On Brideshead Revisited’s 75th anniversary, Nickolas Grace recalls the joy of playing the camp, eyelid-fluttering Anthony Blanche
Had I been born two years earlier, I would be as old as Brideshead Revisited, published 75 years ago! Still, I’d rather be younger. One sunny morning in 1979, my agent asked me to read for a new series, Brideshead Revisited. My heart leapt – I adored the book at school. I dared to ask the question: which part? ‘Anthony Blanche.’ ‘Oh God, isn’t that the queer guy with the stutter?’ ‘The very same,’ responded my agent. I went off to meet the director, the classically handsome, cigar-smoking Michael Lindsay-Hogg; the producer, the charmingly effusive Derek Granger (who turns 99 on 23rd April); and the casting director, Doreen Jones. She didn’t want me for the role! There was no reading at all; just an informal chat and an invitation to a screen test in Manchester. I found Blanche’s stutter a genuine challenge. When the screen test happened, I just went...
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