Interests to be declared: with the exception of the venerable Frith Banbury, I have known no stage director longer nor admired one more than Michael Blakemore. We first met in Sydney when I was eight and he was, I would guess, about eighteen. A doctor's son determined not to follow in his father's footsteps, he joined my father's Australian road tour of Edward My Son as a publicist, only to find himself having to teach my sister and me how to read and write, since on the road in those days you were never anywhere quite long enough for a more formal education.
My father was, in return, as good as his word and got Michael out of Australia. Arriving in London (his ambition then was to be an actor rather than a director), he won a place at Rada in the generation of Diane Cilento, Rosemary Harris and Joan Collins, with all