Being David Archer
Writing a book like this is a very strange experience.
Cathartic, often rewarding and sometimes troubling. My main worry has been that I might inadvertently upset or offend anyone.
The incredibly professional editing process means a great deal of what I originally wrote has been left out, so this page is where I can put back some of the detail about one or two subjects.
Also if I've made any mistakes, or if anyone feels omitted, I can put things right.
First of all, there was a section about my family, which I admit from a publishing point of view was a bit like Ken Bruce asking for hellos after Popmaster.
So, family, here you are, with all my love! xxT
My wife Judy makes the most astonishingly beautiful hats - within ten years she went from scratch to being one of the top bespoke milliners in London. She is also an artist, author, Feltmaker, costumier, one-time reflexologist, acclaimed teacher, dedicated mother and all round extraordinary person. Her website, showing her wonderful creations, is at www.judybentinck.com and her teaching site is www.millinerycourses.com
Our eldest son Will has the rare distinction of having been a professional croupier with a first in Philosophy. He tried hard to avoid the financial insecurity of acting, by getting that steady job I always dreamed of. Although, he says, the irony is that he works in tech start-ups, which are just as financially insecure!
His wonderful partner Rebecca has a story that would fill a book herself, and we love her very much.
CELTA-trained Jasper recently returned from working as a hugely respected English teacher in Tokyo for four years. He loves Japan, and enjoys travel, music and learning Japanese and Dutch. Both boys have dual British/Australian passports because of my birthplace, so Jasper’s future in his field is open to endless possibilities. He has recently started the Jasper English School 'The Relaxing Way to Learn' jasperenglishschool.com
My eldest sister, Sorrel, has been many things during her tough and extraordinary life, but having almost single-handedly invented the teenager in her youth, is now busy re-defining old age and, with more energy than she has any right to, recently went round the world, alone, on a shoestring. Then did India likewise. In 1972 she married and went to live in the highlands. With her then husband they bought a run down castle and created Aigas Field Centre, Scotland's leading wildlife holiday centre, which she helped to run for 10 years. When they separated, she moved to Edinburgh and had her own company, Sorrel Associates, which raised huge sums for many charities. CELTA qualified, she has had over 40 students on a home stay basis. Now the best granny in the world, she lives and works in Ely.
Her son Warwick was a Captain in the Highlanders, now running various enterprises in Scotland. New father to Hazel, with his wife Becky, he is an accomplished para glider.
Twins Amelia and Melanie:
In 2017 Amelia married her partner Andy, and together with their two children Arthur and Beth, they spend their time going between Cambridge and Payroux (France) riding bikes, restoring a barn, sharing laughter, kindness and cups of tea. Andy is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Amelia a Special Educational Needs and Disability specialist.
2017 also found Melanie marrying Jonny and bringing together their children Harris, Gilby, Ida and Art. They live in North Norfolk, both working with children for a living and mucking about with children for fun.
My other sister Anna is an actor, nowadays happily working regularly narrating audio books and doing commercial voice overs, and, for those of you with children under 5, she was one of the four voices on 64 Zoo Lane. With her husband Arnold Cragg she and the 3 children spent all their holidays in a hippy old house in France and working for the local summer comedy festival. In Anna's case cleaning the artiste’s loos and changing the sheets. So she learned the French for condom.
Their eldest son Gulliver is a multi-lingual journalist covering Eastern Europe for France 24 TV, living in Kiev, Ukraine.
George is a bi-lingual film editor, husband to Naomi and father of Camille and André, based in Paris but now working in Thailand.
Daughter Sophie is also an actor, stage name Sophie Bentinck, recently graduated from LAMDA and starting the rocky road!
My stepmother Jenny, née Hopkins, married my father in 1974 and, when they moved to Devon worked tirelessly with Henry to create the organic smallholding and guest house that they ran for seven years. Tragically suffering a stroke in 2009, she died in 2016.
Without the amazing editing by Andreas Campomar and Howard Watson at Little, Brown publishers, this would not be a book, but a hotchpotch of ramblings and un-structured anecdotes. It would also be a lot longer. When the first edits came back to me and great swathes had been cut, I sometimes felt a sense of loss, but soon realised they had made it so much tighter and professional - they had turned it into a proper book. There is one cut though that I regret, and had not realised how just a few missing words changed the sense of what I was writing. Not the publisher's fault, but mine for missing it. It has to do with my time at the King's Head Theatre in Islington, and the production of Hedda Gabler with Elizabeth Quinn.
This is what is written in the book:
"Hedda was played by Elizabeth Quinn, the profoundly deaf actress famous for Children of a Lesser God . I played her loving husband Tesman, which was terrifying as she couldn't hear a word any of the cast were saying, so if anything went wrong, as can happen, a line missed or misspoken, where a hearing actor adjusts accordingly - she couldn't adjust accordingly. Still that's acting: a lot of the time it's just balls out terror."
This sounds selfish and doesn't give account of what an extraordinary achievement it was for Elizabeth. The phrase that was cut, and that better represented how I felt was this,
"... she couldn't adjust accordingly. She had huge emotion and I had nothing but admiration for her courage, and I really liked her and wanted her to do well. Still, that's acting..."
Another thing I got wrong, that got me into trouble with Judy, was about Will's birth. As she quite rightly points out, the epidural was not administered "twenty minutes" before the birth, but "SIX F***ING HOURS!!!!!"
The book came out in October 2017. Since then a lot has happened, the book has had three reprints and is now available in paperback.
The most grown-up news is that in October, my family came with me to Buckingham Palace, where the Prince of Wales pinned onto my lapel an MBE for Services to Drama. That was quite a day!