Friday, January 28, 2011

Robert is leaving Holby?

Finally real news in this blog!! Thanks to a fellow fan (from Canada, dear readers, where are you English people fans???????). Three days ago Robert gave an interview to Steve Wright (BBC2) where he said that he was leaving Holby City because he has been there for 6 years and it’s 5 years longer than he had anticipated. Now, he says, he wants to get back to the roots (stage!). Indeed, on March he’ll be in the play “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell” at the Royal Theatre of Bath.
You can find the interview on at 3 :30) hurry as you have four days to listen. If there’s a fan who would like to make the transcription, we’ll be all extremely grateful!
Robert as Jeffrey Bernard

However, I didn’t find anything about it in Holby City sites, so maybe Robert is considering leaving but has not confirmed it as in the interview he says that normally 6 months before the end of the contract he will be asked if he’s staying or leaving. Even if I’m not fond of the show, it was nice to know that he was on TV and that a new generation knows his work. But Robert is above all an actor, and he needs to do something else. Of course Robert, we wish you all the best! And now I wonder how his character will leave the show. Oh please, I don't want him to die! I would like him to find a new love and move away very far!

Back to the play, if you want to know more information I found this (Wikipedia) :

Bernard wrote the "Low Life" column in The Spectator. The play's title refers to the magazine's habit of printing a one-line apology on a blank page when he was too drunk or hung-over to produce the required copy and a substitute article could not be found before the deadline for publication. Its premise is that Bernard has found himself locked in overnight at his favourite public house, the Coach and Horses, Soho, and uses the occasion to share anecdotes from his life with the audience. A highlight of the play is an exhibition of sleight of hand involving a glass of water, a matchbox, and an egg which must remain unbroken at the end of the trick. This trick is more fully described in an obituary of Keith Waterhouse in The Guardian.
Often remembered as a one-man show, but in fact packed with characters performed by a versatile supporting cast of four, Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell was a highly successful vehicle for its original star Peter O'Toole. The show opened in Brighton in September 1989, moved to Bath and made its triumphant London debut at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in October. O'Toole also appeared in a later revival at the Old Vic. A filmed version of the stage play was shot at the Apollo Theatre with a live audience and was released in both full and abridged versions.


Irene said...

Thanks for the news! Indeed, it was nice to now he's regularly on TV, but it's great he's back on stage.
I'll see if I can make a transcription.

P.S. nice little "article" on Robert on page 47 of this mag (2010) - just found it )

Irene said...

ok, if you still need this...

Steve Wright in the afternoon
BBC Radio
2011 Jan 25 Tuesday

- RRRRobert Powell, the British television, film and stage actor, is here! Well-known for his current TV role as Mark Williams in Holby City… which, I believe, he’s leaving. I’m not a huge fan of the show, he’s leaving though. Robert Powell! Have you been struck off?

- (laughs) No. I’ve been there for 6 years – that was 5 years longer than I ever anticipated staying. It just struck me that it was probably time to move on and go back to roots.

- Are you able to do that, say “Well, I think I’d like to leave”, and they say “Well, you’re in the middle of the plot, you can’t go yet…”

- No, we’ve got plenty of time, we work on 12 months contract, and about 6 months before the end of your contract there will come up a discussion as to whether you’re staying or going… and I opted to go, really.

- It’s a good regular work, though?

- Yeah, but you can’t do anything… I mean, I’ve always said it all my life – I possibly disobeyed the rules for the last 5 years – but you can’t take that as a way of living. You can’t work just for the money, you’ve got to have something else, otherwise you might as well do another job, really.

- You’ve done so much in your life, and the role that brought you to the fore, all those years ago, the Jesus Christ role – has it followed you around forever… I mean, clearly, as I just mentioned it!

- (laughs) YES, it has followed me around forever.

- In a good or a bad way?

- No, in a good way. I was doing an interview for another radio program, I finished and then somebody said, ‘oh, can you get 5 minutes more, cause I’ve got somebody in for a Sunday program’, and the guy came on and said, ‘can I talk to you about Jesus Christ?’ And I said, ‘well, it was THIRTY-FIVE YEARS ago…’

- Do you bristle sometimes, do you want to say ‘I did loads of stuff before that and I’ve done loads of stuff since…’?

