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
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
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
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