Letter from Morris Perry
The following letter, from Mad Dog actor Morris Perry to Lynne Sweetman is reproduced here with thanks to them both — and the Survivors Newsletter.
Survivors — I remember enjoying it (on the whole). I hadn't worked with the director before and he was amiable. Dennis Lill [who played the part of Charles] was easy to get on with. I had something interesting and difficult to do. The hotel was cosy.
I have a memory of ambling across a field with Dennis Lill (both on horseback) and getting cold. The field was surrounded by drystone walls. The riding was painless — little was asked of me — it was just a chat on horseback. I'm not too keen on horses: they're heavy and unpredictable. I think the days were overcast, the weather at least autumnal. So it was good to get back to the hotel where I remember low rafters and real blazing fires.
I think I remember Bernie Kay [who played the part of Sanders] setting his horse at a drystone wall and she wasn't a very keen jumper. There was a younger actor, good with horses, and he was capable or running five miles before work in the morning. I jogged a bit at that time too. For some reason I remember a five barred gate and a rough road with deep ruts. I think all this was in Derbyshire.
[Episode director] Tristan de Vere Cole (is it really spelt like that?) who I remember thinking might have gone to Dartington — well off and well read and not hidebound — took an interest in the rabies. There's a passage in The Story of San Michele he asked me to read. But the rabid don't write much and I didn't find much help to what if feels like. In the end, you're pretty much alone and you just have a shot at it. We were in an isolated building and there was a yard at the back with a drystone wall.
The building can't have been that ramshackle. In it the make up girls produced the froth for foaming at the mouth. Quite a heavy make up too as the character had knocked himself about. Dennis took a photo in colour which I still have somewhere. Several things were tried. I think there was cold custard. But in the end it was mostly white of egg. For foaming at the mouth.
At the time I hadn't seen any episodes of the series. I watched some later and it appealed to me. It's a rich theme — humanity released from its usual restraints in a melancholy English landscape.
I haven't done much telly lately: I seemed to be into priests and judges for a bit but that's dried up. I did my second King Lear recently at the Tabard. Currently, I'm doing a butler in An Ideal Husband at The Old Vic. I've been working on Shakespeare's sonnets for the last 5 or 6 years — for myself.
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