Dramatised portrait of the popular comedian, who craved fame and recognition throughout his career but was never comfortable with his own identity.
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This programme contains some strong language.
# Joe he was a young cordwangler
# Monging greebals did he go
# And he loved a bogler's daughter
# By the name of Chiswick Flo
# Vain she was and like a grusset
# And her gander parts were fine
# But she sneered at his cordwangle
# As it hung upon the line
# So he stole a woggler's moulie
# For to make a wedding ring
# But the Bow Street runners caught him
# And the judge said you will swing
# Oh, they hung him by the postern
# Nailed his moulie to the fence
# For to warn all young cordwanglers
# That it was a grave offence
# There's a moral to this story
# Though your cordwangler be poor
# Keep your hands off others' moulies
# For it is against the law. #
Two whiffs of that and you're greedy.
Who is it?
-Who do you think it is?
-I don't know. It could be anyone.
Well, it ain't, it's me.
Don't play a silly bugger, open up.
What do you want, Louie?
-How are you?
-I'm the same as I was this morning.
-Where've you been?
-Hospital. I'll tell you later. My kettle's on the boil.
Are you eating tonight?
-What've you got me?
-What d'you want?
-I'm all out of small veg.
-What d'you ask me for then?
I could open a tin of some sort.
What do you do all day?
I don't remember. This and that.
Well, you want to do less of this and more of that. No veg.
-It's a disgrace.
-Well, I'll make you a cheese omelette, then?
If I can digest it.
-What time are you coming round then?
-Good. We'll watch the telly together. You choose.
There'll be nothing on. Never is.
MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND
ROADWORKS COMING FROM OUTSIDE
Here, shut your awful noise. There's a respectable person trying to get his rest up here.
Hello, Kenny, me old poofter.
-How you doing?
-Same as usual.
Doing it alone. By myself.
Tragic an' all. How's that hole of yours coming along?
-Nearly done with it, have you?
-We're nearly done.
-Should be off tonight.
-Really? Well, you could have fooled me.
Positively massive it is. Well, If you need any help fillin' it, your hole that is, give me a bell.
Ta ra, mate!
Expecting me to behave like that.
It's positively a disgrace.
Diaries are written so that one has a record of events
and because there are certain events one wants to remember.
There is perhaps also the element of the confessional.
That's what is so-o-o delightful.
It's what the self wants to say.
Me hair looks nice.
Like spun gold.
Hairdresser done a lovely job.
You've got to have a trade, boy. You take it from me.
There's no point in dreamin' your way through life.
'It's ironic that in so many ways I resembled my father.
'We're alike in so many things.
Both of us shared a sense of inferiority.
Mark my words, son.
Hair. It always needs doing.
You got to have a trade.
-Hair. It always needs doing.
-The old man will hear you.
-You've got to have a trade, boy. A trade.
Take no notice of him. He's a man. Not like us.
Look, Kenny, it's finished.
-What the soddin' hell is that?
-It's a dress.
-Who do you think?
"Kenneth Williams, with his mincing step and comical demeanour as Angelica,
"was a firm favourite with the school audience,
"to whom his snobbishness and pert vivacity made great appeal."
Now, what have you got to say?
He looks like a girl.
He looks nothing like a girl.
I do not look like a girl.
What do you look like, then?
Would not have missed military service for the world.
Learnt about torpedoes. Very interesting.
Joining the entertainment corps opened my eyes to many possibilities, that's for sure.
Wrote to The Stage newspaper today, asking them to insert the following advertisement.
"Rep work required by experienced male actor. Age 22.
"Height 5 foot 9 inches.
"Many different voices.
"A natural performer."
MUSIC ECHOES # Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington
# Don't put your daughter on the stage
# Her profession is overcrowded And the struggle is pretty tough
# And admitting the fact She's burning to act
# That isn't quite enough
# She has nice hands To give the wretched girl her dues
# But don't you think her bust is too developed for her age...? #
Ever since I left you, Sybil, my life has been intolerable.
I am wretched. Utterly wretched...
I feel as if...as if...
What is the matter, Kenneth?
Oh, I forgot it, didn't I?
I'm awfully sorry.
If you fluff a line, dear boy, make it up until you find your place.
