Julian Maclaren-Ross In the Shadow of Cain

Six minutes of pure joy – that’s Julian Maclaren-Ross in the BBC documentary Writer’s World: In the Shadow of Cain.  I was very lucky to get hold of a copy of the footage from this show, thanks to Chris who worked hard to get it.  THANK YOU, CHRIS!

I thought I’d share a few screen shots from the show for those of you who haven’t seen it:

This is not an interview, you understand.  It was more a case of wind him up and watch him go.  It’s unbelievable the way Julian Maclaren-Ross talked; excuse my French, but he really had his s*** down pat.  He doesn’t falter at all, he goes from one anecdote to the next without hesitation, even doing a slightly different voice for a Colonel he was talking to, each story neatly turning into another.  I can understand why he was called a bar-room bore though, because there would be little to no chance of getting a word in edgewise.  How he remembers all his lines, I don’t know – and they are lines, because this can’t be off the cuff, it seems so well-rehearsed.  Anyway, I was well-impressed.  Just one thing, his voice always surprises me – the way he looked, his image, I always imagined him talking with a Mid-Atlantic accent rather than being so incredibly posh (even though I knew I was).

He tells stories about the only time he was ever treated as a writer in the army; how he started writing a series of army stories on the company office typewriter when he was transferred to Suffolk; how he collaborated with Dylan Thomas on a documentary script about the Home Guard; how he was once called “a Soho non-blitzer by a very stout young woman known to us as Are They Real or Are They False?”; how a rocket bomb nearly landed on his head and soon after that the war ended (coincidence? maybe!); about a chip shop that had a sign in the window saying, “Owing to Hitler, chips is littler.”  All very, very amusing.

So few pictures exist of Julian Maclaren-Ross, so here’s some more for your visual pleasure.  And for your reading pleasure, buy J. Maclaren-Ross books now!

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