Still bats about each other

By admin
12 November 2010

From outside the grey double-storey house looks like any other home in Westdene, Johannesburg, but the interior holds a treasure-trove of items collected during a lifetime of travel and fun.

It’s the home of Paul (71) and Judy (47) Ditchfield, top entertainers who between them have kept audiences singing, smiling and enthralled for more than 50 years.

Judy, an actress since 1984, is best known as Isidingo busybody Stella Fouché; singer-songwriter-actor Paul rose to fame in the ’60s in the pop group The Bats, has presented TV shows such as Revue Plus and Video 2 and was recently seen in soap Scandal!.

The house, which they bought 23 years ago, is shared with their younger son Tom (14), four corgis, a cockatiel and an African grey parrot.

‘‘We don’t entertain often but we have family over quite a bit,’’ Judy says. ‘‘It’s a house where people can put their feet up. We’re not fancy people.’’

Judy was eight when she first saw Paul, who was already a star. She and her sisters went to a Bats performance and wrote to him asking him to write a song for them. Paul remembered that letter years later when he and Judy started dating.

By the time they met properly Paul was twice divorced and Judy was starting out as an actress. They met in the canteen at Durban’s Playhouse Theatre and were engaged nine months later.

The 24-year-old actress was suddenly stepmom to Paul’s three children from a previous marriage – the eldest of them just a year younger than her.

‘‘There’s almost 25 years between us and people said we wouldn’t last longer than six months,’’ Judy says. To which Paul responds jokingly, ‘‘She’s getting a bit old now. Time for a change.’’

They’ve worked together a few times over the years but aren’t keen to do so again. ‘‘It’s better not to work together,’’ Judy says. ‘‘We’re quite critical of each other and end up fighting.’’

Read all about this talented couple in YOU, 18 November 2010.

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