50th birthdays undeniably deserve to be celebrated properly, and last night's 150-minute live relay on BBC2 served as a very proper big birthday bash for the Royal National Theatre.
Most of those still alive who have, over the half century, given greatest service upon the RNT stages were there: many of the famous dead (Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson R., Scofield) were brought back to life through film clips. As the evening galloped along, Caroline and I watched enthralled. Undoubtedly some gobbits worked better than others: the two Stoppard extracts fell flat, compared with a sublimely funny and moving scene from Angels in America, for instance. But it was the French lesson from The History Boys, with its creator Alan Bennett as Hector (a role he never played on stage, so far as I know) that stole the show.
Proper, improper? The good old BBC prefaced its broadcast with a foul language warning: more appropriate would be a foul (fowl?) behaviour warning for Miley Cyrus's recent award ceremony cavorting - but what a great David Attenborough twerk tweak! Unwittingly, old Attenborough, prophetically commenting upon our sad times, may have found himself a new, young audience.
Three of our apple trees must be 50 years old or more: they have fruited this year as if it's a jubilee. I'm off out to climb the ladder and pick more, before the winds blow them all down. This one was photographed at Schofields.