A candid look into the mind of Alan Bennett, one of Britain’s best-loved writers, who at 82 shows no signs of slowing down.
Inspired by his acerbic and often hilarious diaries, this film shows Bennett as he’s never been seen before: following him to New York, the scene of his early triumph in Beyond The Fringe, to accept an award from the city’s Public Library; to Shepherd’s Bush to record an episode of Private Passions for Radio 3 and open up about the importance of music in his life; to his local community-run library in Primrose Hill which, he despairs, some would rather see turned into a Pizza Hut; to the East Coast railway line, which he’d like to see renationalised, and the village in Yorkshire he calls home.
Intimate encounters, filmed over the course of a year, reveal a writer who is still as angry and irreverent as he was in his 20s. Bennett speaks about his relationship with his partner of 23 years, Rupert Thomas, describes a recent trip to his barber in Camden Town, and confesses that he’s always wanted to keep a donkey.
Alan Bennett’s Diaries, BBC2, Christmas Eve, 9pm