1 PLAY 1 LOVE 1 FILM

When “Blow Up” came out Peter Watkins asked to see me. His first film “The War Game” had created a stir and he was about to begin “Privilege”. He spoke at length and with great passion about what he wanted to say in this film. Paul Jones was the lead character - a big leap from singing to acting. I was thrilled when Peter decided to write something for me. Filming ran late, my part was cut, but eventually Paul Jones and I worked together when I replaced Marianne Faithful in "Demons of the Mind". She was uninsurable. Paul was surprised to find me in the dressing room, and in due course we became friends. I could see why Peter Watkins felt a kinship: both were idealists. Whereas Peter used film as a tool to hopefully improve this world, Paul was searching for the key, the why and the how and his place in this world.

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   Just when Peter Watkins' film fell through, I - who swore I would never set foot on stage again, my stage fright was crippling - fell for a young talented director. “The Restoration of Arnold Middleton”, a play by David Storey, introduced me to the Royal Court Theatre. The theatre to me was a precious musical box. Plays had a compact, stylized form to them. A gesture, a movement, had a specific weight. I admired Eileen Atkins. Throughout the two weeks we rehearsed she effortlessly adjusted her interpretation according to the director’s instructions, varied her tone of voice, her timing, the rhythm of her moves. To the last day she fine-tuned, looking for what was right. Wonderful to work with, Eileen was thoughtful, funny, kind, and girlish.
   I certainly wasn’t as brave, as fluid, as I should have been. David admonished me for turning my back to the audience, “You were not there! You were choosing biscuits from the table! ” I played the part of a schoolgirl out on a date with her teacher who couldn't resist showing her off to his colleagues. She read in their eyes: bimbo, airhead, dolly-bird. The girl turned away, she began to pick at the matching biscuits laid out on the plates on the large table centre stage. This was my own personal knee-jerk reaction. I shied away if I noticed an inkling of that beady, knowledgeable expression. Of course, David was absolutely right, it was excruciating, but I went back to what he wanted the girl to be. The play moved to the West End, David Storey received the Evening Standard award for Best Promising Playwright of the year

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   I went on to play Joy in “Inadmissible Evidence”, the film version of the play by John Osborne. For the theatre director Anthony Page this was his debut in films. He brought with him a sterling cast from the theatre and two outsiders, myself and Ingrid Brett, the dreamy face on the Biba posters by Sarah Moon. Nicol Williamson reprised his role from the play, which later went on Broadway where he won the coveted Tony award. Brilliant, highly strung, vulnerable, impossible, marvellous; Nicol was a passionate, generous actor who gave himself so totally one could not fail him, or oneself. It is only recently that I saw the film – Iike many actors I don't enjoy watching myself – and I didn’t cringe. We all fit together seamlessly. The film received a Bafta nomination.