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147 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars serious recognition for Kenneth Williams at last.
Kenneth Williams was almost the archetypal red-nosed clown who longed to be respected as a Serious Actor, so I can't help feeling that he would have been quietly pleased at the reputation his diaries have gained in recent years. In one entry,on a rare day when he was feeling contented with his lot, he said that he felt he had the life of a cultured 18th century...
Published on 17 Oct 2003 by S. Hapgood

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very good...bit boring...lot to read actually
Published 2 months ago by Mr. B. A. Pegg


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 13 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
I've read this book several times and thoroughly enjoyed it. After moving house my copy went missing so bought a used one to replace it, for a couple of pounds you can't go wrong, book was in excellent condition. It's a totally absorbing read and I'd recommend it to anyone who might wish to glean a bit of further knowledge of the 'inner workings' of the great KW himself. Lots of references to the Carry On films and obviously all of his other work too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars blunt diary, 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
interesting book by an observant man,some of kenneth williams friends and co performers would be shocked to read what he has written about them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book I've read in a long time., 11 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
I read this book and believe it is the funniest book I've read in a longtime. The insight into Kenneth Williams' life is amazing and although quite sad and almost dark at times, I defy anyone not to be please with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving,annoying,,funny,heartbreaking,inspiring...wonderful, 12 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
Went into this book not really sure what to expect,i knew of course of the reputation of them but i am about halfway through them now and the reputation does not of course do them justice.
I have been completley drawn into this book and pick it up at every free moment,you really do feel involved in his life in some strange way as if he is talking directly to you at some point.
The book is full of emotion and i found myself feeling so glad for him when he felt content and full of sadness in his dark moments,also though you do feel sometimes frustration at times with him when the same character flaws reappear but then not one of us is perfect and we are all guilty of the same thing from time to time.
If you are looking for a quick uplifting read about a wonderful time in british comedy then this is not for you but if you want to jump into the deepest thoughts of a man and go through them with him it is a rewarding and wonderful read.
I know that when i have finished it i will miss him in my daily life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'Carry On Kenneth Revealed, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
An intimate insight into the world of a reclusive comic and one of the most famous of the 'Carry On' team. Presents a record of his day-today existance from before his fame as an actor right up to the day before his death. While often scathing and critical of others and filled with constant references to his declining physical health, it is a unique and personal record of a life, often full of contradictions such as his significant wealth but rather spartan lifestyle; his regular socialising and close friendships but never forming a lasting bond with a signifcant other; his fame and adulation but need for privacy and a simple life. definitely on for the fans and those interseted in the history of 20th century Britsh comedy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, 9 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
A wonderful, funny , and sad insight into the life of a man who was tormented by his own existence . A genuine treasure trove for anybody interested in the history of british acting and life . A gem.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lengthy but worthy read, 30 Jan 2012
By 
A. Brown "oneexwidow" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
"The preoccupation with diary writing is caused by various things: the desire to keep a record which can be useful later, and committing to paper what can't be communicated to a mentor... oh! all kinds of reasons, but fundamentally it is about loneliness."
Kenneth Williams, Diaries, Tuesday 8 March 1988

Having grown up without a telly, I knew Kenneth Williams primarily through Just a Minute. In later years, I became acquainted with the Carry On films, Round the Horne and H-H-Hancock's Half Hour.

There was, of course, much more to Williams' oeuvre than these examples, although it is fair to say that these are the things he is best known for. His career took in a period in the far east in forces entertainment, repertory and West End theatre and, latterly, work as a raconteur, author and regular chat show guest (and occasional host.) There was also a lot of voice over work over the years.

His diaries, published in 1993, were edited from over forty years of volumes that he kept from 1942 until his death in 1988 by Russell Davies. Mr Davies himself is mentioned in the diary on several occasions - never, it has to be said, in particularly glowing terms. The task was somewhat Herculean in nature but is achieved with skill and distinction. I got the impression that the diaries have been fairly edited to provide a rounded view of Williams, warts and all. The picture that emerges is one of a complex character, a man who was never truly at ease - with his sexuality, his work choices, his finances or with other people.

The book contains a biographical introduction and appendices detailing the addresses Williams lived at, the films he references in the diaries and an extensive index. I felt it could have benefited from a list of his various jobs over the years and some form of Dramatis Personae as a reference to the hundreds of people mentioned in the diaries. Indeed, now two decades have passed since publication, it may be possible for those not specifically named to now be so - and for the diaries to be re-edited with less fear of the libel laws.

I thoroughly recommend the diaries to anyone interested in Williams' career or the history of theatre and light entertainment in Britain.

This is an edited version of the review from my blog: [...]
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4.0 out of 5 stars tradiola, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
What a fool to take his own life. If only he'd known how adored he was. Even today held in such fascination and curiosity. Such a harrowing read mainly due to the warts and all openness, and because he's quite simply long gone! Feels odd reading someone's lifetime thoughts when there's nothing you can do to help them or bring them back. It's frustrating and sadly pointless read in many ways. Left me with lots of unanswered questions, very thought provoking.. Oh what's the bloody point?!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes he was brilliant, 2 May 2014
This review is from: The Kenneth Williams Diaries (Paperback)
Every time I read these diaries, I see more in them. Williams was a very good writer, and in fact in his later years made part of his income from writing for the Radio Times and Tatler. His life makes painful reading, especially the decline of his career. The son of a hairdresser from King's Cross, he gained some stage experience during his army career in World War II. Once demobbed, he worked in "rep" - the UK's provincial fit-up theatre that still exists in a shrunken form, performing standards in country towns. He was discovered, and played the Dauphin in Saint Joan, had small parts in films and a part in Orson Welles' stage version of Moby Dick - yes, really! He found his true milieu in revue - staged sketch shows - in the 50s and early 60s. For me, though, his high point was the role(s) he played in radio comedy. It really was funnier then! Written by ex-musical hall men Barry Took and Marty Feldman, and compered by businessman and straight man Kenneth Horne, the shows pretended to be a radio magazine that parodied the films and trends of the day. They even roped in the announcer to play small parts like The World, or A Battlefield. What went wrong? Censorship was abolished in the late 60s, and comedy fell with a bump from clever innuendo to dreary crudity. Marty Feldman tried to become a pin-up and revive silent comedy. Williams found himself working in radio comedy shows that have not stood the test of time, the Carry On films (which moved from social observation with Nurse, Sergeant and the Helping Hands Agency to a crude plot about a nymphomaniac in what now seems the blink of an eye. Was the last one even completed?), and a succession of misbegotten plays. By this time, producers must have thought KW could sell any show. He struggled with poor material and shambolic productions. He hated long runs. In the diaries, every new play starts with high hopes and ends with recriminations, bitter feuds, despair and sometimes serious illness for KW. He comes over as strangely passive. He never wrote his own material unless given a slot and a co-writer. (Except that late in his life his spun his experiences brilliantly on many chat shows, and in the long-running radio impro show Just a Minute.) Why didn't he get together with Took and Feldman? I suppose comedy moved on, nobody remembered the music halls and melodrama any more... But where were the writers?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 27 April 2014
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Pm Smith - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent read once I started reading I could not put it down .The price was right and was delivers as stated
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The Kenneth Williams Diaries
The Kenneth Williams Diaries by Russell Davies (Paperback - 13 Jun 1994)
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