Alastair Sim: The Real Belle of St Trinian's by Mark Simpson
Alastair Sim was an enigmatic character both on and off the screen. His idiosyncratic style of acting in films such as The Belles of St Trinian's endeared him to a cinema-going audience desperate to escape the day-to-day dreariness of an invasive, bureaucratic post-war Britain. In private, he was a curiously contradictory character, prejudiced and yet tolerant, thoughtful but sometimes inconsiderate. To examine the life of this extraordinary man, this biography contains original contributions from around thirty actors and actresses, including Sir Ian McKellen and Ronnie Corbett. It is supported by extensive research, including interviews with the playwright Christopher Fry, the television producer John Howard Davies and actors who appeared on stage with Alastair as far back as the 1940s. This book also explores Alastair's life outside of films, including his marriage to Naomi Sim (whom he first met when she was twelve), his career as an elocution teacher, his extensive work on stage (including his theatrical endeavours with James Bridie), his championship of youth and his stalwart refusal to sign autographs. Alastair Sim offers a rare and fascinating insight into the life of one of Britain's most respected and best-loved actors.