Wednesday, 5 December 2012


In Saturday's newspaper there was an obituary of Joy Parker, an actor who died last month aged 90. I can't say I remember her, but my eye was caught by the accompanying photograph.

It showed Joy with the better-known Gwen Watford and Mia Farrow: they were in the title roles of Chekhov's Three Sisters - and I do well remember that 1973 production. It took place on the apron stage of Greenwich Theatre, with Charles Dance as the ghastly Solyony: his was not a performance I recall, any more than Joy Parker's Olga, but I haven't forgotten Mia Farrow's doll-like appearance as Irena.

It was a memorable evening also, being the first time Caroline and I went to the theatre together: there was a last-minute party of us, for whom she cooked supper afterwards - in the extremely primitive under-stairs kitchen of her flat in Regent Square.

Joy Parker's chief claim to fame might have been to have been married for 65 years to the same man, another actor: long stage marriages are rare. And her husband? None other than my absolute hero, Paul Scofield. (They had two children, Martin and Sarah.)

These birds were photographed in July at "Schofields", the garden.

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