Melvyn Bragg recalls his Oxford days

Veteran broadcaster and Hampstead local Melvyn Bragg found himself on the other side of the interview as he fielded questions on the role books have played in his life.

Speaking to his old friend and fellow presenter Piers Plowright at Heath Library, the pair revealed how their friendship was first forged over a drink on an Oxford University Shakespeare trip to Germany.

Then a Wadham history undergraduate, Melvyn played the drunkard Trinculo, in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, while Piers played Caliban. The duo share a memorable scene in which they become gently inebriated.

Recalling these university days, Piers said: “We first met in 1955, Melvyn was at Wadham and I was at Christchurch.

“We took the Tempest to Germany, it was incredible. We would pack out the opera house in Heidelberg. If was not long after the war and the Germans had a real thirst for culture.”

Melvyn is a patron of Keats Community Library group, which hopes to take over the running of the library in Keats Grove in May. He also spoke of his love of literature. British humourist P. G. Wodehouse and The Beano comic book were singled out for praise.