Friday, 16 January 2009

John Mortimer - a last word

John Mortimer, the English author and playwright, died today. He gave one of his last interviews to me, in April 2007. The piece was commissioned on a Thursday, for publication in that weekend's Scotland on Sunday newspaper. I had to find Mortimer, ring him, have a long chinwag, and then turn round 1,400 words by 10 the following morning. It worked out, simply because he was so tremendously obliging. It helped that I knew and liked his Rumpole and Titmuss books, but he was totally sensitve to my needs as well. I said to him: "Look John, I'd like to make it sound like I'm in the room with you. Do you still keep that glass of Guinness on your desk?" "Oh yes, dear boy, and I can almost hear my pigs grunting in the fields ..." Read how it all worked out in the piece below.

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