LETTER:In defence of Stephen Fry

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The Independent Online
From Mr James Christopherson

Sir: You may recall that I was the unfortunate victim of an assault last February, following the annual Uppingham Old Boys' Dinner ("Fine for attack on actor's friend", 27 September 1994). The reason for this vicious attack was my coming to the defence of Stephen Fry, who was the guest speaker.

In the months that followed, Stephen gave me invaluable moral support, as well as agreeing to be a witness in court. He agreed to this, fully in the knowledge that the press would have a field day, at his expense, should he appear in the witness box. Certain members of the Conservative press have been dying to have a go at him for years!

Was this the action of a man acting "in the most cowardly fashion", as recently described by Simon Gray ("Producer may sue Fry over closure of play", 15 March)? No, it was the action of a man who risked considerable adverse publicity about his personal life, in order to see two "bully boys" brought to book and justice done.

To blame an actor, who has given so much pleasure to so many millions of people, for the demise of what is, by all accounts, a pretty mediocre play, is both harsh and unfair. This is even more the case if he is suffering from depression or stress, as a result of a punishing work-load in recent years.

Stephen Fry deserves our whole-hearted support, as well as some time and space to reflect upon the next chapter of his life. Please, will members of the press now kindly let the matter rest?

Yours faithfully,


London, SW6

15 March