Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Guest Blog: The Kenneth Williams Companion by Adam Endacott
I was honoured to be asked to write this guest blog about a new book that I am still in the research stages for — its working title is The Kenneth Williams Companion. Kenneth Williams is my hero. I have been a lifelong fan, collecting everything Kenneth since 1988 – from stills and programmes to action figures and plates. I like to think of myself as a working fountain of knowledge on Kenneth Williams!
Alongside this, I am a huge fan of the Carry On films and its stars. The origins of the concept of this book dates back to about 1998. As a fan, I tried to compile together comprehensive lists of Kenneth’s film, radio and television career to help me keep a record of what I had seen or heard and what I was missing. These lists developed and grew over time until the moment of realisation that there actually was no book or portal which documented his career in detail, so I began work on writing a book!
The Kenneth Williams Companion will be a complete reference work for Kenneth’s career on stage, radio, film, television and in the recording studio as an actor, presenter, comedian, broadcaster, raconteur, director, writer and author. He wasn’t just in the Carry On films and on every chat show in the 1980s! The book will be presented as a chronology, broken down by medium. It is not a biography but will be the first of its kind to document his complete career.
The book has the support of Michael Whittaker, Kenneth’s best friend and Michael Anderson, his former agent. Nanette Newman has agreed to write a foreword and David Benson, the afterword. A wealth of Kenneth’s friends and colleagues have assisted with my research and these include, amongst many, Stanley Baxter, Christopher Biggins, Barry Cryer, Galton & Simpson, Sarah Greene, Juliet Mills, Mavis Nicholson, Nicholas Parsons and June Whitfield. Some of these have not spoken before on Kenneth and working with him. I have also been in contact and correspondence with a number of producers, co-stars and those behind the scenes who all bring fresh material on Kenneth.
I still have others to meet and interview and I am very grateful to all for their time and support for this project. My research has taken me across the country ranging from the BBC Written Archives in Caversham to hours of viewing at the BFI Library. I’ve been able to make use of databases and had very helpful assistance from various production companies. I am currently in the process of watching or listening to all material that survives from Kenneth’s career (which is a lot, as you can imagine) and have seen scripts for those that have been wiped or lost.
The diaries will be accessed at The British Library when they are available for research viewing which will be an invaluable source. This is a very exciting and enjoyable project that has the full support of all that have been spoken to whether they are a friend, colleague or fan of Kenneth Williams — it really is a work of passion.
If anybody has anything that will assist with the research and book then it would be great to hear from you or for anything Kenneth related – my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any recordings from the television or radio, then please do get in touch as there is quite a bit missing from the BBC archives and others. I am struggling with the early Rep years in terms of productions, dates and programmes and also the many adverts that Kenneth did over the years — there doesn’t appear to be a record of these anywhere other than on YouTube!
Should I be unable to find a publisher, then it will become a website instead. Please do follow me on Twitter to keep up to date with the book and follow its progress – my Twitter handle is @kcwcompanion
You can follow me on Twitter @CarryOnJoan and also Facebook