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David Tennant will be starring in comedy drama 'Learners' on Sunday 11th November - he plays a driving instructor, and Jessica Hynes stars as Bev, a downtrodden housewife who has failed 8 driving tests (and develops a crush on David's character).

I'm a journalist (Company, MSN Motoring) and both lively and well-informed on this topic – I’m available to write related features, provide expert quotes or offer myself as a case history for a related feature (It took me 23 years to pass my own driving test (finally did it at 40, now 43) and it inspired me to write my book The Girls’ Guide to Losing Your L Plates – how to pass your driving test published by Simon and Schuster. Here’s an extract covering Driving Instructors to Avoid (including The Critic, The Short-Changer and the Lech)

I’d be very happy to chat about the difficulties both genders can have passing their test (though men do actually take fewer lessons than women (36 as opposed to 52) - and pass quicker (1.8 goes rather than 2.1) (Department of Transport study, 2004). However, men do commit 97% of all dangerous driving offences - so women make safer drivers in the long term.

Could also tell a few driving-test-related stories as well (my favourite being the woman who was so nervous on her first driving test she accidentally put her front door key in the car ignition - it jammed and the test had to be cancelled!

Contact details for Maria McCarthy – 07799527974 or mail me via my website


Being able to drive is a wonderful thing. Actually passing your driving test on the other hand can be a daunting business. A lucky few breeze through after a handful of lessons. However according to a Department of Transport study, women on average have 52 lessons (the figure for men was 36) and take about 14 months before they gain their licence.

Finally we have The Girls’ Guide to Losing Your L Plates, a fresh and stylish alternative to the traditional dry guides. This book tackles the emotional as well as the practical side of taking your driving test and is essential reading for every wannabe on wheels.
Maria McCarthy offers advice on how to find a good instructor, budget for lessons and how to get the most from them. She investigates driving test myths such as ‘you should set your mirror slightly off so it’s really obvious that you’re looking in it’ and reveals if there’s any truth in them. The guide also contains hints for the hapless parent/boyfriend who may have got roped in to accompanying you on practice drives and how to keep your relationship from cracking under the strain. What’s more, driving instructors have added off-the-record information about the easiest places to pass and the best ways to win over your examiner.

The Theory Test is explained in full and on top of that Maria provides guidance on managing nerves, driving alone or at night, the best car insurance and that essential chapter just in case you don’t, at first, succeed.

The Girls’ Guide to Losing Your L Plates is a deeply practical and witty guide to learning to drive, which is guaranteed to make the experience exciting and fun.

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