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Interview with Christopher Timothy

Interviews : Interview of actor Christopher Timothy, transcription

Item type: Interviews
Archive reference: YMP/C/5
Date/year: 27 March 2002
Description: Transcription of Interview 27/3/02.  Christopher Timothy was a well known TV actor who played Christ. 
BBC Pebble Mill
Interviewer: Mike Tyler
Interviewee: Christopher Timothy
Recording Reference: INT/04

MT: Today's the 27th of March 2002, my name is Mike Tyler, I'm speaking to Mr
Christopher Timothy on behalf of the York Early Music Foundation project 'From Shadow into Light' on the history of the York Mystery Plays. First thing I've got to say is thank-you very much for taking time out of a very busy schedule to help contribute to this record. Could I begin by asking you to just introduce yourself very briefly; tell us who you are, what your background is, and how you came into contact with the York Mystery Plays.

CT: My name is Christopher Timothy, I was born in North Wales in 1940, I.became quote 'well-known' unquote for playing a vet, called James Herriot.set in and around Yorkshire, in the Yorkshire Dales.in nineteen.eighty? I was just nearing the end of All Creatures, and for all intents and purposes as far as we knew, the end of it all.there was to be no more, and I was thinking about what I was going to do next.I was on a tube train in London, travelling back to where I was living at the time, and I picked up the Evening Standard, and there was an article with a director called Patrick Garland of whom I knew but had never met, and he was talking about going back to America to direct a resurgence of My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, so the article was predominantly about directing My Fair Lady, and at the bottom as a sort of footnote he said but before I leave, I want to find an actor to play Jesus in the York Mystery Plays.and I thought ooah, I'd really like to do that. So I got off at, rather than going to my destination, I got off the tube at the right stop, went straight to my agents, as they were literally leaving the office 'cause it was now early evening, and I said can I just have five minutes, and they reluctantly went back into the office and put on the kettle and made a cup of coffee. I gave them the article and.one of the members of the agency is a girl called Pippa Markham, who read the article and said 'You want to play Jesus?' I said I would, yes, I would like to do that, and she pulled a face and 'I said do you think I couldn't do it?' she said, 'Well, as long as they're not looking for a pretty Jesus.' [laughter] So I thought great, that's the sort of.

MT: You know where you stand!

