Byline: DANA BROOK
THE row between Esther Rantzen and her stepdaughter reached boiling point last week when The Mail on Sunday published the second part of her sensational autobiography.
In it, Esther claimed that Desmond Wilcox's first wife, Patsy, blamed her for the failure of that marriage and carried her bitterness to her grave in 1999, despite Esther's efforts to smooth things over. Patsy's daughter, Cassie, launched a fierce counterattack in the Daily Mail, accusing Esther of stealing Desmond from her mother and invading the marital home.
Here, in her first interview since the serialisation began, Esther talks of the emotional effect of the row and attempts to mend the relationship . . .
HERE, in a studio deep in the bowels of the BBC's London headquarters, Esther Rantzen is the undisputed-queen.
Dressed immaculately in a Ronit Zilkha silk shirt and skirt, spindly kitten heels and expensive costume jewellery she holds court - surrounded by guests and crew of her afternoon programme, Esther.
Only someone who had been on another planet for the past two weeks would be unaware of the bitter family row into which Esther has been catapulted following the serialisation of her autobiography in The Mail on Sunday. She has been vilified by her stepdaughter and pilloried by newspaper columnists - even journalists she regards as friends have questioned the wisdom of her revelations about Patsy Wilcox, her late husband Desmond's first wife and a former friend who took to her grave an implacable resentment of the woman she believed had 'stolen' her husband.
Yet to watch Esther on her afternoon TV show, you'd never know it.
Even today, when the surprise guest, yachtswoman Ellen Mac-Arthur, arrives at the last minute on …