Thursday, 3 December 2015

Kenneth Williams: Infamy! Infamy!

Personal letters and diaries belonging to Carry On star Kenneth Williams have been acquired by the British Library.

The collection includes 43 diaries and approximately 2,000 letters spanning the actor's career, from the age of 18 until his death in 1988.

It was gifted to the library by his friend and neighbour Paul Richardson.

The 1950 edition of the diary, as well as a letter from the archive, will be on display in the Library's permanent exhibition space later this month.

It is believed that roughly 85% of the archive is unpublished material never before seen by researchers, offering unique insights into the life of a gay man before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1968.

Williams' was an assiduous diary keeper for more than 40 years, and was known to tease his contemporaries with the words: 'You'll be in my diary!', but few have had the opportunity to read them.

"In the pages of the diaries, Williams is instantly recognisable as the acerbic and fastidious character well known to several generations but also, more surprisingly, is shown to be a reflective and poignant observer," said curator Kathryn Johnson.

"The diaries and letters also record the actor's experience of the dying days of the repertory theatre system and the growth of modern celebrity culture, something he seemed both to love and loathe," she continued...

BBC News.

Bona - and it's rather sweet that the British Library is round the corner from Mr Williams' former abode at 57 Marchmont Street (it's right opposite Gay's The Word bookshop, if you're passing).

What Fagburn would love to see next is the uncensored Joe Orton diaries...

PS A suitably depressing as fuck short PM item.

Update: Nice piece in the Telegraph.

Update 2: And true to form the Express just repeats what everyone else has written!

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