Interview: Evening News (24 February 1978)

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

Ayckbourn's Happy Twenty-First

by Clare Colvin

"One professional committee man managed to string out the meetings for about four hours; so I wrote him into the play [Ten Times Table]. Everyone recognised him. On the first night, in Scarborough, people were nudging me and saying: 'Blimey, we know who that is.' And then I saw the actual councillor in the audience. I was dreading what he would say, but he was delighted, went to see himself in the play every night. The last thing he asked me was: 'Who's going to play Me in London?'"

"I don't do a lot of keyhole prying. I Just walk in at the wrong moment. I have been to a whole lot of dinners like that, where the host and hostess are dying to kill each other and just waiting until you go home.'"

"Marriage is not necessarily awful in itself. It's the awfulness of promising to give up one's life to one partner of the opposite sex. A lot of marriages are made at an early age when people should be restrained from making rash promises. You have not been through marriage until you start hurling things at each other. Particularly if, you marry at 19 - you grow up with each other and quarrel like children."

"It was not until I was 19 I realised there was anything north of Potters Bar. When I am writing a play I still translate anything I hear in Scarborough back into Southern. The situations and the people are similar. The difference is in the accent."

"If people leave their homes to see one of my plays, I feel reassured. Scarborough in January is a pretty formidable place to be."