Never let the audience know where you went wrong.
Never remove your mask. Understand?
-Yes, well yes, that's correct.
Never, I tell you. Never.
Ever since I left you, Sybil, my life has been intolerable.
Utterly intolerable. I am wretched.
LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE Bloody hell. Tell me I'm dreaming.
'Well, if you're not, dear, I certainly am.'
I am. I am wretched!
The City And The Pillar is a book I should not care to have missed for the world.
There is a strange, wholesome quality to the character of Jim.
For the first time, I read about that thing called...queerness
in what seems to be a thoroughly truthful light.
More and more trouble in my mind about myself.
This queerness seems to become more and more frightening.
Oh, get on with it.
'I am to attend audition in West End on Friday...'
-Good luck, Kenneth.
'Perhaps he is the answer to my dreams.'
But break my heart for I must hold my tongue...
The crapola that's talked about something being just around the corner
really eats into one's heart.
And I marvel at my ability to put up with it.
I am now so utterly superior to those around me,
yet will anybody care to notice?
Poking your nose into posh books won't help you find a decent job.
And where would you have me poke my nose, pray?
Don't use that plummy voice on me.
-You want to give it up.
-Give what up?
Whatever he gets up to with pansies and whores.
I thank you for the advice, Father, both spiritual and theatrical.
My Kenny's unique.
And don't you ever forget it!
Your majesty is anointed king at last.
"Arts Theatre, London. Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.
"Mr Kenneth Williams is a brilliantly fussy dauphin.
"A skinny and abandoned lap dog. He will go far."
A classical actor.
Good. Because that's exactly what I need - a legit thespian with no funny voices.
'Ladies and gentleman. we present Hancock's Half Hour!'
AUDIENCE LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Good morning, cheeky.
Wanna come to the pictures with me?
No. Hop it. Hop it. Go on, get out of it. Go on. Go on.
Don't be like that.
I saw you wink at me.
'I didn't wink at you, me false eyelash popped out.
'Ooooo, stop messing about.
-'Buzz off. Buzz off. Hop it.
-I think you're smashin'.
'I'll smash you in a minute.
'Ooh, I like girls with a bit of spirit...'
LOUD, BRAYING LAUGHTER
Where's my bleedin' supper?
'A disaster feels imminent.
'It seems as if their whole marriage is cracking up like some jerry-built house.
'But then I can't remember it any other way. Why does she stick with him?
'He is so emotionally inadequate in every way.
'He still insists on this heavy-handed cock-of-the-walk stuff
'which is hot air and sickening, because underneath he's just like me -
'always vying for her affections.
'When will the scales fall from his eyes? The day I was born, Charlie wasn't needed any more.
'He'd served his purpose.
'Louie has ME now.'
-'Oh no, it's him again!'
'Only at this juncture of my professional life can I state my worth as a human being.
'Because I see that in art is man's striving for the truth, for order,
'for the sense which has evaded him in the stupidity of existence.
'Only in recognition of this truth in art can my respect be commanded.'
-He had me in stitches!
Ohh! Look at that!
It's our new 17-inch console, madam.
I'd have thought 17 inches would be enough to console anyone!
-What's going on?
-Installing a television set.
-What television set?
I didn't purchase any television.
-You didn't, but Kenny did.
-It's a present.
A gift from me to Mother.
It's a waste of money.
My Kenny can afford it.
-'If I'm not sharing with her, who am I sharing with?
-'What do you want?
-I'm your room-mate.
-Oh, no you're not!
'Oh no, stop messing about.
'Mm. Nice room, isn't it?'
The show went very well tonight, Tony, don't you think?
-For some of us it did.
-The audience were wonderful.
Why the funny voices?
-I beg pardon?
You have four voices. Your snide "stop messing about",
your plummy voice, your upper-class twit and your cockney.
That's about it, ain't it?
A great range for a classical actor, don't you think?
Yes, well, the audience look forward to my voices, don't they? Very popular.
Of course. Playing to the gallery.
Any clown can do that. Any cheap comic.
Audiences need to be nourished on something purer, Kenny.
And we have to teach them, take them to a higher plain of laughter.
The comic potential of a man is infinite, Kenny.
