A Night In With Alan Bennett – Divine!

Sometimes it takes (almost) a lifetime to discover something really special, or someone… and Paul and I have done just that, in the late years of our lives, with our discovery of the English (Yorkshire to be exact) playwright, Alan Bennett. Although we’ve heard a lot about him before this, we had never actually sat down and watched his work until now.

The Alan Bennett Collection on DVD can be found here.

This page gives a nice summary of each of these plays.

This is such an entertaining selection of his works, including the following (the last two of which we have yet to see):

* An Englishman Abroad

* A Day Out

* Sunset Across the Bay

* A Visit from Miss Prothero

* Our Winnie

* A Woman of No Importance

* The Insurance Man

* Dinner at Noon

* 102 Boulevard Haussman

* A Question of Attribution

* Portrait or Bust

I can’t tell you how much pleasure this selection of plays/films has brought us these last couple of weeks.

Last night we watched “102, Boulevard Haussman” which is the story Bennett wrote about French writer Marcel Proust. Well! It was fabulous, to put it mildly. In fact, I plan to watch it again as I don’t think I got every last word of it last night – sometimes the first viewing of a show is like that, what with dogs always wanting something… letting them in and out, Paul getting dessert right in the middle of the show, etc., etc.

But the thing that got to me was Marcel Proust. I have, of course, heard of him but I’ve never read him before. (It helped that the actor, Alan Bates, played Proust, and Bates is one of my all-time favourite actors.) I did read about him last night after watching the show, on a few web sites including the Marcel Proust Wikipedia page here. So much to read and learn about! My eyes were bulging out of my head as it was bedtime and I’d already spent the whole day reading, as I usually do, but by bedtime, my eyes are quite tired and I just had to put it away for another day. I’m going back there soon! Several times last night I heard Proust referred to as “the greatest French/European novelist of the 20th century,” so that’s enough for me!

So here I’ve given you 5 videos of Alan Bennett going through some of his works and favourite shows… this is so good I just can’t tell you how good it is! It’s worth the time, and they aren’t really all that lengthy. I will give the time/length of each. Save and come back when you have some free minutes in your day. You will love this! And you will see why we just can’t get enough of what the British entertainment circles have to offer.

Watching “Dinner at Noon” last night, also, was fabulous. It’s a personal film of what it’s like dining at a hotel in Harrogate, N. Yorkshire, England – with Bennett interspersing current day visitors with his memories of going there with his parents as a child and being so intimidated by the place (“The Crown” in Harrogate). It’s splendid, as is everything this man does!

So enjoy!

A Night In With Alan Bennett

Video #1 (Time: 9:59 mins.)

Video #2 (Time: 10:00 mins.)

Video #3 (Time: 10:00 mins)

(Video #4 does not exist for some reason)

Video #5: (Time: 9:55 mins)

Cheers for the incomparable Alan Bennett,


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Click to do a crossword puzzle

I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals…

They are so placid and self-contained,

I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied… not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.

~ [Walt Whitman, from “Leaves of Grass, No. 32”] ~

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5 Responses to A Night In With Alan Bennett – Divine!

  1. sandy freel says:

    WOW…movie nite here for me ..HUGE THANKS


  2. Bex says:

    Maggie, Do you have a Region 2 DVD player? If so, that collection of Alan Bennett’s work is just what the doctor ordered. There is not a bad one in that group! The first one, A Gentleman Abroad is about Guy Burgess (spy) over in Russia and stars (also) Alan Bates… it’s just wonderful and the very last scene is the BEST! I am so excited to have found Bennett!


  3. Bex says:

    Anna, I did not get a notify of your blog. I also do not get my own notifies of my own blogs on time, sometimes a day late, sometimes never. Things are slipping here… I will go read yours now… And thanks for the comments! xoxoxoxox

    P.S. I have The History Boys in DVD but have not read it, just watched the movie…


  4. Bex, thank you for sharing such a find. I am in dire need of something pleasant to spend time with of an evening, and the material you have posted seems perfect!


  5. Annanotbob3 says:

    Well, how cross I am not to have mentioned him! Still, I can recommend his play ‘The History Boys’ which has been made into a feature film, and his two series’ of dramatic monologues ‘Talking Heads’ which are all fantastic! Can I also ask if my last blog post appeared on the list? It was called ‘Monday night and all’s well’ or something similar and it’s the only post I’ve ever done that hasn’t had a single comment. I know, there’s no obligation to comment, but I’ve noticed that I don’t always see your posts and the site sometimes gets a bit glitchy. Happy days, dear Bex xxx


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