LETTER: Baxter: not the invisible man

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The Independent Online
I READ Cole Moreton's attempts to interview Stanley Baxter with mounting irritation ("The invisible man", Sunday Review, 17 December).

When researching my book on Dennis Potter (Fight and Kick and Bite), I wrote to Baxter because he appeared in Potter's first play, The Confidence Course. Baxter telephoned me and we had a long and enormously enjoyable conversation which moved easily from the particular matter to a more general view of the actor/comedian's career and present circumstances.

Dennis Potter himself was frequently deemed reclusive yet he always talked openly and readily. It's just a matter of approaching people in a thoughtful way, without planting the fear that somehow you will betray them. Stanley Baxter talked to me generously and even indiscreetly but he understood the parameters we had established. I only used what was germane.

Perhaps I missed an opportunity in not following up with a request to interview him comprehensively and on the record about his own career - a possibility perhaps now killed by Moreton's article.

W Stephen Gilbert

London N8