And so's my bum hole, Tony.
I think what an audience wants is to be beguiled.
As Shaw once said, and I have appeared in Shaw,
"An actor must illuminate the dark corners of the mind."
I think if you engage them, they will accept it totally, whatever the manner in which you are playing.
After all, comedy and tragedy are only two sides of the same coin.
However broad the performance might be, an audience will come with you if they believe you.
They'll say is it any good and do I believe? If not, you're dead.
It's a terrible risk you take being a performer, a tightrope walk.
And you take that risk nightly.
Don't you agree, Tony?
I'll have your melon balls, followed by the creamed chicken.
Thank you very much.
Oh, isn't he nice, Peter?
Really nice manner. Oh, thank you.
Lovely boy he is.
Say hello to the agent, duckie.
Do you have to, Kenneth?
Have to what, Peter?
-Talk so loud. The whole restaurant can hear you.
Oh, well, they shouldn't be listening.
I expect they probably recognise me from appearing on the television.
Not for much longer I'm afraid.
Oh? How do you mean?
I've had a word from the BBC.
They want to cut back your characters.
He says you're a grotesque.
A grotesque. Who did? The slur.
Hancock did. They want to make the show more realistic. Less of a cartoon.
He doesn't think you're natural enough for his show.
Well, of course I'm not natural.
I'm supernatural, I am!
I'm surre-e-e-eal, Peter! I am!
The leaf that blossoms, dies and falls from the tree is, in the falling, tragic.
But I am the leaf that has not yet blossomed.
I am that blighted leaf.
My tragedy lies in the knowledge of my failure to bloom.
I come always near,
but never into, truth.
It's your agent.
Funny how things can change in the wink of an eye.
Oh, I say.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
'You seem to collect voices like others collect stamps.
'Do you borrow them from people or do you just pluck them from the air?
Oh, yes. They are taken from people I have known. Pinched, I suppose.
The snide voice - the stop messing about one - was taken from a boy I met, a boy working at the mint.
He was describing how you were searched to make sure you hadn't taken anything that you shouldn't,
and he was describing with a perpetual smile on his face.
"You have to be very careful because...
"otherwise they make you take your clothes off."
So I thought that was a very good idea. The voice, I mean.
Not him taking off his clothes.
For all my talk on television, I still haven't matured in any real way.
Sexually I'm as juvenile as ever and unresolved.
Given a sign, I would act on it...
but no sign ever comes.
-Thank you for the drink.
-Don't mention it.
-Would you like another one?
Might I use your lavatory?
-Nobody is ever allowed to use my lavatory. My lavatory and its paper are my own.
When did you last scrub those nails?
-Your nails. Such dirt.
-I don't remember.
-No? Well, you should. Positively filthy.
Shall we go somewhere else?
Yes, I think you should leave.
I think that people who manifest their love for you physically
when they know your lack of reciprocation are abominably selfish.
All this touching and kissing which seems so popular among others passes me by.
My friends know I'm a virgin and say I make up for it by flirting.
To them, everyone must do something or die.
Perhaps I am dead, already.
Celibacy is an essential quality in my own character.
I must never allow myself to be vulnerable in the sexual sense.
That kind of humiliation would be detrimental in every way.
Oh, the dirt.
Obviously, the sex life of consenting adults of the same sex has nothing to do with anyone else.
And the present law is so primitively barbaric
that it gives rise to more trouble than it's worth.
I am the leaf that has not blossomed.
People used to say that matches were made in heaven.
Nowadays they're more likely to be made by computer, and a firm has recently opened
called, Bona Soul Mates, who have offered to do it electronically.
And I decided to pay them a visit.
Hello, anybody there?
Oh, hello, I'm Julian and this is my friend Sandy.
Oooh, hello, yes! Hello, Mr Horne!
We're your Bona Soul Mates, we are.
-Yes, our motto is for every omi, there's a pol...
We guarantee to match you with the perfect partner.
A sort of marriage bureau are you?
To find you the perfect partner, we fill in your particulars.
Yes, we fill 'em in, you see.
-Would you mind answering a few questions, Mr Horne?
-I don't mind.
These questions are worked out by a psychiatrist to determine your personality.
-First of all, what sort of car do you drive, Mr Horne?