CT: That's the sort of encouragement you want, isn't it, that's right, so I sorta realised.so my proper agent Peter Frogget said ok, I'll make the necessary.you know, whatever the word is, approaches, and then I'll let you know what happens. Next morning I was in rehearsals for All Creatures Great and Small, and I had a break in recording, someone said will you ring your agent.this is the very next day.I rang my agent he said 'You have an interview tonight at Patrick's Chelsea flat, at 7.30.' I thought that's amazing, what an agent! What an agent! So I thought about it, I thought about it for a bit, I'd also had made a commitment to go to America to do a thing called Est. Est was very fashionable then, it was a sort of self-enlightenment, you know, all sorts of rubbish have been written about it, it actually.was something that I knew people had done, and I thought I need that, I should do that. So, whatever else happened, and the dates of the Mystery Plays I sort of half knew then, and I knew that I had got commitments during that time to do, to go to America to do, sorry, to do Est on a particular date, and.so I arrived at the flat and I spent half an hour desperately trying to convince him that I was right to play Jesus. What I didn't know was that he, the next morning, had rung my agent, my agent never, didn't ring him at all! And had said, would Christopher Timothy be interested in playing Jesus. So after an hour of us sort of pussy-footing around, so we talked about it and I thought, oh, this sounds just amazing, and the rehearsal period for the cast which was.all amateur, there were one or two professionals, no there was one professional actor in it who had given up being a professional actor, had decided that it wasn't for him, and lived in York, and had, was going to be in it. Otherwise it was a cast of three hundred, three hundred, amateur actors and.me. And the rehearsal period was about three months, and he said, how long would you want to rehearse for, I said three months! I mean, I wanna rehearse as much as they do, I've got.Fine. So that was arranged, and I got back to where I lived, as I said I got the job, and I was asked and did you manage to get the weekend off to do Est, two weekends, in fact, I said, no I can't , I said, because these rehearsals are three months and, because.the cast is predominantly amateur, rehearsals will be in the evenings, and at weekends, of course they will, I mean, I used to be an amateur actor, I know how they work, so, and I was accused then of reneging on my commitment to do Est, so I said, no, I'll do Est, and in fact I planned to do Est, and I did, and I went and did in America before I did the Mystery Plays, I went up on the very first day, and it was televised, and, lot of hoo-hah about that, and.I was asked to speak, I thought I don't want to speak!.to say what?! Apart from the fact that I was beside myself with excitement that I was going to do it, and what I said to the assembled mass, and there was a lot of 'em, at least a third of the cast were there if not more, in one of the.cathedral buildings was it? Or Town Hall, I can't remember, I just said listen, I'm really really excited about this, and somebody said to me how did it feel to be working with three hundred amateurs, I said, doesn't feel any different to anything else, except that most of you have done the Mystery Plays before, some of them had done them regularly every four years over a long period, so I said 'There ain't nothing I can teach you, but there's an awful lot you can teach me.' And we then rehearsed for, I didn't come back from York for the three months, I didn't leave York, I didn't come back to London for any reason, or, I stayed up there and.it was incredibly hard work, because I'd never, I didn't even know what Middle English was, I'd heard the word, and you know, spoken by academics and thought well that's not for me. So learning it was a real trial. Rehearsals were a joy, an absolute joy.it was just the most remarkable experience of my life.

MT: Excellent.

CT: And will never be repeated. Exactly!

MT: I'm very interested in that first moment then, you.it literally was like that then was it, you opened the thing you saw that and thought.

CT: Absolutely.

MT: That is me.

CT: Absolutely. I have read, I was brought up in a Christian family, my father was actually a clergyman, although my parents separated, so I never experienced him as a father when I was a child.but there was that sort of influence, and I, I went to Sunday School, I was, grew up as a child in North Wales where Sunday, all you did on Sundays was go to church, go to Sunday School and go to church again. Then television came, but we still managed to fit it in, so, so I knew the story, backwards, and I.was beginning, no, I was well past, I wasn't an atheist, but I was certainly a serious agnostic by then.maybe I always was, had been.a lot of people have asked me subsequently, particularly Christians of course, committed Christians have said that must have been the most remarkable experience, and it was, they said and did it, did it confirm things, and I said it confirmed two things, one that Jesus existed, and two for me, it confirmed that he wasn't the Son of God. [pause] That's all.

MT: That's quite a strong position to take.

CT: And I'm very very happy, for somebody to convince me otherwise. Nobody has yet.

MT: Have people tried to?

CT: Yeh. Some have. I have an ex sister-in-law, 'cause I've been married twice, I have an ex sister-in-law who is a committed Christian as indeed her husband, and she said to me, I can't remember when last we spoke, couple of years ago, and she said.you are so much nearer than you think. And I said but that's because that's what you want it to be, it's not, you know.that's what you want, and I understand you wanting that, it's a bit like, I can't think what, but I, I don't know, I believe strongly in what, in.equality.and so I would like everyone else to believe that too. Sadly they don't. And I'm sure she feels just as sad about me. But she thinks that I'm, she doesn't think that I'm past redemption, or past saving, I don't think. [laughter] I really don't think so, and I'm, I'm very fond of her, and I think, well, you know, that's fine, and if anything does happen then, if I do see 'the light' she'll be the first to hear.

MT: It'll all come out in the wash.

CT: Yeh, exactly.

MT: And Patrick Garland, at that time he was, still is, a director of.considerable standing, you say you hadn't worked with him before but you were aware of his work, I mean, what did you know about Patrick.

