FROM AVON: THE PAUL DARROW SOCIETY
1st October 1998
It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death today of Vere Lorrimer. As you can image, Paul and Janet and all who knew him are absolutely devastated by the news, as no one knew he was ill. Paul will be writing an article on Vere for the next Avon club newsletter.
Considering the stories about him, he looks remarkably sensible!
Cheers, Jim Bartlett
How extremely sad I am to hear the news about Vere Lorrimer. I'd been lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions around the period he directed the season of plays in Worthing with PD, MK and JLP. The Connaught Theatre, where the plays were being staged, held an open day prior to the season of plays to promote them with Vere, Paul and Michael in attendance. I went over from Cambridge with my friend Fiona after we'd seen this advertized in, I think, the Horizon newsletter. Paul and Michael were much in demand, and we managed to get a couple of snaps and exchange a few words. Then Fiona pointed out a silver-haired gentleman who was sitting in one of the rows of seats: 'I'm sure that's Vere Lorrimer!' she said, tho' the photo in Tony Attwood's programme guide was all we had to go on!
Eventually we screwed up enough courage to go and say 'hello': indeed it was Vere, and he was absolutely charming. We sat and chatted for a good half-hour, and then he was very amenable to having us take photos: in fact, he took great pains to make sure that the shots would come out, and insisted that we took shots of us all with and without glasses in case there was any lens-flare to spoil the picture!
The next time that we met was again in Worthing, when Fiona and I went with another friend (Andrew) to see one of the plays Vere had produced: 'Dial M for Murder', with Paul, Michael and Janet Lees Price (and great fun it was too - we only just stopped short of booing at a pricelessly villainous Paul every time he appeared on stage!) We had written to Vere in advance to arrange to meet him, as Andrew was then in the process of writing a book about the show for Virgin (sadly, this didn't materialize). Vere had agreed to meet and talk to Andrew about the possibility of an in-depth interview.
I recall that on this trip, Fiona had just had some surgery on her knee, and was hobbling around on crutches. When we met Vere after the show he was most concerned about her. Again, he was charming, humorous, courteous and entertaining. We fixed a date to meet him again, and then had to dash off for a train. Vere was horrified at the thought of Fiona hobbling off for a taxi, and insisted on driving us to the station. We hopped into his little car, and he fussed around Fiona, making sure she was comfortable. As we were driving along, he asked her to get out his cigars from the glove compartment, and puffed away at them. It was only after he had parked, helped Fiona out, and sent us on our way that Fiona was able to tell us that the cigars were embossed in italic script with 'Vere'! True showmanship!
Andrew and I went down to Vere's flat in London to interview him about his experiences on B7. As I recall, the walls were covered with snaps of the great and good from the stage and screen, all signed with love to Vere. It was during this interview that I got a real understanding of the breadth of Vere's experience as a director. I hadn't understood just how far back and comprehensively his career had stretched, beginning in the theatre and spanning the start of television in the UK. He was very proud to have been the first director on shows such as 'The Sooty Show' and 'This is Your Life'.
His stories about Blake's 7 showed how much joy he had got working on the programme. He recalled with glee how he had pulled off an extremely difficult piece of back-projected filming on 'Cygnus Alpha' whilst the rest of the crew were shaking their heads and muttering, 'You'll never manage it...' He explained about his planned ideas for a sung theme for season 4, and played us the recording he had made of the rearranged theme tune - and sung the words for us as we listened! Everything he said and described was full of enthusiasm and energy, and fondness for a time when he had clearly had enormous fun.
I hope people haven't minded these extensive reminiscences. I only met Vere on 3 quite brief occasions but he was, quite simply, unforgettable.
Back to News Index
Back to Blakes 7 Index