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Peter Wyngarde Biography

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Seaton View Post
    I'm sure your faith in this book is justified, and as you say, you have read it and we haven't, so you know what you're talking about.

    Having said that ...

    It's unfair to say people shouldn't discuss what a book's shortcomings might be, what it might or might not contain and so on before it comes out. That's what people do all the time. Every time we go to the cinema, we talk about what we're expecting to see or hoping to see, and when your favourite author is on the verge of bringing out a new novel, don't you wonder how it will stack up against her/his previous works?

    Jason King and Department S (not to mention The Innocents and numerous other works) are essential viewing on this forum, and previous information about the actor who brought these works to life hasn't been altogether enlightening, so of course we'll talk about it.


    And I'm afraid this


    doesn't even make sense.

    Neither does much of the blurb in the OP, which is why I made a side-comment about the editing in my first post. (And don't get me started on uncredited comments in quotation marks, as if they are real quotes).

    I don't want to sound mean, General Klytus, so let me just say that this is a biography about a well-loved and fascinating actor, written by someone who knew him well, so we are looking forward to it, but we have every right to chat about whether or not it will deliver what we want.
    I think you may've misunderstood what I was getting at. I was referring to narabdela's comment in reply to an earlier message about the Author's credibility, namely: "Given her authorship, and having read some of her online activity, I'm not sure this is going to be a completely even-handed Biography." I read this as, "Look lads, I've decided before I've read so much as a word of this book that the Author is bound to airbrush over any unfortunate facts in her attempt to defend Wyngarde, so my mind's 70% made up that this is going to be a whitewash!"

    I have no problem at all about people discussing this book - that's the reason I posted news about it on here. That's not the point. To put into the context of a trip to the cinema - I've never ONCE gone to see a film expecting anything but a fantastic experience; what would be the point in going otherwise. Similarly, I wouldn't buy a book by an Author who I felt was likely to short change me. The delight of seeing a film for the first time, or opening the cover of a new book is that leap of faith.

    Re. the "uncredited comments": I believe that both of them are by Steven Berkoff, which is why his name follows them.

    A review of the book was posted on The Unmutual - a Prisoner news website - earlier today. It was written by Rick Davy who's well known in Cult British TV circles. I'll cut an paste it on here, as it's a pretty honest opinion given that Davy hasn't an axe to grind either way.

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    • #17
      The Unmutual Reviews: "Peter Wyngarde - A Life Amongst Strangers" by Tina Wyngarde-Hopkins

      Review by Rick Davy.

      Few actors transcend their craft to be regarded as enigmas in their own right, but one such individual was the uniquely talented actor Peter Wyngarde, who whilst best remembered for his portrayal of crimebusting author Jason King in the ITC series' 'Department S' and 'Jason King', will also be fondly recalled as Number Two in the 'Prisoner' episode 'Checkmate'.

      'A Life Amongst Strangers' is the first authorised biography of Peter. It is written by Peter's friend, companion, and organiser of his official fan club, Tina Wyngarde-Hopkins (read the book to find out how she came to take his name). It's an in-depth, fascinating, and touching portrayal of one of ITC's best-loved personalities.

      The first half of the book is a straight-forward biography of his life and career, and the second half a personal memoir of Tina as she describes the years, in an amazingly frank fashion, she spent with Peter. 'The Prisoner' is of course covered, and it's lovely to read several quotes from Peter about working with the series and Patrick McGoohan. I couldn't think of a notable appearance of Peter's during this 'golden age of TV' not covered, and it all made for fascinating reading, with countless quotes from Peter, and others.

      The research the author has put into the career aspects of the book is quite astonishing. I am by no means an expert in Peter's life and/or career, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of each and every statement, but every aspect of his life which is discussed (yes, even those moments are covered!) has obviously been meticulously researched, as there are countless sources and documentation referred to and referenced throughout. If you felt you knew 'the truth' about Peter, this will make you think again.