- I possibly did when I was a little closer to it but now it’s unbelievably flattering that thirty five years later people remember it.

- I always do that –if Martin Shaw comes on , I say, “Right, let’s talk immediately about The Professionals” – I just do that to annoy people.

- (laughs) You talk about his hair - that what he would talk about, that would really make him happy. (both laugh)

- Anyway, from 22nd of March Robert is taking to the stage at Bath Theatre Royal, in “Jeffrey Bernard is unwell”, in the play Robert takes on the lead character – a journalist, whose life is devoted to alcohol, gambling and women. Now this was really from an era where journalists worked * for getting their stories and their leads in pubs.

- Yeah, indeed, I think there was a tradition for that… for people occupying bar’s stools for a very long time and being able to file a pretty good material as a result of it, because everybody was in there and anybody who knew anybody was in the pub… I think times are changed now, a little more strict, which is unfortunate.

(see next comment)

Irene said...

- Describe how you see the character, in an actory kind of way for us…

- In an actory kind of way, Jeffrey Bernard is a man who is an alcoholic who spent whole of his life trying to kill himself through alcohol – as he called it, “a downhill struggle” – “reach for the ground”, it’s the title of his autobiography which I think is great. And he made it, but he actually lasted until he was about 67, before he managed to kill himself. He was a complete wreck…

- So you gonna have obviously make-up a little bit… you’ll have to look terrible…

- (laughs) Yeah… Going through what Keith Waterhouse has written in the play… and Keith was a friend as well, and another habitué of pubs and liked several bottles of wine… Going through what he has written, the man is a person who survived for a long time, he had four marriages, women found him irresistible, he was very attractive and the photographs of him are stunning - he looks like an actor. ** a girlfriend from Peter O’Toole from the Old Vic - and look what happened later – O’Toole ends up by playing him – brilliantly, I have to add. I never saw O’Toole play it but I can see it in my mind. I now go through the play desperately trying to commit it to memory – I have to shake off this shadow of O’Toole. .. Yeah, Bernard is a man who [felt] self-hatred which is an underlying thing with most alcoholics.

- He was a clever guy and a good journalist…

- He was a very good journalist and his column that he wrote for The Spectator called Low Life, which was really the personal anecdotes about his own, rather wretched experiences – but very very funny.

- You don’t see people like this anymore, do you?

- No, you don’t…

- And would they survive in a work place?

- No, they wouldn’t. I think they are other substances that you can use for stimulus but they’re not quite as obvious as alcohol. But I still think it’s probably… I gotta say I’m completely naïve ‘cause I discovered that it is far more widespread than I ever imagined. And people look at me with astonishment that I’m not aware of it.

- And the other thing is that you’re not a real doctor…

- (laughs) No, I’m not. ***

- Good luck with that.

- Thank you

- It’s 22nd of March, “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell”, Robert is the lead character, obviously, and it’s Theatre Royal in Bath. How long are you doing it?

- We’re going on the road for 11 weeks. So we’re coming to a theatre near you sometime in March, April or May.

- And possibly then it’s the West End, because it hasn’t been in West End for some time…

- That is an open book, you always keep that as a possibility. I mean, if it goes well enough, I would love to bring it further than 3 months.

- I’m still watching all the war shows you doing - could you just say, ‘in September ’39 Hitler finally invaded Poland”… in the voice?

- In September 1939 Hitler finally invaded Poland.

- See, how you can get better than that? That’s why we don’t get any work on history channel. (Robert laughs) You can see Robert’s final episode of Holby City tonight on BBC1 at 8 pm, today and you can see him onstage in “Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell” at the Theatre Royal in Bath from 22nd of March. … Good to see you. Robert Powell!

- Thank you very much.

* can’t get the word here

** can’t get what exactly he says but it should be equal to “Have stolen”, “Nicked” or something.

*** I think there’s something else host says in addition which amuses Robert even more, but I can’t get it behind their laughing. )