Mark Rylance and Me

Sir Mark Rylance, star of stage, screen and TV, had a grandfather who was a PoW in Hong Kong. You may remember that back in the spring I was approached by a TV production company who wanted to know all about the battle of Hong Kong and the PoW experience? Well, the series they were making is soon to air on Channel 4 as “My Grandparents’ War” with 4 shows, each hosted by a celebrity. The episode featuring Sir Mark and Hong Kong will air in December, last of the 4 shows. Sadly, they didn’t fly me to Hong Kong and I didn’t meet Sir Mark (boohoo, I’m a massive fan), but it’ll be great to have the role of Hong Kong in WW2 highlighted. They’ve sold the rights internationally so it will be seen by a large audience, which I am really pleased about. I will update with more details when I know the precise dates and times that the films will be shown.

I had a lovely letter of appreciation from HRH the Princess Royal’s secretary, following my donation to the RDA. I was away when the letter from Buckingham Palace arrived and had to ask Julian to open it for me. Just in case it was about my imminent damehood…

It will soon be Remembrance Day and once again my heart goes out to all those whose loved ones gave their today for our tomorrow. We should all be deeply grateful for the peace that we have enjoyed in Europe these last 75 years. We share so much with our European neighbours and I am minded to quote Vera Brittain in the closing pages of “Testament of Youth” when she muses on the role of the survivors after the First World War:

“Perhaps, after all, the best that we who were left could do was to refuse to forget, and to teach our successors what we remembered in the hope that they, when their own day came, would have more power to change the state of the world than this bankrupt, shattered generation. If only, somehow, the nobility which in us had been turned towards destruction could be used in them for creation, if the courage which we had dedicated to war could be employed, by them, on behalf of peace, then the future might indeed see the redemption of man instead of his further descent into chaos.”