A Guide to Modern Manners with Mary Killen

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Across four very entertaining and very useful lectures, Mary Killen of the Spectator magazine, and more recently, Gogglebox star, gives the lowdown on how to behave at cocktail parties and dinner parties, along with advice on romance and conversation.

Mary’s ‘Guide to Modern Manners’ is designed for anyone, guest or host, who tends to feel anxious about party-going and party-giving. Armed with Mary’s tricks and tips, social anxiety will be a thing of the past.

Among other issues, Mary, the UK’s acknowledged expert on social etiquette, gives advice on escaping bores, remembering names, having fun on a budget, how to find love, the importance of kindness, timings and much more besides. Here is twenty years of study crystallised into four amusing and informative lectures.

“Having good manners boils down to treating others as you would like to be treated yourself,” says Mary. “You throw your civility and kindness on the water, and it comes back to you. Everyone is happier. I want to help you to enjoy your life.”

When you buy the course, you are given access to four half hour lectures which you may watch as many times as you like. Mary’s pupils will also receive four sets of printable revision notes which give key reminders of points covered in the course. And they will enjoy access to our community forums, where they may put questions to Mary or share tips with other students.


Part One: Drinks Parties

Mary tells us how both how to give the perfect drinks party and how to behave at them. She offers tips on how to escape people, how not too expect too much, and how to put people at their ease. Length: 28’17”.

Part Two: Dinner Parties

In which Mary gives fantastic advice on timings, guests, serving order, who to talk to and when, and more. Length: 32’03”.

Part Three: House Parties

The complete lowdown on house parties, including etiquette around tipping, wi-fi and other thorny issues. Length: 35’23”.

Part Four: Romance, Flattery and Conversation

On the art of finding love in the modern world, plus the importance of kindness. Length: 22’17”.

About the tutor

Mary Killen grew up in a medical household in Provincial Northern Ireland with surgery attached. Unable to train as a medic herself due to an inability to understand physics, chemistry or biology, she found she missed the traffic of patients through the home when she grew up and went to live in Chelsea.  Consequently she began problem solving and soon became the Spectator’s agony aunt “Dear Mary” specialising in social dilemmas, a position she has held for over two decades.  During this time she has also been a columnist on The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, The Lady, Harpers & Queen, Marie Claire and Tatler (not all at the same time).She is married to the artist Giles Wood and has two daughters. She has written several books including Best Behaviour: the Tatler Guide to Alternative Etiquette (Random House), Dear Mary. The Spectator Book of Solutions (Harper Collins), Dear Mary: your problems solved (Constable), How to live with your husband (Heinemann), and How the Queen can make you happy (Elliott & Thompson).