Birmingham Stage Company


8 March 2021

It was very interesting listening to the Oprah interview and Meghan’s comment on the symbiosis between the tabloids and the palace. When I was at drama school, I was given the part of a reporter in the play The Front Page. Over the Easter break I asked various newspapers if I could shadow their reporters to find out what it was really like to be in their press room. The Daily Express and The Independent very generously agreed to let me in to the heart of their operation and at the Express I was placed with Norman Luck, one of the most celebrated of the Fleet Street reporters, who had won Journalist of the Year for his scoop when Michael Fagin broke into Buckingham Palace. I spent a week with Norman in a whirlwind of journalistic frenzy and it was absolutely fabulous. Norman was a generous man and if I needed help, I would sometimes call him to get the telephone number of a person I wanted to contact. However, on one occasion I rang him for the number of an older well-known actress. “Sorry mate, I can’t give you that”. When I enquired why, he said she was a “no-go area” and it was clearly a touchy subject. Years later I was told about a connection between this actress and a member of the royal family. It suddenly made sense why Norman had shut it down. It would have been the biggest story of the decade, but there were things you could report and things you could not. Norman absolutely knew the difference and I’d just found out. In the meantime The Independent took me along to their interview with the wives of the Birmingham Six. Two newspapers which made a big impression on this young actor and a delivered a huge learning lesson that for many reasons was to play a significant role in the rest of my life.

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