Before John Sergeant became a political journalist, and a Strictly sensation, he appeared on Alan Bennett’s 1966 satirical sketch show, On the Margin. They are pictured here on the show, together with Virginia Stride. In next week’s Oldie, Sergeant recalls seeing the young Bennett at work. Already a comedy genius, Bennett had an extraordinary talent for observing human behaviour – or ‘found poetry’, as Sergeant calls it.
Sergeant also remembers Bennett’s touching shyness. Sitting down to dinner for the first time at High Table in Magdalen College, Oxford - where he was a junior lecturer in history - Bennett was too embarrassed to admit he was trapped in his scholar’s gown. Unable to move his arms, he decided to have nothing to eat.