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Britain’s grandest film set

Features | By Nickolas Grace

Bridgwater House was used for all the exterior shots of Marchmain house in Brideshead Revisited (1981)

On Brideshead Revisiteds 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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