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The Private World of Kenneth Williams: BBC Radio 4 Full-cast Dramatisation (BBC Radio Collection) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Kenneth Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 April 2004 BBC Radio Collection
In this documentary portrait of Kenneth Williams, who died in 1988, the much-loved comedy actor's diaries are drawn upon to illustrate his life and career. David Benson, who won acclaim for his one-man show in which he portrayed Kenneth Williams, reads extracts from the diaries, whilst archive clips from such programmes as Round the Horne and Beyond Out Ken show the madcap versatility of Williams the performer. This Radio Collection version features material additional to the original Radio 4 broadcast.

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The Private World of Kenneth Williams: BBC Radio 4 Full-cast Dramatisation (BBC Radio Collection) + The Bona World of Julian and Sandy: Starring Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick & Kenneth Horne (BBC Radio Collection)
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (5 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563529369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563529361
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 12.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


An essential add-on to the posthumously published Kenneth Williams Diaries -- Guardian, April 2, 2004

What makes this worth listening to...is David Benson's readings from Williams's diaries -- Radio Times

Benson does a good impersonation, reading extracts from the diaries, to which the archive performances provide a sparkling addition -- Sunday Times, April 25, 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth Williams...tortured genius 11 Dec 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Excellent insight into the man and all his oddities. Not the light, amusing content you might have imagined but a good window on the inimitable comic genius whose life ended so early and so tragically with the last words written in his copious disry.
"Oh. what's the bloody point?"
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful - especially David Benson's readings 14 April 2008
Format:Audio CD
This CD is of Kenneth Williams' diary extracts, read by David Benson, interspersed with extracts of Kenneth Williams' recorded sketches and interviews.
The format works well. For example, in one diary extract Kenneth Williams writes about how he went to see a Frankie Howerd stand-up show, but the show was spoilt by a heckler who made comments which the heckler apparently thought were funny but were not. The CD then switches to a recording of the show itself and we discover that the voice of the heckler was Kenneth Williams himself! Williams had presumably come home and in one of his bouts of self-loathing had written about the terrible heckling, but his vanity did not allow him to write that he had been the one responsible.
What is best about this CD is the voice of David Benson who reads the diary extracts. It would be easy for an actor to simply do an impersonation of Williams' voice, but Benson reads in a way that you really feel captures the heart and personality of Williams - such that it is Williams himself speaking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intimate Portrait of a Private Man 3 Sep 2010
By Paul D
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Kenneth Williams was a contradictory man. A source of great wit and erudition, on chat shows and panel games an endless fund of anecdote and witty rejoinder yet, in private, as his diaries show, he was a deeply troubled and unhappy man. The BBC has here put together a two-disc set which contains excerpts from his celebrated diaries, read with uncanny precision by David Benson, who brings out all the pathos of Williams's situation - loved by the nation, yet filled by self-doubt and self-loathing, interspersed with clips from radio and TV appearances. There are excerpts from his appearance in the very first `Carry On ...' film, `Carry On Sergeant', and characteristic moments from shows that made him a national treasure, `Beyond Our Ken', `Round the Horne' and, of course, the panel game `Just a Minute', hosted by Nicholas Parsons, of which Williams was a mainstay for many years.

Listening to these two discs we get a fully-rounded portrait of Kenneth Williams, both in public and in private, and we can only wish that Williams himself could have felt some of the joy he brought to his viewing and listening public.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great accompaniment to the diaries 24 Dec 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Well worth the price. If the diaries have drawn you into the world according to KW, you'll love this. Excellent work by David Benson, who has a sensitivity for both the dark and light sides of our hero in excerpts from the diaries. Also contains some fine clips from 'The Buccaneer', 'Beyond our Ken', 'Round the Horne' and more. You'll listen to this more than once. Stop messing about and buy it.
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