The title to this blog relates to Michael Croft friend, founder of the National Youth Theatre and Shakespeare expert above all. So twisting the Macbeth quote to fit my name when whenever we met was a little ongoing joke between us. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who understood Shakespeare and directed his plays as brilliantly as Michael. My two weeks rehearsing Julius Caesar, playing Portia, taught me more about Shakespeare’s extraordinary understanding and writing of human nature than I have learned since. Here is a little reminder of Michael and his special gifts and if you wait until the end of the show, you will see me coming on and saying the very same thing as I am writing about him now.
Christmas and the end of the Year are fast approaching and often it’s a time, which brings back so many memories of people ….people I knew, people I worked with, people I loved and people who are no longer with us. Of course my parents, my stepfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts will never be forgotten….I had an unusually close relationship with all of them and they will always be with me. There are some others who deserve to be remembered and a mention. One is Michael Croft, who gave so much of his skill and knowledge to young people, who would never have had the opportunity to enrich their lives without him.
A few more memories – I will never forget actors Peter O’Toole and Patrick McGoohan, the most exhilarating and exciting actors I have ever worked with. The adrenaline charge of being on set with them, in very different productions has created memories never to be forgotten and I am so lucky to have the opportunity. And of course The Lion in Winter is a Christmas film, made around Christmas about a Christmas gathering. Peter Cushing is always remembered and my pleasure of working with this kind and gentle man. Patrick McNee, Roger Moore, Leonard Nimoy, Bill Bixby, Katharine Hepburn, Diana Rigg and many more – so many other actors and actresses I could talk about now, that I was fortunate enough to work with, but will save those for another time.
Christmases remembered include one spent on the Isle of Wight at my Uncle Lee’s hotel with my mother and David Hemmings. David and I had just started being together and David had bought a puppy, a Border Collie and he insisted that we take him to church with us for the Christmas Eve service! I remember sewing an ornamental Christmas Tree, while living in California and sitting, stunned listening to the news of John Lennon’s murder. I remember a hot Christmas in Australia when filming Adams Woman with Beau Bridges and Beau and I giving a party for the cast and crew. John Mills starred with us in the film and what a privilege to work with this man, who had one of the most memorable film careers in the British Film Industry. John’s wife Mary Hayley Bell was there on location with us, a fascinating woman, who had such a great career of her own, she wrote Whistle Down the Wind.
I remember the Christmas we bought my son, Thomas his first small sail boat, a Sabot, keeping it hidden with great difficulty and then bringing it into the living room late on Christmas Eve ..to be greeted with great excitement Christmas morning. Tom later won an Open Ocean race in the boat, sailing from Channel Islands Harbour seven miles up the coast to Ventura Harbour in California.
I spent Christmas in London with my closest friend Jenni Hopkins a couple of years ago. One of the Christmas treats was a Christmas Carol service at Eton College Chapel, part of the famous English school. What a joyful event.
To finish, friends here’s a little poem for you. I do love poetry and there are so many great poets. (You Tube connection has decided to run the poem twice and I don’t how to fix the ‘bot, so please just watch it as was intended – once!!!) https://youtu.be/<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/qemgCd_NPsM” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>