CT: Very little. I knew that he was a contemporary of people like.who was the wonderful Yorkshire television presenter? Russell Harty. I knew that. Why I knew that I never know, but I think probably I'd read an article about Russell Harty probably. In it he said I was at Oxford, was it Oxford, Cambridge? With people like, and amongst the people on the list was Patrick Garland. I'd seen his name attached to productions, I don't know, I.honestly can't remember whether I'd seen a production he'd directed, I just knew of his existence, I knew that he was a.fairly powerful director. I liked him enormously, and we had a.we had a great time. He does have much more.he's much more of a Christian than I am. Which.when I first arrived in York, I was interviewed on local television by.an Asian presenter, nice guy he was, and I remember being very nervous about the job, and that's what I was nervous about, and he did say during the interview, are you a committed Christian, and I said no, that I wasn't, and, you know, did I think that that was a prerequisite, and I said no I don't, I absolutely don't, and I've played, I once played the Scottish King, Macbeth, and, who was a dangerous and.and a murderer, and I am neither of those things, but I think I played him adequately, and I don't think that I.it was wrong of me to play Jesus if I didn't believe it all, 'cause maybe during it I would have done, and listen, an awful lot of things happened during the production.that were serious food for thought, both light-hearted things and very, very committed.what.I suppose the most.can't think of the right word, the strongest feeling of the whole thing was the commitment.from everyone. Even the least committed were committed. Quite extraordinary. There was a guy who played, he was known in York as Herod's Army, 'cause for years he played Herod's Army, and he, the minute he knew that he'd got Herod's Army yet again, he would dress up in the costume and stay in it for the entire rehearsal period and walk round town like that. [laughter] And he was sweet guy, and he had a very very bad stutter, and I remember about a week into rehearsals, and this is when I was taking on some sort of mantle I suppose, I said, don't stutter, because I can't understand you properly, so he stopped. [pause]

MT: Fair dos.

CT: He stopped stuttering, and then he said I definitely want to meet Carol Drinkwater when she comes up and I said of course. So two nights later Carol came up for the weekend and I said come on, we're gotta, we're going for a drink and we've.this guy, and he began stuttering again, and I said 'You're stuttering!' I mean, really quietly, and so he stopped again, and I thought, maybe there's more to this than I thought. So there was that. He came to me one day, I was finally put in charge of whether or not we did the complete show, depending on how the weather looked, right, because we were outdoor, and.we never did a shortened version, but it, once or twice, and one day where the weather forecast was bad, and we'd been doing it for about a week I think, so we were well run in, and the whole cast were in that sort of library behind the, where we used to change, and there were no starry dressing rooms or anything, everybody mucked in, which was fantastic, and somebody came over and said what're we going to do? And a mate of mine was coming to see it all the way from Wales, and I desperately wanted to do the whole show, 'cause he was in, so I looked at the weather and thought please hold out, please hold out, and I said we'll do the whole thing, and Herod's Army came up and said listen, I'm not gonna do it tonight, 'cause he didn't play a hugely relevant part, except that I believe that every part in it was relevant, and he said I'm not going to do it tonight, he said, because I've got a bit of a cold, and I want to watch Spartacus on television. [laughter] So I said ok, and I said I'd really like to watch Spartacus, it's a great movie, I'd really would like to see it, I said, but I can't. He said but it's different for you, I said actually I don't believe that it's different, I think your contribution is as vital as anybody else's. I said, but, you know, you must do what you think. He said, well I'll do it then. And so he did, and he did get quite a bad cold, and his mother gave me a bad time about it, but ultimately the choice was his, I didn't mean to say you will stay, but he did. On the first night, on the first night? Yes, it was the first night, we had rehearsed, there's a moment in the play, oh yes, because Patrick Garland said 'We are without a narrator.' So he talked to the historians, who said yes, there probably would have been somebody who came out and introduced everything and said these are the Goldsmiths and these are the Tailors and these are, and introduced the various.trades and things, and.just recently on the radio, we're talking twenty years ago, had been something I think it was called the Mysteries, and I think it was an amalgamation of Chester and York and what's the other one?