A car is your sort of virility symbol.
The sort of car you drive indicates the sort of person you are.
-Sean Connery, he drives a great big powerful sports car.
-Very butch. Very potent.
-What sort do you drive?
-I think that tells us all we need to know, Mr Horne.
-All we need to know!
I got the 73 up to the Angel today
and called on Joe Orton, playwright, and his friend.
It was frugal, to say the least.
-Would you care for a ham sandwich, Mr Williams?
Ken made them especially.
I make all the food around here.
While I write plays.
Who does your decor?
They're collages. Art.
Mm. Two artists under the same small roof. Must cramp your style?
We like it this way.
Ever so cosy.
Has been for years.
-This ham is rather good, don't you think?
-I do love your new play, Joe, Funeral Games.
-I've changed the title.
I think up all Joe's titles.
It's very good, Joe.
He is, often nowadays. By all sorts.
Who's your favourite, Mr Williams?
I prefer Miss July.
I would like very much to have been born handsome.
Not for its own sake, but for the sake of being attractive to others.
I've no doubt that this is one superficial excuse for more profound complaints within.
So much is because I think my face and body unprepossessing.
This is, of course, the paradox of my own nature.
The thing that I am, being the thing which I despise.
But I think my despite is justified.
This Roman tunic I'm wearing in the film
is really quite sexual, don't you think, Joan?
Very you, Kenny.
-Oh, Kenny, not again. Put it away!
I didn't see a cock the whole time I was in Leicester.
-No. Except my own.
And that glimpsed only briefly in a cracked mirror.
-I've made a habit of my mirror.
-The Barclay's, yes.
Wank. Cockney rhyme.
Mental cock, I leave it alone.
Nothing can touch my fantasies.
Positively le-e-ewd at times, in my mind's eye.
We're going to Morocco for it.
Tangier is certainly the place for relaxation during a mild winter.
-You should come.
-I don't think your Kenneth would approve, do you?
The more the merrier I say.
-Yes, but does he?
-I'm over 21 you know.
Only in a bad light. Today, you could play a boy of sweet 16.
Oh, you want locking up, you do.
-I already have been, Kenny.
She will be with her pants down and her tie wrapped around her ankles.
-I can't say I approve.
-Not many people do.
That's what makes the prospect of having him all the more entertaining.
It's irreligious and immoral.
-Like my play, heh?
Certainly audiences will be mortally offended should I appear.
You're going to do it, then?
Loot went down as I feared it would.
Shocked the audience to buggery.
Joe's not here. He's gone out.
Hiding from me, is he?
When do you expect him back?
-Depends on what he finds.
-Might I come in?
-I'm doing haddock.
-For tea? Lovely.
-There isn't enough for three.
After what I've been through in that play of his, I deserve fresh salmon.
There's something different about you today, Kenneth.
Joe bought it for me. He said it suited me.
-Do you like it?
-It doesn't matter what I think.
-Just a smidgin.
The stomach's playing up. I could blow off like the wind.
-Thanks for sharing that with me.
Joe's having trouble with his dick.
He wants a good doctor.
His heart's in the right place.
Shame his dick isn't.
I'm sure he...would never leave you.
Joe told me.
You've been through too much together, he said.
How very magnanimous of him.
I'd be grateful for that.
-Some kind of love.
He has an inability to love.
A horror of involvement.
He needs to be utterly free to write...
But you can't live without love.
Love is involvement.
When I'm not indulged, loved by an audience,
I always feel the need to run.
Where do you run to?
I've no idea.
To a friend's habitat, I suppose.
Share a bit of haddock, eh? Bit of haddock, eh!
What you need out of life, Kenny, is a good fuck up the arse.
-I should say so.
-Would that have helped me to perform any better in your play?
Farce is very close to tragedy.
Is that how you see me?
That fella's got his eye on you.
No, I won't indulge, Joe.
I've always equated it with...
I think the natural goodness and dignity of man is bound up with regard to certain qualities...
You sound like the Oxford Dictionary.
..and, if you use someone else physically with no other motive
but sexual stimulus, then you degrade them.
You take away their natural goodness and dignity and, of course, your own.
Filth fires the soul.
