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Gyles Brandreth explains why he can't stop wanting to be No 1 - and why he's playing Hamlet

Features | Summer 2017

Laurence Olivier in the 1948 film of 'Hamlet'

Aim for the top or it's game over. He is 69 but that hasn't curbed his ambition

Even after he had had his affair with Maria Callas and was married to Jackie Kennedy, even when he had amassed the world’s largest privately owned shipping fleet and was one of the richest men on earth, Aristotle Onassis used to say, ‘I have to keep on aiming higher and higher, though I know how silly it is.’ Is it silly? Recently, I came across an 85-year-old from Nepal who was preparing to climb Mount Everest to regain his title as the oldest person to reach the summit. Min Bahadur Sherchan, a great-great-grandfather six times over, last scaled the mountain in 2008 when he was 76, but recently lost his record to an 80-year-old man from Japan. ‘I must get to the top once more,’ said Min. ‘I will not die happy unless I do.’ He gave it a go this May – and died in the attempt. ‘That’s what...

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