Interview: Doncaster Star (23 June 1990)

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

Alan The Conquerer Is Class Joker

by John Highfield

"I am middle class. I was born middle class and was brought up in Sussex, the stepson of a bank manager so you cannot get more middle class than that. Scarborough is not just middle class, though, and I actually live among the fishing community in the old town."

"You can try doing working class plays which eventually end up on the scrap heap, because that is not what brings audiences in. But it is very sad when you see the typical working class man dropping his wife at the theatre and picking her up afterwards and you know that if he came in he would have a good time."

"They [
The Norman Conquests] were written by another guy in another time. I would not hate them but I would just look at them like somebody looking down the wrong end of a telescope. I don't think I would even recognise some of them as mine and some are so old you have forgotten them."

"I find I am very lucky in that respect. Some writers have to slog at it day after day but I tend to let the whole thing build up into a heap and then churn it out."

"I don't know why I agreed to let Michael Winner do it [the film of
A Chorus of Disapproval] apart from the fact that we got on very well and he is the complete opposite of me - he made me laugh a lot. He was very persistent and, against my better judgement, I agreed but I don't think anybody could have done it. Most of my stuff is deliberately stagey yet I do use film techniques on stage which become totally boring when you put them back on film again. The trouble with film writers is that they come pretty low down in the pecking order of things and I don't fancy giving away comfortable control on the artistic side."

"I go through severe depression if I see a production of my plays I don't like. I don't know quite what to say and I never convince anybody with my terribly forced smiles."

"It would be a nice thought but it will always be the play you least expected to do well that survives and if one is remembered it won't be for the thing you want to be remembered for."