Monday, October 01, 2007
Stephen Fry and I share a birthday - August 24th - but little else. This time round, Fry was 50 and the BBC has marked this rite of passage with a Stephen Fry Night on BBC4 and, last night, with Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out on BBC2. I watched the latter with mounting incredulity. The first problem was Emma Thompson. Everything she says sounds desperately phony and patronising. The second problem was the format of simply asking a lot of friends and colleagues to say how great Fry is. It was, in fact, a straight luvvie-fest. The third problem was: why? I've never quite got Fry. I can see he is gifted and intelligent. But I simply don't find him that funny and the soupy voice and prose are deeply off-putting. (Many of the luvvies said he 'loved language/words' - this is only ever said by and about the illiterate. Saying somebody loves language is like saying they love air. Fry is not illiterate and he doesn't, therefore, love language.) I now admire him, however, because I heard him talking about manic-depression on the radio. It was unaffected and moving. But even those who do find him funny must have been startled by all this incontinent gush just because he's 50. He is big, but, surely, not that big. He is, psychologically, interesting, but gushing luvvies are not qualified to explore that. So Fry at 50 as a cause for a big TV fest - why?
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:30 am