Bend over, Kenny. Stretch your toes a little before it's too late.
You play at your games, Joe, and I'll play at mine.
"What do we any of us have but our illusions?
"And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them?"
-Is that right?
-Yes, it's one of the secrets of celibacy -
the preservation of the illusion,
don't you think?
I'll tell you what I think.
"Nice arse. Pert and juicy."
I hoovered the carpet in the lounge dressed only in bathing trunks.
It was very daring...
and the atmosphere was charged with sex.
If anyone had walked in, they would have been irresistibly attracted.
DOORBELL RINGS, HE SWITCHES HOOVER OFF
KNOCK AT DOOR
Who is it?
What do you want?
I was just passing and I thought I'd call to see you.
Why? You've never called before.
Just being friendly.
Don't be like that.
I don't want to see you.
It's too late...to call.
I won't forget this.
When I got home from the theatre,
I discovered a small thing,
crawling on my sheets.
It was panic stations.
I put it into DDT.
Watched it die. Then sprayed the entire room.
The bed, the mattress, the frame, the linen, everything with DDT.
God knows what the thing was.
Or where it came from!
The horror, nonetheless.
-Good night, Mr Williams.
-She likes you.
-No. I've relegated my desires. Locked them up for good.
I don't want to mar my public image.
-I want the public's plaudits, not its opprobriums.
I just put it all into the theatre, that's enough for me.
-It's where I belong.
Goodnight, Syd, did you manage a wank?
And the fame and fortune isn't bad either.
-Oh yes, the best thing I did for anyone all year was to buy Louie that fur coat.
-A Siberian squirrel.
She does looks lovely in it though, doesn't she?
-What's the matter with you?
-Nothing's the matter with me. It's your father.
He swallowed some poison. Cleaning fluid.
What's he done that for?
I keep it in the bathroom cabinet.
A Gees Linctus bottle in case of emergencies.
He had a dry, tickly cough and he reached out for some quick relief.
Will he live?
Well, he seems a peaky colour, don't he?
I'm ever so sorry, Louie, about Charlie.
Yeah. Thanks, Joan.
Terrible, isn't it?
He kept saying, "Take these knives out of my stomach."
it was a rat trap of a marriage.
The doctor told Louie his brain was damaged,
the heart was impaired and his kidneys in very bad condition.
In reality, it was a good thing, his death. Pass the butter.
-He'd never have recovered, would he, Louie?
Not after swallowing poison.
Almost a vegetable.
-The show went very well tonight, don't you think? Audience very appreciative of me.
-They loved you!
I thought the second half was fantastic.
Louie is to move into the flat next door. It's the obvious answer.
Keep an eye on each other.
Who is it?
Who do you think it is?
I said five o'clock.
It's three minutes to.
Your omelette's on the table.
Come back when I'm ready to eat it. On time.
-I've left home now.
-Then you'll have to wait your rush.
Good evening. How lovely to see you, Louie.
Hurry up. Omelette! It'll be congealed.
The news ain't good, is it?
The usual murder and mayhem.
It's no good, I can't eat it.
-Can't eat what?
Cheese bloody omelette.
My lingering pain.
This atrocious farting is truly foul.
Oh, I'm in purgatory.
Oh my poor boy.
The pain never stops.
It's worse than anything I can remember. The doctor...
he mentioned some kind of operation.
-He mentioned some time after the 25th of April.
What sort of operation?
A knife in the belly. Open up my gut.
-Will it work?
-Even if it don't work, I can't be any worse than I am at the moment, can I?
-I expect not.
Eat your omelette, darlin', before it gets cold.
BBC wanted me to go on TV and talk about it.
I said no.
I couldn't talk about Joe in public,
not at the moment.
Lots of people on about Joe's death.
Everyone phoning and asking the same thing, "Why?"
I think the motive was Halliwell loved Joe.
Halliwell felt that something very big and important threatened that love.
He couldn't kill that, so he killed Joe Orton.
This is the only thing that makes any sense,
if there is any sense in murder.
The whole mess that is existence and mundane things is shot through and transformed by redemption.
This is what Jesus meant about redemption.
It's the only way, one real act of love.
Please let me be capable of it.
Just give me one chance.
