Recalling a golden era with Alistair Sim

I have only recently found out that a blue English Heritage plaque was unveiled outside the former Hampstead home of the late great British film actor Alistair Sim in July 2008. I am delighted at this news because between 2003 and 2006 I wrote a book abo

I have only recently found out that a blue English Heritage plaque was unveiled outside the former Hampstead home of the late great British film actor Alistair Sim in July 2008.

I am delighted at this news because between 2003 and 2006 I wrote a book about the late great character actor Richard Wattis, who starred with Alistair Sim in the original St Trinians films, Left, Right and Centre and The Happiest Days of Your Life.

Others synonymous for starring with Alistair were Joyce Grenfell, Margaret Rutherford, Dilys Laye, Ian Carmichael, all great iconic names of the great period of Ealing and Elstree.

Alistair was a name on his own with a special way of making us all laugh and so natural with it. He was the original great Scrooge, long before Tommy Steele and the many other attempts which have adorned our TV screens over the years, and long before the present Disney version.


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I helped to commission a portrait of Richard Wattis in 2003, which I unveiled in 2004. It was painted by a local and talented artist called Gary Morgan and it now hangs proudly in the foyer of Wednesbury Art Gallery, the Midland town where Richard was born in 1912. With my book, there is now a written and artistic tribute to this well known character actor also.

They died within a year of each other, in 1975 and 1976. Richard received a memorial service at the Actors Church in Covent Garden in March 1975 and his plaque is on the wall alongside that of his friend and colleague Hattie Jacques.

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I would like to talk to anybody who was involved in the plaque project for Alistair's former home at 8 Frognal Gardens in Hampstead.

I can be contacted on 01922 - 627522 and/or by email at elandimpayne@uwclub.net

IAN PAYNE

Thornbury Road

Walsall, West Midlands

WS2 8JL

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