Alan Bennett reveals his love for Love Island during Camden mayor’s C4WS fundraiser

PUBLISHED: 09:02 16 April 2018

Alan Bennett after his fund raising talk at Friends House, with Camden mayor Cllr Richard Cotton

Alan Bennett after his fund raising talk at Friends House, with Camden mayor Cllr Richard Cotton


Of all the things you would expect to come from a talk by Alan Bennett, his love for Love Island is not one of them.

However the playwright, who lives in Primrose Hill, talked about just that, as well as his enjoyment of watching “trashy TV” during a fundraiser for Camden homeless charity C4WS on Thursday night.

The event, which raised around £10,000 for the charity, was organised by Camden mayor Richard Cotton, who is also Bennett’s local councillor in Primrose Hill.

During the event, Bennett read from his diaries on topics such as age, trains and politics.

One passage included a phone call he received from gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

“I’m moving to Grantham” said Titchmarsh, or so Bennett thought.

In fact the former Ground Force host was telling the 83-year-old “I’m having a grandson.”

He provided another example, when talking to a painter who said he “specialised in Ramsgate.” When Bennett queried this, and said he’d never been to the seaside town, his partner Rupert Thomas called from the other side of a shop “landscapes Alan, he said landscapes!”

On trains, he read a passage from his diary about his encounter with famed poet T.S Eliot at the Central Station in Leeds in 1964.

Eliot had seen a show from Bennett’s Beyond The Fringe, and his late wife had sent Bennett Eliot’s notes inside the program from their visit.

Eliot had said it was “pleasant to see this type of entertainment so successful.”

There were examples of the asides and social commentary he is well known for. On the Festival of Britain, he told the audience about his visit in 1951.

He said: “I had never seen colour until the Festival of Britain, having been born during the war.”

Speaking after the event, Cllr Cotton said: “As ever Alan Bennett was wonderful, witty and warm. He gave us a night to remember and he gave us hope because the money we raised will enable C4WS to expand their work helping homeless people rebuild their lives.

“I have now raised over £40,000 for C4WS since last May and I will continue to campaign against homelessness after I cease to be Mayor because I think it is a disgrace that so many people are sleeping in doorways in one of the richest cities in the world”.

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