Monday 26 February 2007


In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph, actor Richard Griffith was whinging about his fans, telling interviewer, Nigel Farndale: "I'm not interested in the casual interest of strangers… I hate the odious business of sucking up to the public. I hate it."

Now, I have no problem with actors wanting to maintain a private side to their life, but I am bored to distraction with people like Griffiths who want us to feel sorry for them because of the interest shown in them by the very public without whose applause, adulation and affection -- not to mention payments for theatre tickets -- they would not be enjoying their treasured ‘star status’.

It is tedious and tiresome…

The airheads and crack-heads of the pop world or the catwalk may not know better, but an actor of Griffith’s stature and experience certainly should…

I have never forgotten a conversation I had many years ago now with the late Dame Thora Hird. I had the privilege of writing several radio scripts for Thora and on this particular occasion we had just had lunch in a hotel restaurant near Broadcasting House.

As we were crossing the lobby, the girl behind the reception desk rushed over and asked Thora if she could possibly have an autograph for her mum who was one of her biggest fans.

“Of course you can, love,” said Thora. Handing me her walking stick (she had just had a hip replacement) she rootled about in her handbag, found a photograph, chatted with the girl, asked the mum’s name, signed and handed over the picture.

Then we walked out of the hotel and were on the point of crossing the road when a black cab screeched to a halt in front of us. Winding down his window, the cabby bawled out: “Thora Hird! Saw you on the telly on Sunday! You’re a bloody wonder!”

Thora laughed. “Thank you cabby!” she shouted back with a triumphant wave of her walking stick.

A few yards further on, just as we were about to enter Broadcasting House, Thora was accosted by a bunch of youngsters who were encamped outside the nearby entrance to Radio 1 in the hopes of spotting any arriving or departing pop stars, but who now came rushing over to get the autograph of a woman old enough to be their granny.

I did walking stick duty once again until everyone had been spoken to and had their autograph.

When we finally made it inside the building and were traveling up in the lift, I asked: “How do cope? Don’t you ever get tired of all that attention, of people being so demanding?”

“You listen to me, young man,” said Thora, giving me a dig with the walking stick, “those are the people who put me where I am and who have kept me there! How else should I treat them?

Pity Thora’s no longer with us, she could have told Richard Griffiths a thing or two!


David Weeks said...

she could have told Richard Griffiths a thing or "two!"

Too right

Anonymous said...

Lovely story Brian. They may be acting out roles, but in the end, maybe a part of their own personality is present in each of their roles... A certain Swelter springs to mind...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Thank you for leaving a comment and very gratful for you attending the show and your kind words.

All the best to you!

Anonymous said...

I have seen Thora Hird on stage and on TV and think she was such a funny actress, her comic timing was superb. And although I never met her, from what I read her write and others write about her, she was an admirable woman.
Richard Griffiths is of course Uncle Vernon so that says it all. I saw one of those "special feature" things that said he'd not read the HP books, enough said.
He also, famously, tells off members of the audience at his plays if their mobile phones go off, so he can't be all bad, I suppose!

Good Dog said...


Richard Griffiths must have enjoyed having to climb out the theatre window because of the fans swarming about the stage door.

Disappointed to see the lovely Jenny Agutter had to do the same. She's got it all wrong. All these years I've been waiting for her to climb in through my bedroom window.

Peter Emmerich said...

Bravo Darling, wonderful story, wonderful post!

Brian Sibley said...

Peter! Lovely to hear from you! Have sent you various e-mails, but they always BOUNCE! :-(

Congratulations of the new Disney stamps! FAB!!