Education: Passed/Failed: Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson, 69, presents `Brain of Britain', `Ad Lib' and, also on Radio 4, the forthcoming `Conversations With Strangers'. His autobiography, `Skip All That', was published at the end of last year.

Brain of the form? At what used to be called an elementary school - a state primary - there were classes of 48 or 50 and I would come about 32nd, until I suddenly came third. Then I went on coming third or even first.

Secondary school? After taking what we called "the scholarship", I went to Raynes Park Grammar School. Although it was a state school, you paid four guineas a term, but not if you were poor. It looked exactly like the biscuit and fish-paste factories that surrounded it but the school song was written by WH Auden and the prizes were presented by TS Eliot.

A dead cert? At the school certificate [GCSE] I scored a glorious failure in an exam called practical maths, which was something to do with ladders leaning against walls. I was baffled and drew the diagrams very big to fill the space. Despite that, I got the best results for the exams in the school.

Honestly? I'm afraid I cheated in geography, tearing out the pages of my geography notebook and spreading them in front of me. I don't think I'd do it again, from fear of being caught. I remember a boy cheating in French and being marched out.

Higher thoughts? I sailed through higher certificate [A-levels] in history, French and English but they were all Bs and even now it makes me grind my teeth that I didn't get any As.

Brain of Oxford? When I arrived, I told a historian that I was reading English and he said, "Oh, I thought I'd do that in the evenings." He was as thick as a plank, too.

Finals? I got a respectable second. At the end of the first year there was a Shakespeare exam and, lo, two distinctions - the equivalent of a first - were awarded; Tony Richardson got one and I got the other. This was partly due to my borrowing the notes of an industrious undergraduate who had attended all the relevant lectures. He said, "I am honoured to have contributed to such a meritorious result." But had I, in improving my own chances, diminished his - like a vampire?

Oxfamous? I was editor of Isis. As an actor, I was no good but neither was anyone else. It was after midnight before I, as Perkin in Perkin Warbeck by John Ford, took my final bow and only a skeleton audience remained.

Glittering prizes? I've won a couple of prizes for Personality of the Year. The burglars stole the one from the Variety Club, after they'd been sick on the carpetn

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition