Here, in the concluding part, he tells of his mother’s darkest days and why, we’ve Got To Fight – Cathy Dennis – Into The Skyline a while, he abandoned her. Mummy says we have to leave England. She says Labour has it in for rich people.

We’re going back to Los Angeles, which makes me cry. Exorbitant wealth taxes were draining away what money my mother had left. An opportunity was opening up for her second husband, my stepfather Ron Kass in Los Angeles with Atlantic Records. I’m just trying to earn a crust! I knew nothing of my mother’s real troubles and vulnerabilities. She had succeeded in shielding me from the problems she was facing. Although I longed for her affection, I could only mirror back to her the lack of affection I felt.

I didn’t know it then, but it was the same withholding she felt from casting directors. Her first months back in Tinseltown after five years away were a demeaning nightmare. She soon realised her time in England had damaged her prospects. Nothing she had done in London had registered on the Hollywood radar and her previous successes of the 1950s were long forgotten. In the mid-1970s, Hollywood had entered another Golden Age, but one utterly without glamour. Her agent advised her to lop off a few years and take whatever she was offered. Hutch and Police Woman, and then a more upmarket gig on The Bing Crosby Show.

This was followed by a favour from Bob Hope, whose televised variety show gave her a brief purchase in the Monday night line-up. She was like a character in one of her sister Jackie’s novels: a gutsy survivor looking for the big break in all the wrong places. Joan was about to do something unthinkable: go down to the unemployment office. On the way there, she considered an extreme solution to her financial problem: settle for a smaller house, put the kids in state school, let the nanny and the maid go. There was no point in living if she couldn’t live large. In the queue at the unemployment office, she struggled to stay positive. The line was full of unspeakable people.