      After the look at his early life and career, we move into more recent times, and Tina's personal story. It was a sad day for fans of classic TV and film when, in January 2018, Peter passed away, far too soon, after a short illness. The news was announced by Peter's agent, Thomas Bowington, who had been with both Peter and Tina when he drew his last breath, and this event, and the weeks leading up to it, are covered in-depth in the final chapters of the book. I found this last part of the book difficult to read (not because it was bad, but because it was so 'heartbreaking' and touching to read (so how it must have been to actually experience the events described I can't begin to fathom)).

      The only criticism (although, this could also be seen as a positive, depending on your point of view) is that perhaps the book at times becomes a little too personal, and whilst I trust the author and their sources, perhaps some opinions about some of the folk and events would have been better off not said. But then again, the author did not want a whitewash, or any stone unturned, so in that respect, it is a case of 'job done'.

      As I mentioned above, the research with regards to his career really is phenomenal, and the author has overall done Peter proud and I would thoroughly recommend this book. Do I now have a deeper knowledge of Peter's career, and greater understanding of how life had shaped how he was? Definitely. Do I feel, having read it, that I know Peter Wyngarde? Probably not, but that's just the way he would have wanted it.

      The Unmutual website can be found here: http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/index.htm

      And the review, so any sceptical reader can be sure that it's not been altered or anyway tampered with: http://www.theunmutual.co.uk/reviewswyngarde.htm


      I think this account at least shows that the book is as honest and forthcoming as anyone could reasonably expect.


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      • #18
        I'm looking forward to reading this book. I'm also intrigued as to who the "disgraced journalist" could be!

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        • #19
          I agree with Seaton, "the author has not placed..." comment on the blurb makes no sense. I hope the rest of the book is better written than the back. As far as the veracity or otherwise, it is quite possible that the book is both honest and glosses over events, or indeed honest and scandalises events, it is the author's perception after all, and the point being is a author who is emotionally invested in the subject can have a less than balanced view, one way or the other.

          Is this self-published by the way? Phrases like 'stuff of legend' when discussing a relatively minor figure (albeit an interesting one), tends to warn me off

          I don't read blogs, as a rule,, for same reason. The fact that the review comes out six months before the book, suggests family friend of the author to me.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by General Klytus View Post
            I was referring to narabdela's comment in reply to an earlier message about the Author's credibility, namely: "Given her authorship, and having read some of her online activity, I'm not sure this is going to be a completely even-handed Biography." I read this as, "Look lads, I've decided before I've read so much as a word of this book that the Author is bound to airbrush over any unfortunate facts in her attempt to defend Wyngarde, so my mind's 70% made up that this is going to be a whitewash!"
            Really? I'm familiar with Creative Writing, but Creative Reading is a new one on me.

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            • #21
              I n some instances i do rely on amazo n reviews,other than those planted by publishers
              Last edited by orpheum; 6th March 2019, 07:28 AM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by orpheum View Post
                I n some instances i do felt on amazo n reviews,other than those planted by publishers
                Absolutely! You also see it a lot on IMDB on new releases, it is amazing how many people are moved to give their one and only review praising a new release.

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                • #23
                  Regardless of what the critics say or anybody on here claims, I am looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for supporting it, General Klytus, although I have to say I think you misinterpreted narabdela's comment, which ended with the words "I don't think it pretends to be (an even-handed biography)". We can see it is written by somebody who loved Wyngarde, which means it may not be completely objective, but better that than something like Albert Goldman's Lennon or Presley books.

                  I shall write the title on my shirt cuff to remind me. Then I shall fold the shirt cuff over the cuff of my jacket.

                  Or it'll be on my Christmas list (I know - but it comes around quickly at my age)

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                  • #24
                    Hopefully Seaton you change that shirt between now and Christmas? As for myself I've always admired Peter's work and as for books on actors lives I could do without them, although I would have liked to have met him in person. You don't need a tell-all book to praise a person for the enjoyment that they might have given you, no I prefer to shake their hand and tell them personally. Mr Wyngarde was as large in life as any of his characters.

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