Don't let me be a moral coward...
Who is that dish in jeans, Joan?
New sparks boy - Alfie.
He certainly know how to tweak a light bulb, doesn't he?
I think you're going to be a fan of mine, aren't you?
Such outspokenness. Well...
I'm like that, me - forward.
You've got quite a few fans on this unit already, Charlie Hawtrey for one.
He buys you chocolates, I believe.
Not my type.
I think you're in there, Kenny.
You think so?
LAUGHTER AND MOANING >
He's 27, unmarried and lives in Catford.
What a honey.
You've either got it, dear,
or you haven't.
-Thank goodness my Kenny's not like that.
It's sad, isn't it?
he's not a homosexual.
Now what does he call it?
He's a asexual, that's it.
He don't do anything mucky.
A very clean-living boy.
I've certainly gone off him.
It seems extraordinary now that I was even bothered.
He's an ignorant lout and that's all there is to it.
Such lewd behaviour.
To think I used to think you were a great dish and got an erection
when I was near you, but now it has all died completely! So there!
-Good job it was only a mental affair.
Still, the heartache.
Well, the bum was a joke yesterday, I can tell you.
And after the bowel motion I thought I should go demented or something.
And we all know why, don't we? Fiddling about.
But thank goodness, after the ointment and the suppository I shoved up,
things have finally quietened down.
I was able to venture into the street looking like most pedestrians.
Nobody actually screamed out, "Got a touch of the farmer's, have you?
"Farmer Giles! Got a touch of the farmers?"
Then I said to the chemist, "Be careful, there's enough talcum powder up there
"that if I blow off, everyone will be covered in dust.
-And she said, quite curtly I thought, "Rather you than me," and rang up the till.
Have you tried Milk of Magnesia for it, dear?
Do you mind, Joan, I'm talking here.
Listen to her. Can't get a word in edgeways.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I tried something new this morning.
Put some foot powder up there.
Can't do any more harm, can it?
Let's see how that affects it, eh, Joan?
Penny for your thoughts.
-The reason for most of the smut in this world is boredom, isn't it, Joan?
Yes. People like to attribute it to reasons more profound,
but in my opinion it's people's conceit that seeks profundity in reasons for behaviour, isn't it?
I wouldn't know, I'm not that bright.
Bad day was it?
I always have a bad day, performing in such crapola!
When I think of the shameless way I behave in these studios,
the dirty mimes, the dirty songs, the obscene dialogue and...
The crowds that gather around you like a family.
Marry me, Joan.
-There'll be nothing messy.
Just friendship, companionship.
You've got your mother for that, Kenny.
Yes, and you both get on, don't you?
I need a little bit more than that, lovey.
What else is there?
I haven't given up hope yet, you know. I'm only 43.
-Where there's life, there's hope.
Besides, it wouldn't work out.
You'd never be able to accept my tights drip-drying in your sink, would you?
You'd grow to hate me with all my female paraphernalia on show.
Perhaps you're right.
I know I'm right.
I can read you like a book, Kenny.
A love story, am I?
A love story.
You've got a spastic colon.
You make it sound like I've won the lottery!
'He told me he'd keep his eye on it.
'I told him everything about my predicaments.
'He said I should find a suitable companion to share my life with, not to worry.'
You don't have to go too far, Mr Williams. A little shared mutual masturbation won't hurt you.
-I thank you for your professional advice, Doctor.
Mind you, better to find someone older than yourself, not someone who's after your money.
I sat alone in the park thinking of likely lovers.
But not a type entered my head.
Lovely day for it, don't you think?
A walk in the park.
All this excrement.
It's a disgrace.
MUSIC PLAYS SOFTLY
Oh, what can you say at the end of the day?
Was the plot so sound or the lines profound?
Was there rather less grain than chaff?
Oh, what can you say at the end of the day?
You can say you made them laugh.
The essence of being funny is confidence. A buoyancy.
My role in life is played out totally without credibility
and so, of course, one falls back on personality playing
and all the same old...
'The press call seems to be going very well. We seem to have got away with it again.'
I play the part of Thomas Cromwell,
privy seal to King Henry VIII and protector of the crown jewels!
-Mr Williams, could I have another word?
