Interview: The Daily Telegraph Magazine (February 1975)

This page reproduces some of Alan Ayckbourn's significant quotes from the interview.

Scarborough Fare

by Robin Stringer

"I seem to be getting more fertile rather than less - which is nice. But I never know whether ideas are any good until I get them down on paper."

"He [
Stephen Joseph] was the | nearest I have ever met to a creative genius.

"I am very lazy. I need the pressures of a deadline. When I have an open-ended commission there are always so many alternatives that none get chosen, but a deadline forces me to take one of the alternatives."

"It's no fun writing them. It's just boring slog in the middle of the night. The pleasure is in creating with the actors, not re-writing the dialogue but shaping the play. One tends to cling for comfort to certain things, like having your own actors."

"Ten [actors] would be the most I would want to write for. I was an actor and hated small parts."

"At seven I was a cockney. Then my mother married the bank manager and my accent got better."

"When I left [Haileybury] my
drama teacher pulled the only string he had and managed to get me a job as assistant stage manager with Sir Donald Wolfit's company in Edinburgh at £3 a week."

"You learned to examine your craft [at the
BBC] because you had to explain to other writers submitting work what needed to be changed and why things didn't work"

"I am not very good at funny lines but I am quite good at presenting characters in a situation which viewed from the outside is funny but on the inside isn't. I was rather pleased with
Absent Friends - pleased to get comedy without actually working for it."