MT: Well, there's Chester, York, Coventry and Wakefield.

CT: That's it. I think it was a [indistinguishable: clump?] of the four, and it was remarkable, and an actor, can't remember his name, he wrote an introduction, and it was used, and so that was presented to these historians who said yes, this is good, this is.good. So I was the narrator, and I was a narrator as a member of one of the trades.and I think I was a, I think I was called something the Shepherd.get the connection [laughter].so I'd to come on and say [in Yorkshire accent] 'Right-o, welcome to York' you know, and the language was a little bit more modern than the language of the Mysteries, but not so modern that you thought, my god, that jars. So I used to do that, and then I had at least an hour before Jesus appeared, in fact I'm not sure it wasn't a bit more before the.baptism.and Jesus' first appearance. So I, first night particularly, I raced up the middle aisle of the seating and instead of going down the back to change into Jesus, I slipped into the sound box and watched the first half an hour which was.mind-blowing. Now, during rehearsals I said to Patrick wouldn't it be a good idea one time I had a line which soon God, 'Soon God shall come.' And I said wouldn't it be quite nice if God made his entrance too soon? So that I would go 'Soon God shall come.' And the actor playing God would then go ooh, sorry, and back off, and Patrick thought that was a nice idea, and the actor agreed, delighted to, so that's fine. You know the ruins of.

MT: St Mary's Abbey.

CT: .and you know that if you go right to the top they're very unsteady, aren't they [laughter].and they're not going to fall down, but they're very sort of crumbly and.nobody told me this, but it came to that moment, and nobody.and I looked, I thought where is he, where is he? I thought aw, it's going to spoil the gag, and I thought well, it's not important, and then just as I was looking over, one of the crowd went 'Oi!' to me and I went, and he went [gestures?], this was in the action, on the first night, and I looked up and he was standing on the top, now I went up there.when I was resurrected, sounds so odd to say that, doesn't it? On a lift, on a sort of gas crane thing, which was, and it was very high, he was standing on it, on the building! Now this man had suffered a stroke that year, was in his sixties, very fit I hasten to add, a long, long mane of hair which he'd grown for four years to, so he could play God. Would've been awful if he hadn't got the part, wouldn't it? And flowing robes, and it was windy, as indeed it can be in York, can't it?

MT: Indeed.

CT: And it was, and I was thinking, and all I could think of was my God, that's dangerous, but it was, it looked wonderful. That was the first thing, sorry, so I finally said my last line and disappeared. And he then did the Creation, and the Creation consisted of the birds of the sea and we all know that, and when that was said, children run across with a long, long, long piece of silk between two sticks with fish on it, and as they ran of course, the whole thing moved, it was just beautiful. For the birds of the air had been supplied a homing pigeon [laughter] from Harrogate, right, now if you stand on the acting area in the Museum Gardens and look towards the seating, Harrogate is over there.

MT: [laughing] Beyond, yes.

CT: So the bird, and he had one of those conjuror's clips under his cloak, and he took this bird out and went, and threw it up.like a, like the bird of peace, like a dove, like whatever, threw it up and the bird would then fly to Harrogate, and what was brilliant was that it flew above the heads of the audience, and in rehearsals, all, of course it worked. On the first night.

MT: I can see a flaw coming!

