Musings of a book event organiser
Thursday, 30 August 2012
Kenneth Allsop look-alike
There was one of those recurring interviews on BBCR4 this morning about how to get off heroin or methodone addiction. Robert Redford look-alike Kenneth Allsop (pictured above - disregard the difference in hair colour and specs, believe me there is a craggy coolness in common) was a childhood pinup, from his regular appearances on the early evening BBCTV news magazine programme 'Tonight'. As a young journalist in Hertfordshire in the 1960's, I went to interview him in his home near St Albans and was surprised when he mentioned casually that he was addicted to morphine, as a result of continuing pain from the amputation of a leg - a WWII injury. Reading about him now on the web, I realise that he was also a notable writer about the countryside and friend of Henry 'Tarka the Otter ' Williamson. I remember him vividly. The impression I had was of someone whose experience of life so far transcended my own at that time that interviewing him was uphill work, but also a profound indifference to celebrity. Until today, I had buried in memory what I must have known at the time, that he committed suicide in 1973, three years after he had moved to Dorset and five or six years after I met him.