What are you doing, continually appearing in these sort of films?
Having a bloody good time, dear.
Why are you continually associated with this chamber pot kind of comedy?
Well, in our society, there was and always should be room for all kinds of entertainment,
if it works on its own level, and that the only charge that would be taken seriously by us
would be that the comedy, the burlesque in this case, didn't work, it wasn't funny. ..Don't you think?
-But that's my point.
Is your kind of comedy still funny?
'I sometimes feel I am so useless.
'I'm slowly splintering as a personality.
'Feel as though I'm stuck together with stamp paper.'
Kenneth, it's your turn to begin. The subject - stiff upper lip.
You have 60 seconds as usual, and your time starts now.
I have actually tried this myself at home and one evidently comes to resemble a ventriloquist's dummy.
# Underneath the lamplight
# Beneath the barrack door... #
-Kenneth, you've been challenged.
-Who challenged me?!
-But I haven't finished, you great nit.
I'm supposed to discuss it, you great fool. Interrupting me before I've even started...
'Oh, dear. I think my star is on the wane, while all around me the rubbish proliferates.'
-Who let this tat in here?
The Carry Ons used to be my mainstay.
As long as they were there I never had to worry.
I fell to musing on my condition.
I can't have sex cos I just can't cope on that level
and so I'm only really left with work.
-Who is it?
-Peter. Do you want to go on the television and chat with Michael Parkinson?
Certainly not. North country nit.
# Oh, honey, picture me
# Upon your knee
# With tea for two
# And two for tea... #
'There is the endless question - will I remain solvent?
'Will I last out until I am able to retire?
'My whole life is trying to make it up to her.
'Trying to erase all the sadness and the loneliness and only succeeding in making more loneliness,
'cos the nights I don't spend with her serve to emphasise the others, or vice versa.'
There's nobody in the world like my Kenny.
'Awful dreams of Louie saying goodbye forever.'
# ..And start to bake a sugar cake... #
What would I do without you?
# ..For you to take For all the boys to see... #
Peter Eade's secretary rang.
Thames Television, Mavis Nicholson chat show will raise the fee to £100.
Oh, all right.
But this is a pyrrhic victory.
-It's a comfort to me, Kenneth Williams, to learn that you always keep a diary.
What's the saddest thing, when you read them, that you find in your diary?
-That continually occurs in mine is depression.
-Like saying you'd want to kill yourself or something?
Oh yes. I often put down stuff about suicide.
How would one go about it
and what would be the best method?
All that kind of thing, you know.
Looking back, it's often, you know...
-Why do you think you'd want to kill yourself?
Well, one would think it at the time because of an extremely low state...
of morale. And so one does actually write something down, about what's practical.
In terms of how one should go about it.
After all, one tries to remain... cheerful.
He's been described as everything from an angry dowager to a wasp with adenoids.
Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Mr Kenneth Williams.
I didn't want to do this stinking rotten play in the first place!
I'm sick to death of your complaints, Kenneth.
You complain about the production, you complain about the cast, you complain about the lines.
You complain about every bloody thing.
When you're in a long run, Peter,
the play lives with you, day and night.
And if the conditions under which you perform
are continually frustrating, then it ends in driving you to dementia
and a nervous breakdown.
Have you seen the Larry Grayson show?
-A complete crib of your act.
-And John Inman is doing the same thing on the BBC.
They're finding other people to do what you do, Kenneth.
And cheaper, in every sense.
Nevertheless, you must realise you're not as unique as you once were.
The problem is, Kenneth...
it's got about how difficult it is to fit you into a company.
People find you a bit of a problem, your peculiar ways...
Oh, the penny has finally dropped for them, has it?
I've never bloody fitted in, Peter, have I?
I've always been bloody peculiar!
Strung out on a limb!
That's what makes me so grotesque!
I feel quite peaceful and unworried.
It is odd. One minute I'm thinking I'll never act again and then I don't bother about it at all.
Tomorrow, a voiceover for Unigate Milk.
DOORBELL RINGS AGAIN
I've had a terrible shock.
I just met Louie in the street and she said, "'Scuse me, I know your face, what's your name?"
She didn't recognise me.
Happens all the time.
What are you doing, not recognising Joanie?
