'The art of transformation is one of the great mysteries of acting, for the best actor is both recognisable as himself and convincing as someone else. Ronald Pickup, who has died aged 80, was an actor so luminous, so transparent, that you saw straight through him to the character he played, and out the other side" These words were written in the obituary of the actor, Ronald Pickup who died this year. They are spot on. His performances were consummate . Completely convincing and deeply satisfying. Whether he was playing the Archbishop of Canterbury in 'The Crown' or Neville Chamberlain in 'Darkest Hour' he had the ability to suspend disbelief. You forgot you were watching an actor and were wholly engaged with the character being portrayed : in both of the above cases that was a real person. And this is only to mention his film and television work. In the theatre he commanded the stage again and again. There was professional integrity in everything he did.
I didn't know until I read his obituary that he was a Leeds English graduate. Strange to think of him walking the University campus that I know so well and perhaps even rubbing shoulders with my late husband , himself an English graduate and still in the city in the late 50s.
Very little had changed in Leeds by the time I arrived in the early 70s. I have described it in my memoir as 'a one horse town' and that's what it felt like. The wool trade had collapsed and much of the tailoring industry had gone. It was yet to transform itself into the vibrant, 21st century city that it is today; a city that the hundreds of new students who arrive here each year quickly proclaim as 'cool', 'with it' and 'a great place.'
Places change. Do people change with them? I'm not sure. We quickly adapt to the new amenities and commercial outlets on offer but retain a stubborn nostalgia for 'how it used to be' even when we complained about all that at the time!
All of this is in my memoir. Here's the link to Red Door Press.