‘Evenings with . . .” can be desultory or pompous affairs — self-serving and often self-demeaning. Friday’s Playhouse event was never going to be like that: the guest was writer and broadcaster Joan Bakewell, and a good-sized audience enjoyed 75 minutes of sensible insight, wise counsel and memories of an impressive career.

Questioned urbanely by Mark Damazer (former BBC mandarin, now Master of St Peter’s), Bakewell spoke on many subjects in that conversational style she developed co-presenting Late Night Line Up from 1965 onwards. In a well-choreographed beginning, she gave her comments on others born the same year as she (unbelievably, 1933).

So — Yoko Ono: “An eccentric view of the world”; Philip Roth: “I read him but spend no money on him”; Michael Aspel: “A young, charming chaser of women — not me!”; Mohamed Al-Fayed: “100 per cent monster”. She remembered David Attenborough (BBC2 boss) warning the LNLU team that he’d “noticed the smell of herbal tobacco drifting from your studio”, made Damazer twitch by referring to present-day BBC management as “dense with contradictions” and recalled her surprise at Harold Pinter (with whom she’d had an affair) not changing identifiable details of places they had shared when he wrote the play Betrayal.

Still a firm feminist, Bakewell respects how Katie Price has taken control of her life — but asks why she’s taken it in such trashy directions. She would never censor, but abhors the way elements of the porn industry take over lives. She repeated her well-rehearsed and impressive thoughts on how society still hasn’t taken fully on board the implications of the fast-growing demographic of the elderly.

The session ended with audience questions deftly dealt with. I had been worried when Baroness Bakewell mentioned, in self-deprecatory fashion, Judi Dench’s advice on how dangerous it is to “move into the cemetery of reputation and become a national treasure”; but she pulled the stunt off marvellously.