Tuesday 18 October 2016

New video surfaces - Thames TV interview Deighton ...

Thanks to Deighton Dossier Facebook reader Jack Les Camela, a new video has surfaced on YouTube, showing an interview by Thames TV's Trevor Hyatt on the Afternoon Plus show.

Watch it here:

It's a good 25 minute long. As it's from 1983, it was part of the publicity drive for Berlin Game.

What we learn from it:

  • Len Deighton doesn't read his books again once they're published
  • The low budget of The Ipcress File made it a good film
  • He's not at all resentful of the fact he's never won the Booker Prize!


  1. I listened to this interview with interest, and as some one who was in the last year of the university course when Deighton’s first thriller:” The Ipcress File” was published, and was working when The Ipcress File film was released ; the notion of a small budget film doing well was not surprising then. Cubby Broccoli was mostly borrowed the money for Dr NO production, was given just under £1 million as the loan and that film was a roaring success. The second Bond film : From Russian with Love which was already released when The Ipcress Film was shot, was not a huge budgeted film. The indication of a Bond films as huge budget film by Deigton in this interview is off the mark in 1964-65, but in 1983, it perhaps was true.
    I am impressed with the interviewer who without being confrontational asked very good questions. For example about Deighton’s father being a Chauffeur, a job not for many as cars then were expensive and only rich men could afford them. Butlers and chauffeurs hence were not like gardeners ,the mundane working class men, but were in privileged positions as they knew every thing about their masters, often not known by masters’ wives and had a good sway with their employers. I had 2 friends in my school, whose fathers were chauffeurs, and did well with their pocket money, unlike us, whose fathers were working class craftsmen. What comes out clearly was Deighton’s dislike of the upper class, and that he observes some how schools reflected this class consciousness, when mentioning his own education and education of his children. But the schools these kids from upper class rich went to were not the local schools then which probably he went to. He also observes that books were selected by bureaucrats as the schools were governmental –controlled bodies, and teachers were not allowed freedom to teach what they wanted to teach. The pupils need the 3Rs, and books were never selected by bureaucrats even in 1930s. I checked this with some one roughly of Deighton’s age. He also says that the situation was different in the village school in France where his children went to. But the French education system under which all schools were at the lower levels, were also (local)government-controlled bodies, even in that village. The system in France was ( and has been) more stratified in terms of elitism than in England. In US, it was also more so, as the upper class there were (are) the rich moneyed class. Kennedys were an example of this, and also many others.
    Deighton says that those with technical skills-he considers himself as one of them as he studied the arts, were low in the pecking order of any organisation then. He says those who offered critiques were not the practitioner of arts , he gives painting as an example, which I think was a wrong example, as even in his days of 1930s, paintings were really well appreciated as well as their creators. About his observation of things technical being undervalued then , giving examples of the difficulties Britain had then with industries ( not sure whether he means the management of them not by technocrats) in recognising the value of technical skills. But this is debatable, as even then Britain had world class heavy and light industries: English Electric and Metropolitan Vickers for electric machinery, Raleigh Group for bicycles etc.. which produced products which were world class brands.
    The one aspect I agree with him is about why communism was mad, and what communist-controlled government were really like.

    1. Should be " From Russia with Love"

    2. Many thanks. It was a typo.

  2. Thanls to Kindle I'm re-reading everything and loving it/, especially the introductions

    I missed the ich Bin ein Berliner story the first time around. Now Snopes says it ain't so!!

    What gives, Len???

  3. This is a great find. A wonderful little time capsule of a world that has now changed hugely.

    Full marks to Len for identifying about the cracks that were appearing within the Soviet regime.

    I find myself agreeing with Len's observations regarding the British attitude to technocrats.
    Technology and science is not something that the ruling elite of Britain expect to need to understand - they have 'experts' on call ready to explain it and control it for them. (this was rather the role of Len's father, a chauffeur which at the time required considerable mechanical skills.) I think Len is spot on in his suggestion that this is a defining characteristic of how the British rule themselves.

    I see from wiki that Deighton's father's employer, who his father so respected, was Campbell Dodgson. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbell_Dodgson another influence on the author as a young man I would guess.