CT: No, he threw it up, and the bird flew above their heads, you could see the whole audience go 'oh, wow!'.it disappeared briefly, came back, and landed on God's shoulder until the spotlight on him went out, and then it flew to.and I remember thinking then.[pause].divine intervention or what, now I said it fairly glibly, because I don't think I believe in all that.the play progressed.I.died on the cross and I.had, was now dead.and in rehearsals there'd been a crash of thunder and the sound of rain.well the crash of thunder was unbelievable, I thought my god they've got it turned up loud, it almost made me jump, which would've spoilt everything, but it didn't.and then it rained. On cue it rained. And that's when I.I found that extraordinarily moving, extraordinarily moving, and I thought well I can't be moved 'cause I'm dead! [pause] And silly little things like that, much less things happened every night.I don't know, it was something to do with the love that was on the stage and the, the enthusiasm, and the caring, and the desire to make this the best Mystery Play, and I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about them! I'd never done it before, I just wanted to get it right and be good enough, you know. On the last night, after what, three weeks it went? On the last night on Sermon on the Mount, the entire cast were on stage, and.it's when he first speaks the Lord's Prayer, in the Mystery Play, and I remember during rehearsals I shamefully couldn't remember it! I dried somewhere in the middle, and one of the disciples prompted me, so we kept that in, because if this was the first time he'd ever put those words together, of course we all know he in actual fact he didn't, because that prayer came, whatever.

MT: Didn't it?

CT: I'm right, aren't I? Isn't the, the.poem, the prayer sort of.much later?

MT: It does come later, yes.

CT: I mean, it's not Victorian, but it's much later, isn't it.

MT: Well.

CT: Or maybe it is.is it Victorian?

MT: In English, I suppose, yes.

CT: I mean, the one that we know.

MT: The one that we know, the model is there in Greek and Hebrew, so it's very difficult to.fix it, depends what you mean, the form of words, the ideas it encapsulates.

CT: So maybe it was then! Whatever, and I remember thinking at the time what a great, what a marvellous moment, I can't remember was.[pause].please forgive us our trespasses, and I paused, and one of them had said 'And forgive them that trespass against us?' Oh! And at the time, it didn't mean anything, it just meant Christopher Timothy couldn't remember the words of the Lord's Prayer, how simple is that? And he.but, it was just an extraordinary moment, and nobody no critic picked it up, but I remember people who came and saw it said wow, great moment when they help you put the prayer together.which I'm sure that's what would've happened. I was criticised for treating the bathing of the feet too much like a bunch of guys in a rugby club, and I thought but that's how it would be. Are we saying that the whole thing would have be 'holier than thou'? No it wouldn't! It was a bunch of guys, and they would splash each other, wouldn't they, as well as.because guys behave like that, human beings behave like that! I fought desperately hard to make Jesus a human being, and one guy, who had played Jesus once, and who subsequently became a professional actor, he said to me one day, 'Can I just say something?' He said 'I think that it's very fine that you're making Jesus like the rest of us, but do remember that he was a man apart.'.which I had not even considered. And things like that happened all the way through rehearsals, nobody treated me in awe or anything, well, why should they, but nobody, people would say listen, don't you think it'd be a good idea if.which meant that then I felt free to do the same to them, 'cause otherwise I would have been very wary of saying, you know, just 'cause you're a professional actor you think you know everything, I think that at all, never have thought that.but it was the unit thing, the sharing, the love. I met Cliff Richard not long afterwards for dinner once, and he said surely, surely the Holy Spirit must have had a very, very.and I said well, it did, about a whole load of things, about people, about other people, about interacting with other people, about the sharing and the.you know, and the glorification of it if you like, because I'm not averse to doing all that, I love going to church, I love that feeling.I always come out of church and I go so rarely, I always come out of church feeling at ease.or certainly easier, particularly if there are problems at the time or, there's no question about it, none whatsoever, never would I deny that. I just, bottom line, can't believe the basic things, and now of course I get older and hopefully I'll get wiser, my Christian friends of which, which are few, will say, but we all know that a lot of is.not factual, but is part and parcel of the way the stories are told, and all that, which makes me feel slightly better about my cynicism and my.oh, please, do you...and miracles, we know miracles happen, because every day you read about them, you see it on the news, so you know, and, did he actually turn wine into water? [sic] Or did he know a way of doing it? And who give, and does it matter? Does it matter, that what he did was a trick maybe, sometimes? But when he made the blind man see and the b, wasn't that faith healing, wasn't that saying come on you can do it, come on, you can walk, come on! So the guy walked. And who would be more pleased than anybody? Jesus. And I got criticised for clapping him when he walked, because I'd just done this thing called Est which is full of, which is very American, and everything gets clapped, a bit like sit-coms isn't it, where somebody does a fairly bad joke and everyone cheers, well, but this was different, and I just thought yeh, go on. And I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't recently done Est, because it wouldn't have been part of my thought process.

