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The Private World of Kenneth Williams

Narrated by: Full Cast
Length: 2 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Summary

In this documentary portrait of Kenneth Williams, who died in 1988, the much-loved comedy actor's diaries are drawn upon to illustrate his life and career. David Benson, who won acclaim for his one-man show in which he portrayed Kenneth Williams, reads extracts from the diaries, while archive audio clips from such programmes as Round the Horne and Beyond Out Ken illustrate the madcap versatility of Williams the performer. This Radio Collection version features material additional to the original Radio 4 broadcast.
©2004 BBC Audiobooks LTD (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks LTD

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

brilliant

I am intrigued by Williams persona and this audiobook made insightful and easy listening. The excerpts from interviews and radio shows integrate perfectly with the commentary which reveals a lonely but frank and well meaning man with a genius for cynical observation. I wish I had been part of this era and artistic circle. A good account of a very British life, well actually a very London life at that.

6 people found this helpful

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fascinating bloke and well performed

I kept forgetting it was narrated, he has got the voice down pretty well! Shame it wasn't the full diaries though.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent However....

Excellent listening to David Benson, just not enough of the Diary extracts as it is on CD. This is mainly archive chat show stuff an only about 20 minutes of actual Diary recitation. Shame as David Benson is excellent. So be warned.

2 people found this helpful

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excellent great listen in depth and sad out look

a great read with a sad comedian in his personal life but projects the happier side of his identity in the public eye.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Diary of a troubled mind

These extracts from Williams’ diaries are interspersed with clips from his performances, from formal productions to some of his many talk-show appearances. It’s an excellent record of his life and work, and reminds us again of how deeply troubled Williams was in his private life - though frequently funny in his diary entries, and always brutally candid. He was often highly cynical / negative about his work, and dismissive / highly critical of colleagues, and contemporaries. It’s ultimately a tragic story, but there are many laughs in this relatively short audiobook. The central message is that - however much success a celebrity might achieve - there’s always (or very often) a deep-seated paranoia and insecurity.

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stop mucking about.

I guess Kenneth Williams is not for everybody and some may not find this book as funny and as real as I did. But I absolutely adored it. from the background that he had... he turned into quite an adorable human being in a quirky kind of way. the.very much loved and missed Kenneth Williams.

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  • Julia
  • 18-09-17

Gone but not forgotten Dear Kenneth

I am still in denial that Kenneth Williams is no longer with us and I was so happy to find this volume to enjoy.

It is not a book, it is more of a performance. It is extracts from Kenneth Williams personsal diaries that he kept for many, many years. It was so riveting that the time passed far too quickly. The contents of these journals really illustrate that Kenneth was like many comedic actors battling deep untreated depression. However so very talented.

He also does not hold back so you get both barrels when it comes to his cynicism ! Such a lovely tonic seeing as he is a Brits and that is not a quality that many Brits have. I should know As I am one!

If you are looking for a laugh a minute this is not for you. This is for more introspective. It also has Kenneth's last entry prior to his death. Really very sad so you may want to pull out a couple of Kleenex.

One thing is for sure I do feel that God is having a blast now that Kenneth is up there causing a ruckus and rolling his 'R's in the way that only Kenneth Williams knew how. Yes, with heaping servings of crêpe Suzette!

2 people found this helpful