‘Prick Up Your Ears’: Kenneth Williams and John Lahr talk Joe Orton in 1978

John Lahr discusses Prick Up Your Ears, his superb biography on playwright Joe Orton, with actor and friend, Kenneth Williams and theater critic, Michael Billington, on the book’s release in 1978.

The cherubic Orton was arguably the most exciting and original playwrights to break through in the 1960s—his first play Entertaining Mr. Sloane was an influence on Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, while his last What the Butler Saw led to political controversy and questions being raised in parliament—in reference to the size of Winston Churchill’s cock. Sadly, Orton’s life was cut short by murder—he was working on a film script for The Beatles (Up Against It) when he died (the Fabs made Magical Mystery Tour instead)—and one can only imagine what works of brilliance he would have concocted had he lived.

The quality of this interview is iffy, but it is a marvelous and important piece of cultural history for those with an interest in Orton (or even Williams). It’s also fascinating to hear some of the “politically correct” language used by presenter, Valerie Singleton, and interviewer Billington, where Orton is described as a “practicing homosexual”—as if he was in training for an examination. All jolly good fun.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Because We’re Queer: The LIfe and Crimes of Joe Orton

Book-jackets defaced by Joe Orton in 1962

With thanks to NellyM


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The Other Side of a Hell Raiser: At Home With Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed wanted a field for his horse, Dougal, and ended up with Broome Hall, a 56-bedroom mansion, with 50 acres of land. Reed fell in love with Broome Hall and with help of 2 or 3 drinking friends set about renovating the dilapidated property. It was a such a passion for the international star that he refused to become a tax exile, instead giving the bulk of his earnings over the government, to ensure he could live in this beautiful former monastery.

This is a delightful short film from 1977, first shown on Nationwide, which reveals a a funny, charming and sensitive-side to the well-known Hell-raiser. Valerie Singleton asks the questions

Previously on Dangerous Minds

The Incredible Friendship of Oliver Reed and Keith Moon

Oliver Reed: Early interview on the set of ‘The Trap’ from 1966

With thanks to NellyM

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Peter Cook and Dudley Moore: Seldom seen interview and sketch from 1979

‘There is a nude orgy scene, but I don’t actually strap myself on to anything of the female nature,’ Dudley Moore tells Valerie Singleton about his latest film 10 in this interview from Tonight in Town in 1979.

While his comedy partner, Peter Cook has little to do but smoke cigarettes and rehearse the sidekick role he’d soon be performing, a few year’s down the line, for Joan Rivers’ chat show in 1986.

Thankfully, after a brief chat, Cook is allowed show off his mercurial, comic talents in an improvised sketch with Moore. It’s not classic Pete ‘n’ Dud, but it’s still worth watching, as so much of what these two comedy greats made has been sadly lost.

Bonus - seldom seen ‘Not Only, But Also’ sketch, after the jump…

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