MT: That's interesting.

CT: And I was accused, the only criticism that was levelled at me that I, really hurt, although it wasn't worth thinking about, was.he, Christopher Timothy portrayed all the pain, but not the passion.and I was so upset about that. So upset! [laughs]

MT: Do you take notice of your reviews much? I mean, is that a characteristic?

CT: I do if care as much as I cared about that, yeh. But I wanted to do it.brilliantly. Well, we all want to do everything brilliantly, don't we. I wanted to do it brilliantly, I wanted to please the people I was with, I wanted to please, and I don't mean please, oh, isn't he wonderful, I don't mean that, but I wanted.I wanted the unit to be complete, and.it often felt like that. On the last night, again back to the.all the cast came on, with thermos flasks and sandwiches and mars bars, they didn't come on with bread and jugs of wine and all that, [laughter] of course not, but that didn't matter and I.walking around, on the last night, walking from them to my area on the stage of solitude and then going back to them, I kept thinking, god, isn't it incredible, I've been doing this for three months, three weeks and rehearsing for three months, and I don't recognise some of these people. The reason why I didn't recognise some of those people is because on the last night, I don't know how many there were, but there were a lot, I mean more than thirty, people, who hadn't got chosen to be in it, had made their own costumes and just turned up.

MT: Just come.

[pause]

CT: And I found that extraordinarily moving. On the last night, there were two parties. One was for the cast in a pub, of course, and one was in the Mayor's Parlour, for the chosen few, and I knew that because I was playing Jesus and I used to play James Heriot I knew that I had to go to that, and I would, I would not have not wanted to go, and I was slightly concerned that, I don't know how, I think I was probably the only actor, and maybe the guy who did the music and maybe the guy who did the crowd scenes, was one, can't remember his name, but he was the sort of pageant master.who was extraordinary, lot of work he did and effectively.but we went to that, which was fine, and I noticed at one point when I was talking to whoever, that Carol Drinkwater, a lapsed Catholic.was at the other end with a Bishop, and they were in ______ conversation, and I was thinking oh my god, what's she saying, what's she. as we then walked to the pub for the highlight of the day, really, 'cause that was just joyous, I said what did you say to him, what were you saying? And she said he said to me, now knowing that she was a lapsed Catholic and was very confused about things, he said so how do you feel about Jesus? And Carol Drinkwater said, I claim no credit for this at all, she said, whatever else he was or was not, Jesus was the man with the vision to make the world work.that's amazing! That's amazing you say that, and a few days later I was on the radio, something quite well listened to, I can't think, no idea what it was, can't remember, but it would have been listened to by a lot people. and I quoted that, and I gave Carol full credit for it, and.she and I then went on tour in a North Country comedy and, which was very successful, and it was successful because Christopher Timothy, father of six, now divorced, is doing a tour with Carol Drinkwater the woman reputedly for whom he left, which is not true of course, so we packed the theatres in, which is slightly the wrong reason, but we did do good business.and at almost every venue, at some point during the week, a clergyman would turn up and say I just want to meet you, and I want you to know that Carol Drinkwater's text was the subject for my sermon last Sunday. [Laughs]

MT: Well. There you go.

CT: So maybe I haven't done much to do any good by anything, but Carol did.

