Tim Walker

‘I was asked if I would wear Nicole Kidman’s breasts’

Geraldine James, recently notorious as the breast-feeding mother in Little Britain, talks to Tim Walker about her role in Howard Barker’s Victory Geraldine James’s agent telephoned one day and asked if she would care to play an over-protective mother. And he added there was something that she ought to know: it involved breast-feeding and, ah

I never want to be as insecure as Olivier

Tim Walker talks to Greta Scacchi about her new role in The Deep Blue Sea, the gaucheness of Bill Murray — and being offered the lead in Basic Instinct Greta Scacchi is lying in bed beside Laurence Olivier. His head is resting against her shoulder. Suddenly it feels damp. She looks at the old man

A diplomat who could yet be the British Obama

‘I am and always have been an activist,’ says Paul Boateng, the British High Commissioner to South Africa. ‘As a lawyer, a Methodist lay preacher and now as a diplomat, that is what I am. It is how I have been brought up and I can’t imagine ever being anything other than that.’ Boateng’s posting

Two old stagers find vigour in Brief Lives

In a soulless, drafty rehearsal hall just around the corner from Euston Station, Roy Dotrice is doing a reading as John Aubrey under the watchful eye of the director Patrick Garland. The bitchy 17th-century writer and antiquarian is a character that both men have come to know very well over years. The relationship began in

‘There are unfortunately a lot of us old guys around’

Peter Vaughan has been delivering fine performances for decades — Grouty in Porridge and Robert Lindsay’s prospective father-in-law in Citizen Smith, among many others — but it is only lately, since he became a pensioner, that a large swath of the population has finally put his name to his face. His performance as the Alzheimer’s

A child of the Troubles with a smile on his face

Patrick Kielty says that there are three ages in a comedian’s life. ‘He starts off as the young Turk who is angry about the state of the world and wants to put it right. Then comes the age of hypocrisy — when he is still quite angry and still quite young, but quietly goes home

‘Being famous has become rather common’

Rupert Everett tells Tim Walker that there is nothing wrong with being a bimbo, that political correctness has been ‘a disaster for everyone’ and that gay adoption is wrong Rupert Everett has just done Richard & Judy, or maybe, he concedes, Richard and Judy have just done him. ‘It is hard to work out who

‘I enjoy being an ousider’

At the Prince of Wales’s 50th birthday party at Buckingham Palace, Sir Geoffrey Cass, who was then the chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company, presented Antony Sher to the Queen. ‘He is one of our leading actors, ma’am,’ Sir Geoffrey whispered into her ear. Her Majesty frowned, paused for a very long time and finally

Meeting Eileen Atkins

Dame Eileen Atkins is adamant that she is a horrible person. ‘My mother looked at me as if she had hatched a snake, but then I could be vile to her and to my family,’ the actress says. ‘My parents were angry people, frustrated with their lot in life, and I inherited their anger. I’ve

‘I have kept a sense of wonder’

One night early in the run of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Claire Bloom tripped on the stage of the Haymarket theatre in the West End and fell flat on her face. ‘I managed to get up and the audience was kind enough to applaud,’ she says in that impeccable Received Pronunciation that is

‘Reid should not stand in Brown’s way’

Neil Kinnock on the Home Secretary’s ambitions, and Cameron ‘Call me Neil, for God’s sake,’ says Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty when he welcomes me to the chairman’s office at the British Council with its panoramic views over Whitehall and the South Bank. ‘That title makes me sound like the bloody Royal Albert Hall.’ Kinnock has

Will Charles be the first multicultural monarch?

The Queen turned 80 on 21 April this year, and while she may finally have been prevailed upon to scale back on her public duties, she remains — as anyone who saw her during her visit to the Baltic States last week knows — in robust good health. Alex Galloway, the Clerk of the Privy

In praise of the patriotic playwright

Ronald Harwood, the Oscar-winning writer of The Pianist and The Dresser, tells Tim Walker that he is delighted to be in demand — but never wants to be ‘fashionable’ I first came face to face with Ronald Harwood three years ago as we were waiting for our coats after the party to mark the opening

‘Never be terrible in a terrible movie’

Listing page content here The waiters at Le Caprice in St James’s have never had to go out to see the world. The world has always come to them. Just after the war, Humphrey Bogart used to dine at the ineffably glamorous establishment with Lauren Bacall and, since then, just about every major headline-maker of

‘It seemed to me that Tony was suffering’

Sir Cliff Richard has sold his palatial home on the St George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey, but the entertainer is not forsaking Britain for America, as you might have heard, but merely downsizing. Indeed, he has already put in an offer for a smaller place scarcely 20 minutes away. At 65, Sir Cliff is

Diary – 21 April 2006

Delhi It’s a sappingly humid Sunday evening, but I decide a suit and tie are in order for Sir Michael Arthur, the British High Commissioner. Bad move. He is in shirtsleeves as he takes me out on to the terrace of his Lutyens villa in Delhi. His bearer pours me a gin and tonic and