Book number: 93470 Product format: Hardback Author: SIR TONY ROBINSON

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Bibliophile price £7.00
Published price £20

Forever defined by Baldrick's catchphrase in Blackadder, "I have a cunning plan", Tony Robinson is a man of diverse talents. Quite early during his childhood in Wanstead he realised he wanted to act, and after a round of auditions eventually found himself in the chorus of Oliver, which achieved 23 curtain calls on the first night. His big break came when the Dodger failed to turn up for a matinee and Tony found himself in front of the footlights singing "Consider yourself la-la, consider yourself la-la-la-laaa-la-la". The audience knew the words so it didn't matter. At the Central School of Speech and Drama he met Bardy, his first wife, though the relationship soon subsided into friendship. After jobs in Leicester and Stoke, a spell at Bristol Old Vic introduced him to his second wife Mary, who was later followed by Louise. Tony's politics meant he was always going on marches with stalwart leftwing activists like Vanessa and Corin Redgrave. His theatre jobs brought him into brief contact with later-famous names like Miriam Margolyes and Robert Powell, and he even got to admire Helen Mirren's tattoo. There are hilarious but sad encounters with faces from the past such as Simon Dee and John Wayne. In Peter Hall's Oresteia he sustained a knock on the head and was brought round by the combined efforts of Felicity Kendal and Jim Carter. Howard Davies at Bristol Old Vic wanted to break a run of dreary shows and embarked on a season by progressive writers such as Howard Brenton, with Tony playing the serial murderer Christie among other triumphs. Meanwhile Tony and Mary bought a house in Frederick Place, Clifton, where they ran a reasonably happy commune with their friends. When Tony got into archaeology during a season at Chichester Theatre an interest was born that would culminate in the long-running series Time Team, and soon afterwards he found immortality as Baldrick in Blackadder. 422pp, colour photos.

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ISBN 9780283072574

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