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n e w s

"You could not be in his presence an hour
without the sense that you had seen as good a thing as is made."
- A description of Thomas Hardy that also applied to Alan Bates.
Alan's family have placed these words on his grave.

 Welcome to the Alan Bates Archive, created in 1997 to document the work of Sir Alan Bates, CBE on stage, in films, and on television.

For a few days at the end of December, I have removed the usual news page items, to mark the ninth anniversary of Alan's death. The normal page contents will return after Alan's birthday in February.

Alan's Candle

Eight years ago we spent a fortnight in England during the holidays. My husband Tom and I were in London with our daughter for a while, and then drove to Somerset, where we had rented a 15th century barn, for a Christmas house party with Duncan and Rosemary Geddes (Alan's secretary).
It was a happy time - the weather was mild, London was festive, and Alan seemed finally on the mend after several months of recovery from hip replacement surgery. His knighthood would be announced in a week.
He was still visiting his orthopaedist regularly, but could joke about the cane he sometimes still used. One afternoon he came in with a gift bag. "I was leaving my doctor's surgery," he said, "when I realized that it would be nice to give you all something to remember me by in the country at Christmas. So I HOBBLED into a shop..." (he grinned, making the most of the huge effort his thoughtfulness had cost him) "... and found this."
It was a lightly scented candle. He had written "Karen" on the bag, and on the tissue wrapping added a Christmas greeting to all of us.
In Castle Cary, our hosts had decorated the stone barn for our arrival. There was a small Christmas tree with winking lights, and festoons of holly, ivy and mistletoe on picture frames; a bowl of oranges, chocolates and Christmas crackers greeted us. The grass and hedgerows were very green; a tree outside the lounge window was glowing with red berries, and over a tall fence cattle could be heard, lowing.
We put the candle in the center of the dining table, where it scented the room. We toasted Alan by its light, never thinking that it would be our last holiday with him.

In Memoriam

At his death on 27 December 2003 there was an outpouring of affection and respect for Alan from friends, fans, colleagues, the media. I have gathered the best tributes, my own message and an account of the September Royal Court Celebration in a permanent Archive section, In Memoriam.

Rare video available

"London by Dickens" is a DVD produced by Creative Arts Television. It includes two television performances; one is a 1958 production of Camera Three, featuring a young Alan Bates. The 25-minute program is a montage of Dickens short writings, based on "Sketches by Boz," but drawing on other short works. It will interest the Bates completist.

Far more engaging is beautifully presented version of "A Child's Christmas in Wales," aired on 24 December 1961. Richard Burton, in his prime, walks the streets of Greenwich Village, where he knew Dylan Thomas, speaking about him from personal experience, and seguing into a reading of Thomas' classic Christmas story. It is thrilling, and the reason you'll want this DVD, which seems not to be available from conventional sources. For more information, visit this page.

Here is one of Alan's most amusing Hardy readings, from the National Trust recording "Thomas Hardy, Words and Music." It comes to you with the very best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season, from the Bates Archive.

"Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir."
from Life's Little Ironies, by Thomas Hardy




Karen Rappaport

The British Theatre Guide interview featuring the Bates Archive

The Alan Bates Archive was launched on 17 February 1997,
and was Sir Alan's official website.
Site and domain name © copyright Karen Rappaport, 2012.
Photo copyrights remain with the photographers.
The copyrights for quoted reviews and interviews remain with the individual publications cited.
No links or adaptation of the material herein contained without permission.