SIR WILLIAM 'Scruff' GOLDING TV PROGRAMMME, 17 MARCH on BBC2 at 9pm
From the Old Wordsworthian magazine’s Editor:
I watched the Arena programme on the 'catch up' service yesterday and was suitably impressed! I never realised quite what an interesting character Mr Golding was and how many books he had actually written apart from 'the one'!
It was a pity that there wasn't more content from those who were taught by him, especially as so much time was taken to interview them but what was included was relevant. His life at BWS was simply marginalised. His teaching. His acting. His participation in musical events. His eccentricities. His contribution of religious books to the library. His 'scruffiness' offset by his immaculate turn-out in naval uniform on OTC/CCF days. And more. ...
It was quite compulsively fascinating as a study of a weirdo genius. All-in-all an educational and informative programme which I surprised myself by being totally enthralled.
From Dr David Happold:
I had not expected the programme to be so long or so informative. It was fascinating and I learned a lot about 'Scruff' that I did not know but there was also a lot about him that I did know. It was lovely to see some of the old photos, and I recognised some of the staff and boys [these mostly taken before I was at BWS]. I did not know about the very long diaries which 'Scruff' wrote, nor about some of his 'dreams'. He was such a complex person.
I remember his English classes, and the way he set us to work and then started to write in his exercise books, usually (if I recall correctly] in red biro pen. We used to wonder what he was writing -and now one can assume that it was 'Lord of the Flies' or one of his many other books. We have often wondered how many of the ideas, and characteristics of the boys, came from BWS boys of those days. Has the Arena film received good reviews in UK?
I have not read Carey's biography of 'Scruff', but I think I heard a commentary which suggested that it was not a particularly good assessment of 'Scruff'.
Another interesting snippet. My Father had a number of his books published by Faber and Faber, and he used to go to London quite often to see Sir Geoffrey Faber. Since my Father knew about Scruff's writing, I wonder if he recommended that 'Scruff' should submit them to Faber and Faber - and where it was eventually accepted for publication?
Other quotes from the OW magazine:
“I did enjoy the film. Someone said to me today that it was very depressing. I wish she had heard your radio comments, for you speak with affection as well as honestly. I have just watched bits of the programme again”.
“I thought it was a very good programme, excellent balance between life and works”.
“I certainly enjoyed the programme; it evoked many more memories of my time at BWS (1954-1961) than I had anticipated, as well as providing a deeper appreciation of Golding. Whilst it is true that Adam Low made little use of our contributions, that is perhaps understandable when you see in the finished documentary the large amount of material that he was handling and the emphasis he was aiming for”.