loser. Somehow I found the strength to carry on.
I learned to be a survivir.
I lfet the nursing home and plunged headlong into an entirely new career working to put commercial television on the
Val and Lew Grade had come up with a promised job for me with their original Associated Broadcasting Development Company.
This had been given the ITV licence to operate at weekends in London and on weekdays in Birmingham.
In the early days of commercial television Val had become deeply involved with his great Sunday Night At The London Palladium
TV shows, bringing over some top American performers.
I still saw him for the occasional business lunch; and at one of them he suggested, to my amazement, that we resume our
relationship. But that wasn't all. He went on to say that he would like me to become friendly with his wife, who
was now prepared to accept me as the 'other woman' in his life.
I was utterly flabbergasted. After I'd got my breath back I asked him what had brought all this about.
"I just can't carry on without you darling," he replied. "I've talked with Helen, and after all the rows about
you she finally understands that I need you both in my life."
At first I coudn't really take in what he was saying. It all seemed very Somerset Maugham. But I was still
in love with him, and willing to accept any proposal he put to me, no matter how unconventional, if it meant I could
once more be in his arms.
"If I mean so much to you and that's what you want, darling, what can I do?" I said.
On my next visit to London I was asked to dinner at the Parnells. During the evening Helen took me aside and said:
"Val is a wonderful man. We both love him dearly. If this is what he wants then let's try to make him happy.
He's been good to both of us. I'm prepared to accept you as his mistress if you're prepared to accept me as his wife.
"Let's help him spend the last years of his life without more rows or dramas; just peace and quiet is what he wants."
We kissed and shook hands. From then on I was to share the man I loved with his wife. Not that I saw much
of him. I was busy working on my TV shows in the Midlands and only came to London at weekends.
Neither Val nor Lew took much interest in what was happening in Birmingham, but I was always a welcome visitor in Val
and Helen's Bayswater apartment. In several of his many letters to me in New York, Val had told me that the granting
of a TV franchise would bring with it the prospect of enormous tax-free capital gains for the original participants.
Val held a powerful and responsible position with Moss Empires but he was never a rich man. When others held back,
he and Lew took a great chance, risking everything they had including their own show-business careers by embarking on the
launching of a television company.