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The wit and wisdom of Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman in Love Actually: a “total disdain for celebrity”

The newly published diaries of the late actor Alan Rickman confirm he was “powered by real intelligence, wry cynicism and a keen bullshit detector”, says Anna Leszkiewicz in The New Statesman. Each entry is short: usually a few lines relating the day’s events, “with a sly observation or an exasperated aside thrown in”. Many recount a lifestyle with touches of turn-of-the-millennium glamour: dancing with Emma Thompson, chatting with Kate Moss at gallery openings, and drinking champagne on his way to Glyndebourne. (“Little Olde England still determinedly putting out its collapsible chairs,” he wrote. “I kept thinking ‘someone with a machine gun will appear any minute’.”)

Yet Rickman harboured a “total disdain for celebrity”. In one moaning entry, he described the Baftas as “embarrassing and engorged”, the acting equivalent of a duck’s neck, “force-fed to make foie gras”. He was no less cutting about his teenage colleagues on the Harry Potter films. Daniel Radcliffe is not “really an actor”; Emma Watson’s “diction is this side of Albania at times”. Tony Blair also makes several appearances in the diaries, most favourably after Rickman was invited for a dinner at Chequers (“real sense of the shiver of history going through the gates”). By 2007, his opinion of the outgoing PM had somewhat diminished: “He could have saved himself a great deal of time by just reprinting the lyrics to My Way.”