The Oldie's facelift, George Weidenfeld, Bowie and Penguin spoofs
This issue focuses on the annual Oldie of the Year Awards, our more glamorous version of the Oscars, in which we celebrate the energy and achievements of people in the twilight of their lives. This year the principal award is shared by Olivia de Havilland, the famous Hollywood actress and sole surviving star of Gone with the Wind, and Jeremy Hutchinson (Baron Hutchinson of Lullington), the immensely distinguished lawyer. They both retain remarkable vitality and enterprise, although their ages, added together, span two centuries. Lord Hutchinson will be 101 in March, Olivia de Havilland 100 in July.
The greater longevity and good health that many old people now enjoy means that every year there are more and more plausible candidates for Oldie awards, and the choice for the judges gets increasingly difficult. It sometimes feels as if the young stand more in need of encouragement. The statistics help to explain why. The number of centenarians in Britain has more than quadrupled in the past thirty years, and in 2014 there were more than half a million people here aged ninety or over. In the same year, there were estimated to be 780 Britons aged 105 or more, twice the number ten years earlier.