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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2013
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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on 8 October 2002
Anyone who saw Kenneth Williams in his Carry On Films will absolutely love reading this book. It gives a real insight into the man himself, a caring, kind and delightful person.
He would have excelled as a writer, he writes straight from the heart. This book is well worth buying. One really enters his life with him as one reads his diaries, it is difficult to put this book down. I would definetly not sell my book as each time you read it you see different sides to his sensitive character.
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on 2 May 2014
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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on 13 August 2014
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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on 16 August 2015
Its a shame that Kenneth Williams did not realise how much pleasure he gave to people and never seemed to accept himself he left us too soon a great talent the diaries give an account on his life some of his entries give an insight to his torment its a shame he never found true love
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on 11 May 2015
I would recommend this book to anyone who has not read it before (although to be honest, I will be reading it again).

I found the diaries at times hilariously funny and terribly tragic. This is a true insight into the mind of a comedy genius not matter how troubled at times
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on 23 June 2016
Narcissistic and a real moaner who just didn't know what he wanted. Diaries by their very nature are always going to be self, self, self, but this one is ridiculous. You'd have to be a huge fan to get anything out of this, and his "Woe is me" outlook is totally wearing.
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on 12 December 2011
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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on 4 June 2014
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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on 18 January 2016
This is a huge book which provides a true insight into his complex character. Easy to get lost in as nearly 800 pages and runs from 1942-1988 so interesting to read his opinions and reactions to world progress. It's very sweet how close he was to his mother Louie
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