My talkative night with Melvyn Bragg, Nicholas Parsons & maybe a dead actor

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg was waiting in my living room

So I was in my living room, about to interview Melvyn Bragg about his career in the Arts, when Bill Fraser woke up. I had thought he was dead. He used to co-star in ITV’s most popular sitcom of its day Bootsie & Snudge.

I don’t mean I had thought he was dead when he was lying there asleep at the side of the room. I mean I thought he had died several years ago.

But Bill Fraser had only been sleeping at the side of my living room. He was not wearing his wig.

This confused me, because I could not remember him wearing a wig on Bootsie and Snudge in which, I thought, he was bald. So it should not have been a surprise to me that he was bald – but he did not seem to be bald in the way I remembered him being bald.

Bill Fraser

Bill Fraser interrupted me with a long anecdote

He interrupted me with a fairly long anecdote then, after I took a photograph of him, I was able to start interviewing Melvyn Bragg. The first question I asked was how he had got into the arts field when he had already built up quite a reputation playing straight man to various people including… and I could not quite remember the name of the ITV comedy show in which he played the next-door neighbour of… comedy actor Arthur Haynes.

Melvyn Bragg, sitting on the sofa in my living room, looked slightly surprised.

Then I woke up and realised it had all been a dream.

I normally only remember dreams if something wakes me up in the middle of one. But I could not figure out what had woken me up during this one.

I went downstairs to the kitchen to make myself toast and tea and came back up with two slices of toast and a cup of milk.

Then I realised why Bill Fraser’s baldness had looked slightly familiar and yet slightly wrong.

A few nights ago on BBC iPlayer, I had watched Behind the Candelabra, a movie in which actor Michael Douglas plays the part of pianist Liberace. Late in the film, Michael Douglas appears as Liberace without his wig on. I mean Liberace’s wig, not Michael Douglas’. I have no reason to believe Michael Douglas wears a wig. I had transferred Michael Douglas’ skull-cap of bald-headedness onto Bill Fraser’s face.

The photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed

The photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed

It was Nicholas Parsons, not Melvyn Bragg who played the cravat-wearing next door neighbour in the Arthur Haynes TV series. For the last two or three years, I have slept with a large photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed. It seems to fit the decor. The photo is in a wooden frame and looks similar to the formal picture of any generic Communist dictator which might have hung on the wall in a post office or a cafe to stoke the flames of a personality cult. I always think the grey suit Nicholas Parsons is wearing in the photo makes him look a little like Enver Hoxha, once Communist dictator of Albania.

Enver Hoxha

Communist Enver Hoxha, not Nicholas Parsons

I thought this seemed odd.

Then I woke up.

I went downstairs to the kitchen to make myself toast and tea and came back up with two slices of toast and a cup of milk.

I had only dreamt I had gone downstairs to the kitchen the first time.

I looked up Bill Fraser in Wikipedia.

He is dead. So it goes.

He died from emphysema in Hertfordshire, in 1987.

Now I am awake. I think.

One can never be entirely sure of anything.

2 Comments

Filed under Dreams

2 responses to “My talkative night with Melvyn Bragg, Nicholas Parsons & maybe a dead actor

  1. Sandy Mac

    Oh Bootsie and Snudge, I remember that programme well. I can’t remember though, which year/years it was on. It seems a lifetime ago, but then it probably was.

  2. sandy Mac

    First run:
    23 September 1960 –
    30 May 1963,
    Second run:
    16 October 1974 –
    20 November 1974

    Bootsie and Snudge

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