Thursday 9 November 2017

Fenella Fielding Interview in The Guardian

The actress Fenella Fielding is interviewed in The Guardian newspaper today and it's a fascinating read. The interview is part of a round of publicity ahead of the publication of Fenella's memoirs, Do You Mind if I Smoke?, on 16 November.

As she approaches her 90th birthday, Fenella has lost none of her quirky appeal and this interview showcases that to the full. There are tales I've heard before having attended a couple of her memoir readings at The Phoenix Artist Club, but they are so good you can hear them time and time again. Of course, the article touches on her association with the Carry On films and Carry On Screaming in particular. She has this to say about her troubled relationship with co-star Kenneth Williams, who she also appeared with on stage in revue:

Fielding talks about working with famous men. It was often difficult, she says. “The more famous comedians don’t want you to be funny, they want you to be straight and allow them to shine. They want you to be appreciative of how funny they are being by smiling a lot and laughing engagingly.” She fell out with Kenneth Williams in Pieces of Eight. He was put out in rehearsals when he saw a newspaper article that praised her as a “beautiful butterfly of comedy”. 

“Kenneth came out of the wings and he had the paper in his hand and he had the most terrible temper about it. I thought, God! I can’t help the fact they’ve said something nice about me.” Is this envy common in showbusiness? “Well, I’ve never had somebody so open about it! I couldn’t believe my ears.”

There is also a brief and rather alarming reference to having worked with Norman Wisdom, but I'll leave that one for you to read in the article and then in your copy of her book. The interview represents what you can expect from the memoirs and from Fenella herself. It's unique, funny, deeply personal and sometimes quite sad. 

You can read the interview in full here 

Further details on the launch of Fenella's memoirs and where to meet her and get your own signed copy are here

And I'll have more, both on the memoirs and Fenella's 90th birthday, next week.

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