Anorak News | Best Actor In Town

Best Actor In Town

by | 20th, August 2002

‘AS Jeffrey Archer might put it in his soon-to-be-aired memoirs: ”Yesterday was the first day of many as I began a season in the West End theatre. I was to star in a production of Hamlet in which I play Stanley Kowalski, muscular, misunderstood and manly foil to Julia Roberts’ Cleopatra.”

”Don’t worry, Jeff, we’ll get you a cushy day-release.”

The Times, though, has a different version. According to the paper, Archer is indeed appearing at a theatre. But it’s the Theatre Royal, Lincoln, not London, and the only time he’ll tread the boards is when he’s giving them a going over with a damp mop.

The swanky pied-a-terre where he’s based for the theatre run is not a glamorous eyrie overlooking London, but a less than deluxe room at North Sea Camp, Boston. And the bars on the windows are not to keep the greedy and villainous from getting in, but to prevent the greedy and villainous from getting out.

But, as the paper reports, Archer does arrive in style, being driven the 40 miles to his new day-release job at the theatre in his own M-registered BMW. He has not hidden his identity to stop the fans from mobbing him, and Prisoner FS8282 Archer is not a stage name.

The theatre ‘fans’ who came to see him arrive at his £8.40 a week job came less to praise him and more to bury him. Speaking to the Telegraph, the exotically named Venice Edwards, who knew Archer from his time as a schoolmaster in Dover, said: ”I don’t think he should be let out. He should suffer a bit for what he has done.”

Lincoln resident Joanne Crowther echoes those sentiments, saying: ”He shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t even have been let out.”

But the real opprobrium of Archer’s condition is saved for the Times, where the man who would have been mayor is commented on not by a top Tory, an ex-prime minister or a great author but by Nick Bateman, a man once known as Nasty Nick for his appearance on TV’s Big Brother.

”This is great for Lincoln,” enthuses Nick, ”but it shows kids that crime does pay.” He continues: ”If he were an ordinary person he would be working on a pig farm.”

But Jeffrey Archer is no ordinary mortal. As his Julius Caesar would put it: ”If you prick me, do I not bleed my heart out in my forthcoming book: ‘Jeffrey – My Sabbatical’?”

Posted: 20th, August 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink