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Photos taken from the "Danger Man" episode, "A Date With Doris", one of three I did with Patrick. See the reviews section for information on "The Prisoner".

18 January 2009

Like so many people I was deeply saddened and surprised to learn of Patrick McGoohan’s death. He seemed such a strong man, I had a feeling he would live a very, very long time. But there. He was one of only two really powerful and thrilling actors that I have ever worked with, the other being Peter O’Toole. One could make a real connection with both these actors and interestingly, that’s not always as usual as one would expect, or it should be. In fact I would say, one is extremely lucky to work with any actor, with whom one can really engage in the work.

When I was first asked to appear in an episode of ‘Danger Man’, I was told Patrick was ‘difficult’, ‘did not like’ or ‘get on with actresses’ and that I would not enjoy the experience. This was all tosh and I loved every minute of acting with him. Provided you were prepared and willing to ‘seize the moment’, it was as thrilling as riding a roller coaster.

Patrick was professional, completely focused and working with him became more than acting, it became an experience. It is the only way I can describe it. I think he brought out some of my best work, although the material was highly commercial and in the case of ‘The Prisoner’ to a large extent incomprehensible. I am glad that Patrick never fully explained the series and left it to so many ‘intellectuals’ to explain it. But they never did and he left us with a completely mystical series, which only he understood. Thank you Patrick. And thank you too for the pleasure of working with you.

So now we are well on to our way into a new year, with no apparent end in sight to our financial struggles, which begin to feel more and more like ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ – completely incomprehensible and with all sorts of characters, who behave very strangely. Lord Birkenhead said of Stanley Baldwin “He simply takes one jump in the dark; looks around and then takes another one”. Sound like else anyone we know?

Well, I’d better stop all that, or this blog will turn into something it’s not supposed to be.

Awards season is coming up and I am busy running to all the screenings, which are so much fun and very interesting. I am sure you will all see ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, a wonderful film and so much for our times, without being political in any way. It is a delightful, even handed film, full of images to remind us all how we in the West are so lucky to have been born where we were. ‘Milk’ is marvelous, as is ‘Frost/Nixon’. Some terrific films seem to been overlooked in the BAFTA nominations the delightful ‘Happy–Go-Lucky, ‘Burn After Reading’ and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’. But there are many excellent films this year, so the competition is hot.

I will be doing a ‘back end’ interview this week for the about to be re-released ‘African Queen’ on DVD. This extraordinary film has not been released on DVD thus far, can you believe it? Needless to say I shall be talking about Katharine Hepburn – always a genuine pleasure.

I saw an outstanding play yesterday at the National Theatre ‘August –Osage County’. This was a play was written for the remarkable American Steppenwolf Chicago based company, by Tracy Letts. It is a play on the subject that the Americans do so well – families and their dramas, written with love and wit. Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller were the cutting edge writers of their time on this subject, although both those writers did not find the mirth and entertainment that more modern writers find in the subject. Maybe this is due, to some extent to the advent of television. It is good that we seem to have reached a stage where we can ‘swap’ productions between the US and the UK.

I do seem to go on a lot about the US, but I suppose it is because it is close to my heart, since my nearest and dearest live there. However I cannot let this blog go by, without mentioning the Inauguration of the next President, Barack Obama. Many hopes are riding on him and many impossible expectations. Jane
But I feel sure he will do well and think nothing, but good thoughts for his success.
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