Whether he was playing seedy landlord Rupert Rigsby in Rising Damp or frustrated suburban dreamer Reggie Perrin, Leonard Rossiter gave us performances so iconic, so utterly memorable, that they achieve timelessness. Like Peter Sellers or Ronnie Barker, his characters are more real in our national consciousness than the actor who played them, who to this day remains a mystery. There has never been a biography or autobiography, and the fragments we hear about him – e.g. his rumoured ruthlessness and disdain for other actors – are partial and don’t offer any real insight into his undoubtedly complex character.
This book will redress the balance, offering for the first time an in-depth account of Rossiter’s life and work. Through interviews with his daughter, Camilla; widow, Gillian Raines; lover Sue MacGregor and friends and colleagues from Don Warrington to Geoffrey Palmer – it will bring to life the man behind the threadbare cardigan and manic grimace and reveal why he was able to produce such epoch-defining performances.
As well as examining the great TV roles for which he became famous, the book also explores Rossiter’s lesser-known work in theatre and his parts in classic films such as Lionel Bart’s Oliver!, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lindsay Anderson’s Britannia Hospital. We’ll also learn what went on behind the scenes in the famous series of Cinzano adverts he made with Joan Collins in the mid 1970s.
Exhaustive, affectionate, honest – and long overdue, Character Driven will finally give a personality to the man behind some of the greatest comic performances of the twentieth century.
"Guy Adams is either barking mad or a genius, I haven't decided. His truly fantastic debut is like being caught in a theme park with a killer clown - fun, adventure, the odd cream pie - and a sharp knife when you're not looking." - Mark Chadbourn
Guy Adams¬†is the author of the best-selling¬†Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition, a spoof police manual 'written by' DCI Gene Hunt of¬†Life On Mars. Published by Transworld, it has sold over 120,000 copies and led to two sequels: The Future of Modern Policing: 1981 Edition and The Wit and Wisdom of Gene Hunt. Guy has also written a two-volume series companion to the show, published by Simon & Schuster; a Torchwood novel,¬†The House That Jack Built, for BBC Books; and¬†The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes, a fictional facsimile of a scrapbook kept by Doctor John Watson. This was published in 2009 by Carlton Books in association with the Estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the writer's birth. Guy is also the author of the fantasy novels The World House and its sequel Restoration, published by Angry Robot.