It’s not easy being the first

. . . you find someone else with a slightly higher profile got there before you.

It’s not that I thought nobody had ever written a book about the history of acting before, though until I was browsing yesterday in the National Theatre bookshop I hadn’t actually come across one.

Needless to say I don’t expect to compete with Peter Ackroyd, one of the most distinguished – and prolific – writers of history and in particular of London alive today. I’m reading his book now, which may be a mistake as it may (or just may not) cover the same ground I’m tentatively treading on.

All I can say in my defence is that I used to be an actor and Peter Ackroyd – to my knowledge – never was.

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