Even though I was around in London in the Sixties at the same time as Willie Donaldson, I never actually met him. I know of him only by reputation – for the moment when he took up a show at the Edinburgh Fringe starring my soon-to-be husband and brought it, with co-producer Michael White, to the West End.
In a masterstroke of self-destruction, he insisted it be called ‘****’. Naturally, because this was completely unpronounceable (Fuck? Cunt? Cock? Shit? – every swear word was represented by four stars in those censorious days), it only ran for a week.
Terence Blacker’s excellent book charts Donaldson’s rise and fall, though to be honest there was never that much of a rise, just a series of accidental bumps and pits. Born in Sunningdale in 1935 and saddled with the terrible disadvantage of being sent to Winchester, he went on to Cambridge,