Alec Guinness: A Secret Man (29 Dec. 2003)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary
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Arena documentary chronicles the life and work of one of Britain's greatest actors.


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Title: Alec Guinness: A Secret Man (29 Dec 2003)

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Episode credited cast:
Herself (as Dame Eileen Atkins)
Frith Banbury ...
Sam Beazley ...
John Howard Davies ...
Simon Gray ...
Himself / Various Roles (archive footage)
Gary Kurtz ...
Himself (archive footage)
Anthony Lee ...


Arena documentary chronicles the life and work of one of Britain's greatest actors.

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User Reviews

Appallingly Intrusive and the worst type of Tabloid TV
17 February 2006 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I usually love Arena bio-docs, but the Alec Guinness one was there to serve no greater purpose than to advertise somebody's gossipy and scandalous book. They even interviewed the author throughout where he gave us "amazing" revelations about how evil Guinness was and how dare we have the cosy reputation of him as a great actor in our memories without the necessary added details of the insecurity, bisexuality and lack of family spirit that this guy deemed as so essential for us to know. Some of it was clearly pure speculation, the rest agenda-led (for whatever reason). There was hardly any insight into Guinness's achievements as the thing we know him for - an actor.

GO AWAY PIERS PAUL READ. It's NONE of your business - or if it is, as you clearly think so, leave the exclusive revelations to the newspapers (oh, sorry, you did already - in which I read a ranting article, by you, about how he was "cruel and bullying" to his wife, Merula - and also where your book, which promises more exclusives, is available to buy). OK Guinness may not have been perfect but it's clear from conjecture he wasn't a wife beater. Read was basically claiming that Guinness lied about himself all the way through his life and "HOW DARE HE - why didn't he write loads of books about the bad things in his life...? Oh well, I might as well do it after his death - he won't mind, he's dead and cannot sue or be offended. That's how much my friendship with him meant to me, I'll make my buck off of it, at HIS expense." So he had a few deep routed frustrated feelings for the same sex - well mate, I'm amazed and delighted that you're so happy and content with your emotions, but the rest of us are not always so comfortable with our lives, or secure with our emotions (and who are you to brand Guinness's feelings as scandalous - on screen it's clear you're one screaming closeted queen). Are his personal demons any of our business? Clearly not, and it's totally disrespectful to yell them at top volume when it was clear that he was a very private man.

I feel very strongly about this - Arena should be about art and artists, not some promotional fluff of the pink variety. More Clint Eastwood style bio-docs, more Richard Attenborough style bio-docs, less bullsh*t.

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