Trending: Richard Wilson puts one foot in the meta-fictional world
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Tuesday 24 April 2012
Richard Wilson, the Scots actor best known for the role of Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave, is to narrate his own celebrity autobiography for BBC Radio 4 next month.
The series, Believe It!, will also include dramatised scenes from Wilson's life featuring stars such as David Tennant, Arabella Weir and John Sessions.
This four-part "radiography" is not quite what it seems, however. Some of the stories in the series may be true – Wilson's politics, or his affection for Manchester United, for example – but much of it is exaggerated and fictionalised: the childhood in poverty, the second career in spying, and the "fierce rivalry with Sean Connery". The first clue to its satirical bent is in the title. The actor, 75, is famously reluctant to repeat Meldrew's catchphrase, "I don't believe it!"
Wilson is far from the first celebrity to play this particular trick. Curb Your Enthusiasm is the gold standard for a sitcom sub-genre that includes Extras, Entourage and The Larry Sanders Show. Wilson has even appeared as a comic version of himself before, for a beloved 1998 episode of Father Ted, "The Mainland", in which he assaults Ted after the hapless priest yells the aforementioned catchphrase at him, thinking he'll appreciate it.
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