MT: Well, you certainly seem to have made your mark, I mean I speak to a lot of people about the Mystery Plays, and I've spoken to people who have participated in 1951 in the great revival year.

CT: Oh, absolutely.

MT: .is it going to work, isn't it going to work, and the first night was like that for everybody.

CT: Of course.

MT: .and.almost universally, people will have a couple of productions that they will remember, there will one from the sixties, there will be a modern one maybe 2000.

CT: Of course there will.

MT: But the second one, one of those pair is always the Christopher Timothy/ Patrick Garland 1980 production.

CT: That's fantastic.

MT: Why do you think that made such an impact, what was the recipe? That's the thing that fascinates me, what is that recipe that was absolutely right in 1980.

[pause]

CT: I.think that Patrick's Christianity, which is.I think it's fulsome, I don't think it's you know, second rate or half-hearted or any of those things, but he is first and foremost a man of the theatre, and I think the production was very theatrical, for all the right reasons, I don't mean, because sometimes the word theatrical is applied as a, as an insult or a.so I think he genuinely knew the moments where people's emotions, the fifteen-hundred people, and there was never a spare seat, extraordinary, extraordinary, he knew what would make them, will touch them. Some of the acting was.bottom line.probably not very good, really, but, there was something so moving.about the commitment.that was indisputable, no-one ever could say, if anyone ever says no, there wasn't much commitment, they're not telling the truth, and so sometimes very, I can't think of the right word either, but rather sort of raw, simplistic.readings of parts and there weren't many, really.truly, this sounds very sort of snooty, 'cause I'm a professional, but I've done bad things, god only knows, you ask the critics.or my family! [laughter] 'Dad, really, what?!'.It was because of the way it was put together, and because of the way the product is anyway, I mean, the very writing of it has a simplistic innocent, that's what it was, it was the innocence of these people, oh, so, but so moving. And the number of times when I cried during it, I don't mean indulgently as me, as Jesus, but, moments that always, never failed to make me think oh, wow! It's just.and those feelings were palpable, they were, you could touch 'em, you could feel 'em, and.it took me months to get over it, I mean, it took me months to, to actually feel free of it. And when I talk about I, I still get moved, and it was twenty-odd years ago, more!

MT: Yes, well, that comes over very strongly.

CT: And I wanted to do it again. And, of course, you know, you're never asked to do it again, and then I thought, well, maybe I could direct it.oh, wouldn't know where to begin, I am, I'm directing 'Doctors' now, and I've directed some theatre, not much, but I wouldn't know where to begin.'cause I don't have, I certainly don't have any academic qualifications.for understanding the text properly, for.you know.and there were some things in the play that I spoke and I didn't know what I was saying.but I knew what the gist was, and I knew what the point of the scene was, and I knew what, so, that sort of carried me through. 'Mazing, 'mazing, 'mazing times, amazing times.

[pause]

MT: Just a quick question, then, about sort of life in the city, I mean, you spent, you invested, quite an unusual amount of time given that at that sort of stage, late seventies, you would, I think it's probably fair to say, you'd be one of the, if not the most easily recognisable face on television.

CT: Well, yes, but I had a very paltry, pathetic beard.[laughter]

MT: In disguise!

CT: I cannot tell you.It was so appalling that on the first, the dress rehearsal, John, this guy who became a professional actor, John, he said 'you can't see your beard from the fourth row, you know', I thought oh my god, this is terrible, so I rang up Mary Griffiths, Mary Griffiths who at that time was, I'd never grown a beard before, and I'll never grow one again [laughter] Aw, it was terrible, and there were patches..there was no beard! And I rung Mary Griffiths, who was the wife of an actor I knew, and she was head of make-up at Yorkshire Television, and I went over the next morning, drove over to Leeds, and she dyed my beard, so for a couple of days really did look like a false beard 'cause it was almost black, but it was.sorry what was the quest

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