On the 27th of December 1979, Thames Television screened ‘The Knowledge’, a comedy drama detailing the ups and downs of a group of students studying The Knowledge of London; the intense training process which must be undertaken in order to become a London taxi driver.
The play was written by the late Jack Rosenthal who interviewed many cabbies for his research. At the time- as indeed now- insights into what The Knowledge involved are extremely rare, so the film was something of a revelation.
The play’s most memorable character was Mr Burgess, a sadistic examiner played by Nigel Hawthorne.
Burgess was based on a real examiner- Mr Findlay, a formidable Scotsman who would emphasise his accent when testing students as a means of intimidating and bamboozling them.
The play, which was nominated for a BAFTA in 1980 and appeared in the BFI’s top 100 television plays in 2000, has now been revived for the stage and will be running at the Charing Cross Theatre from tonight- the 4th September 2017- until the 11th November.
It is directed by Maureen Lipman who was married to Jack Rosenthal and appeared in the original television production.
To find out more and to book tickets, please click here.
It has now been one week since the Grenfell Tower fire.
This tragedy sent a double helix of utter heartache and seething anger spiralling though me; feelings which have yet to subside. I know I’m far from alone.
As I write, the current death-toll stands at 79.
Anyone however who has seen what remains of this now charred, towering tomb will have no doubt in suspecting that this number is sadly far higher.
As someone who grew up in London and who loves the city and its people, I’ve wanted to use my platform here to express my intense views on the disaster. But in short, I’ve been unable to find words.
Instead I would encourage you to watch this interview with Cristos, a gentleman who survived the blaze.
His account speak volumes.
Please click here to read my latest Time Out blog: Seven places in London linked to a Christmas Carol.