Tuesday, November 08, 2022

In which I scoop Channel 5's documentary on Leonard Rossiter

Channel 5 recently screened a superior documentary on the career of Leonard Rossiter - you can watch it on its catch-up service My5.

If features a few clips from what it bills as a "never seen before interview" with Rossiter. Except that readers of this blog may well have seen the interview before, because I linked to it last year. Maybe that's how the documentary's researchers found it?

In that post I suggested Rossiter had a talent for turning up in films where you don't expect to find him, and the video above - from a 1967 Michael Caine thriller - is another example. There's even a little bit of Eric Portman in the middle as a bonus.

The documentary does not shy away from Rossiter's reputation for being a perfectionist and thus difficult to work with. But I suppose that depends on who you were.

I got talking with the theatre director Braham Murray at a Leicester event marking the 50th anniversary of Joe Orton's death. Murray had rescued the reputation of Orton's play Loot with a production in Manchester after it had flopped in the West End.

He mentioned Rossiter for some reason and said what a wonderful man he was. I referred to his reputation, saying something like: "They say he turned up word perfect on the first day and expected everyone else to be too."

At which Murray, always the director, bristled slightly and demanded: "And what's wrong with that?"


Frank Little said...

Did the documentary relate how Rossiter might have had a career as a fast bowler for Lancashire?

Jonathan Calder said...

I don't recall, but it tells you more about his early life than I've seen before.

Anonymous said...

You WAHT?!?!? Leonard Rossiter could have been a pace bowler for Lancashire? We need to know more about this. Stop whatever it is you are doing and start writing.......

Jonathan Calder said...

I'll see what I can find. He was also supposed to be in Everton's sights.