David Hare to recall memories of Swinging Sixties by finally penning his memoirs

The left wing playwright and scourge of New Labour reveals that he is writing an account of his life... but that it will end in 1978

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David Hare to recall memories of Swinging Sixties by finally penning his memoirs
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Left wing playwright David Hare is finally writing his memoirs, RadioTimes.com can reveal.

The 66-year-old writer and husband of designer Nicole Farhi tells us that he was prompted to start his own autobiography after revisiting the era of his youth in his recent stage play South Downs.

The play, showing life at a school very like the Lancing College he attended in the 1960s, made Hare want to preserve his recollections of the time, he tells us.

“After I wrote that play I spent my time explaining to all these kids what life in the 1950s and 1960s was like – they had no idea,” he says. “I suddenly realised how long ago it was, how far away it is for some people and I want to capture it.”

South Downs was written as an answer to Terrence Rattigan’s The Browning Version to mark the centenary of the latter writer’s birth in 1911 and was well received. In the play, a young boy thought to be a version of Hare himself is helped by an act of kindness.

However, Hare – whose BBC2 film Turks and Caicos airs later this month and will see Bill Nighy reprise his role as idealistic spy Johnny Worricker – will not be writing about his later life.

In fact, he plans to end his memoirs in 1978 when he was 31 and achieved success with one of his earliest plays, Plenty, a meditation on the disillusionment of the post Second World War settlement in Britain.

“Life gets a lot less interesting after that,” he chuckles. “I didn’t know I was going to be a writer before then, so hopefully young writers will find it interesting.”

The sad news is of course, that there will be nothing about his life in the 1980s onwards – a period when his acclaimed trilogy about the church, politicians and legal profession was written. And nothing either about plays like Stuff Happens and The Vertical Hour which have torn shreds out of George Bush, the New Labour project and of course Tony Blair.

Read a full interview with David Hare in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale now.