-A life-long friend.
-My skirt's too tight.
-What's the matter with her?
-I'm giving it to the maid.
Don't worry. It'll pass. Thanks, Joan.
'Peter Eade phoned with yet another big television commercial.'
-'He mentioned not only Brooke Bond, Rumbelows and Creda...'
'..but also Timex watches, the Post Office and Cinzano.
'Yesterday was PG Tips. David Frost-type voice.
'Dubbing a chimpanzee.'
What would you have me do?
Eat bland, mushy foods and chew well.
Thank you, Doctor.
I remember thinking as I lay in bed...
..I am falling...
I am falling.
All my life has been the process of falling.
I know what Stevie Smith meant.
They all think I'm waving...
..but I'm drowning!
My whole career has been the waving.
'I'm a cult, I am. I'm a cult.'
I've been eating at myself for years, just living off body fat.
And people say, "All he does now is go on and tell those old stories we've all heard before
"with his usual lavatory gags and camp blether - pathetic!"
LOUIE SNORES >
The feeling is of a clamp under the heart. And there is sweating.
And they've opened another lesbian restaurant.
Yes, they're all over the place now.
Everybody's at it.
Lebanese, you silly cow.
You'll be sorry you spoke like that to me when I'm not here.
-What do you mean, when you're not here?
-When I'm gone. Dead.
# Bloo is the colour Bloo is the name... #
You know I care for you, don't you, Lou?
As I care for no-one else in the world.
Pass the butter.
That's the reason I'm totally uninhibited when I'm talking to you.
I can say what I like.
I can be myself with you.
# Bloo is the colour
# Bloo is the name... #
You've never given me a kiss.
You've never come up to the guardroom where I sleep.
I'm afraid the gastroscopy shows there is an ulcer.
A huge ulcer in the same place.
What you've got to decide is whether you can go on taking the pills or have the operation.
Yes, you've got to remember, having the operation is important.
The timing of the operation is crucial.
After all, you're no spring chicken.
What are you doing?
What does it look like I'm doing?
I'm brewing the tea.
How did that get in there?
If this situation of loneliness and despair persists,
I will have to do either pantomime or summer season.
Blackpool could be nice.
What time are you stopping till?
-I'm not stopping.
-Oh. I'm going to be left on my own again tonight?
-You'll be fine. I've marked up your Radio Times.
-There'll be nowt on.
-I'll switch your electric blanket on, shall I?
-I'll never notice.
I'm always cold nowadays. My feet and bum don't register anything.
Yes. That's true.
-What time would you like your tea?
-I've had my cup of tea.
In the morning. When will I fetch you a tea?
Let's play it by ear. Goodnight, Lou.
-I love you.
I love you.
Kenny, have I got any sugar left?
You're sweet enough.
I've very little time for illness.
I don't mind about dying, not at all.
But I'm frightened to death about pain.
I have a secret contempt for all weakness, including my own.
Well, the cheek of it.
Didn't even bother to wave goodbye.
Could have waited for me.
Had meal with Louie at 5.30.
Saw the news. Watched dreary saga of murder and mayhem.
By 6.30 the pain in the back was pulsating as never done before.
So this, plus the stomach trouble combines to torture me.
Oh, what's the bloody point?
What's the bloody point?!
I've got you a cup of tea.
SHE RINGS DOORBELL
It's how you like it - sweet.
Are you there, son?
Kenneth Williams was found dead from an overdose of barbiturates, Thursday 14th April 1988.
The Coroner asked...
"Could the pills have been taken accidentally?"
The doctor replied...
"It is possible, but not likely."
The Coroner recorded an open verdict.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
A witty, bright drama adapted from Kenneth Williams's diaries. It's a journey inside the mind of one of British radio, television and film's most popular, peculiar and comic performers. One of its most tragic too.
Spanning his entire life, this is the story of Williams's career and private life. It is also a behind-the-scenes look at Williams, not only recreating some of his greatest performances, but also giving a candid and poignant insight into his professional hopes, personal upsets and sexual frustrations of a man who was uncomfortable in his own skin.
The screenplay is rude, arch, uncompromising and hilarious. Michael Sheen delivers a tour-de-force performance as 'the man of a thousand voices'.