Interview: Country Living (August 1996)

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

Northern Conquest

by Martin Wainwright

"Going to the seaside when I was small meant that you had been good. When I got the job here [Scarborough], it was like a reward. I arrived in early June and the place was full of people with buckets and spades."

"Scarborough's always been noted for bed, board and romance and it didn't take long to get romantically entangled. It was a time of messing about on the beach, playing silly games on the sand with softballs, spending money in the arcades."

"We Scarborough residents say that in winter, the town returns to us. In summer, there are parts of town you avoid because of the crowds, and you fall back on places that only local people know. But in winter, you can walk almost anywhere, uninterrupted and peacefully. There's a cold, clear, sunny light and when the beaches are deserted, there's not a sound apart from the sea. Most wonderful. The sea can get pretty wild in winter, too, taking away large chunks of the coastline, not to mention people."

"When I first came here [Scarborough], very few people had cars and so you found most of your fun in the town. But I have got to know favourite places, coast-walking up to Robin Hood's Bay, or trying to find the Roman road on the moors. I always get lost."

"Yorkshire people are exceptionally non-intrusive. They respect privacy and there is an actual pride in not being effusive. Just about the only time I get approached is if I stop to look in a shop window, and someone thoughtfully decides: ah, he's wanting to be recognised, and comes up to say, 'Hello, excuse me, but aren't you Alan Ayckbourn?'"