I was born and raised in Sheffield, a proud steel-making city which drew much of its energy from a sense of under-appreciation. Manchester had the airport, York and Leeds the fast mainline to London. Film stars went to Birmingham for premières. But we were part of Yorkshire, the greatest of English counties, with more acres than words in the Bible. Yorkshire tea, Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire grit. Now the grit has got caught in the works following the cricket scandal. It could be a long time before the Yorkshire brand recovers.
One great Yorkshire institution is Bettys of Harrogate, which provides tea, cakes and respectability to the ladies of God’s Own County. I was having a coffee in its Ilkley branch while filming A Private Function, when Alan Bennett, frustrated by the lack of local urinals big enough for a scene in which the town bigwigs confront me while I’m having a pee, appeared with a smile on his face.