Mister O’Toole

In the wake of Peter O’Toole’s death, and the annual New Year Honours, The Guv’nor reflects on one of the greats…


Considered opinion informs me that Lawrence of Arabia is possibly the greatest film ever made. I think it could be.


I knew him. Not Lawrence. But the great, late Peter O’Toole.


I didn’t know him well. But he always remembered me and, strangely, would always say, “Hello William! How are you?”


Everybody else calls me Bill.


Lawrence, Becket, Lion in Winter. Not just brilliant. They are great.


The energy. The enthusiasm. He filled the cinema with a real person – as he did the theatre.


I’m not going to go on about him, as you all know so much about him already.


He, with Burton, Finney and Harris and, of course, Hopkins, are absolute greats.


Peter O'Toole

I was pleased to read that Mister O’Toole turned down a knighthood. As did Finney. I’m sure that Burton and Harris would have turned them down, too. They would have said: Don’t be silly.


Hopkins is, of course, Sir Anthony. And he loves Wales. His knighthood has allowed him to do many things to benefit his beloved country. The other great knights – Sir Michael and Sir Sean – are hugely commercial actors in the cinema and the knighthood is useful in their profession. And very good for our country.


(I would loved to have seen Caine’s Lear or Connery’s Scottish king, but, alas, it never happened.)


Whenever I saw Mister O’Toole in Soho, he always looked elegant, a three-piece, single-breasted suit, a coat thrown over his shoulders and a brown trilby hat.


Thank you Mister O’Toole for illuminating our lives and making them so exciting.



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