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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

PLASTIC EAR

It’s been a peculiar year. Up and downs. I’ve done a few talks, some more successful than others. Sold a few books. The N.E.C. in Birmingham was a minor triumph also my talk at the Seattle Hotel in Brighton Marina. Tuesday is my Skype to an audience in Edinburgh, who would have just watched Cathy Come Home, for a Q\A session then on Saturday off to Barnet to sell a few books, photos and CD’s.

But apart from the above, it seems the rest of my time has been going to hospitals. Firstly it’s been my left eye which was diagnosed  as having a condition called Macular Degeneration. The treatment sounds horrific, they have inject a needle into my eye. That hasn’t, and it’s not over yet, been great fun.

Secondly. in my left ear there appears to be a small Triffid that seems to have taken up residence.

Off I go to the Dermatology Clinic.

‘Yes.‘ they say examining my ear. ‘It’s a Keratoacanthoma, a Scaphoid Fossa in your Pina.’ 
‘What??’
‘You’ll need a skin graft.’
‘Oh.‘sounds nasty.
‘We’ll take the replacement skin from you neck.’
‘Why? Why don’t you take off my bum, there’s more fat down there? The needle won’t hurt as much.’
‘No, the neck skin will match the colour tone in your ear.’


Match the colour tone in my ear! Who cares? I certainly don’t care if the tone is red or pink. Just get rid of that bloody Triffid!         

Monday, 15 September 2014

MADNESS

My wife, Sadie, watched 10 Rillington Place on TV the other night. I saw it when it first came out. I didn’t like the subject matter. Loathed it. I remember thinking why the hell did they make it.?

The next day I asked her why on earth did Richard Attenborough play the murderer Christie?

 ‘Because‘ she said. ‘He didn’t believe in Capital Punishment.’

‘Well, did he play Christie sympathetically, then?’

‘No, he didn’t.’

I was confused. ‘So, why did he do the film, then?’

‘Because of Timothy Evans (John Hurt) who was hung when he didn’t kill his wife and Christie was the main witness.’

A lot of our conversations are very like a Pinter play.

I remembered that I’d been asked by William Friedkin to play Ian Brady in a film adaption of the book Beyond Belief about the Moors Murderers.

Now, unlike Attenborough, I turned it down. I thought it was exploitation. It wouldn’t have changed anything. Also I would have hated it.

But it was never made because it was discovered that in some States of America Brady and Hindley could have sued for Deformation of Character! Defamation of Character?

If they hadn’t hung Christie and left him to rot in prison, he could have sued and they would never would have made 10 Rillington Place.


It’s a crazy world.       

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

PEOPLE

On a weekly basis people talk to me about Mr Benn, I order a coffee or a beer and they’re off. Crazy when you think about it. I started recording thirteen in 1968 and finished them eighteen months later. But ’68 to 2014? My voice must have changed but it doesn’t seem to stop them.

Now another old favourite (of mine) has crawled out of the woodwork. Big Deal. That has emerged on the recognition stakes.

Last week, wheeling my youngest granddaughter Grace around a fairground, both dizzy from a few turns on the Carrousel. a bloke runs over to me.

‘It’s you!‘ he screams. Grace goes loopy. ‘Robbie Box!. My favourite TV programme.’

I had to peel him off me before he went through all the plots quoting all the dialogue.

The other day having a coffee outside (no Grace), a bloke sits down next to me. ‘Hi, Ray.‘ he says.

I don’t know him from Adam but I smile politely.

‘Big Deal.‘ he says. ‘That set me off. I’m a professional gambler now.’

He told me that he plays at poker tables three times a week. ‘Won 90,000 dollars  on on-line gambling. He went on and on about his achievements. ‘I studied to be a croupier. Two of my pals on that course have done well for themselves. One has a casino in Sun City and three in this country. The other is a professional card counter. Blackjack. Made a fortune.’

Then a pal of his turned up and I slipped off. I think I prefer Mr Benn people to certain Big Deal freaks.

Now a strange request arrived. In an Edinburgh cinema, on the 30th of this month, they are showing Cathy Come Home to sponsors of a homeless charity. They want to Skype me for a Q&A session with the audience. If anyone’s reading this, I wonder if you’ve ever used this way of communication? I have and it’s like talking to men on the Moon.

The other stumbling block might be that the Scottish people are voting on independence before this Skype business. If the ‘Yes‘ voters get their way, what new rules will they bring in?

They might block Skyping from over the border.


I’ll have to wait and see.