Mike Blackham, and I were out on a break between matinee and evening shows. We were doing Chips With Everything in the West End of London and stopped in at a local actors pub called The Salisbury in St. Martin's Lane.
We ran into Tom Courtney in the doorway of the pub. Courtney, who was a friend of Mike. looked at me and said "He would make a good Stamp."
Good to his word, Tom arranged a meeting with John Schlesinger, the director of Billy Liar. Schlesinger arranged with the Royal Court Theatre for me to be out of the production for a few weeks to do Billy Liar.
To better understand the feeling of the film . I applied for a job at an undertaker's at Bethnal Green...The undertaker told me to come back the next week, but when he learned why I was applying he said "sorry, NO!". But I got a feel of what was going on when I was there looking around the place.
Julie Christie was brought in to replace Topsy Jane. Topsy, had been cast as Liz. She had been in Tony Richardson's 1961 production of "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" with Tom Courtenay , had become ill during the filming of Billy Liar.
Julie was lovely, and both she and Tom were extremely nice to everyone in the cast and crew..
I believe in ‘reality acting”, how life would really be, and not how the cinema dictates. But on this show maybe I was a bit “too real”
We were outside the Mecca ballroom in Bradford, England. I was to have been drinking and carrying on. I got really carried away and wound up throwing beer all over the camera and camera crew. It was good fun for everyone, We were doing a kind of line dance mixed with the twist in the streets with all the extras and the locals.
John Schlesinger listened to and worked well with his actors. I remember he, Tom and I were walking through a park one evening and we heard an eerie clanking sound. It was coming from a large piece of park equipment that was shrouded in the dark grey of the evening.
"Gotta use THAT, John", I said. He did, but not in the same way, but he did use it..
It has been 46 years since that film came out. I am surprised how many people still refer to it. But it was a good film, good cast and well shot.