Sir Tom Courtenay is one of Britain’s most illustrious actors. His career spans five decades of award-winning stage, film and television performances. He meets leading theatre critic Michael Billington, to discuss his early career including his iconic role in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962). Regarded as one of the top British films ever made, it tells a story of rebellious youth and class consciousness.
Tom starred in a string of successful films such as Doctor Zhivago (1965) The Dresser (1983) and 45 Years (2015) but claims his main love is theatre. His memoir Dear Tom: Letters from Home – is a collection of letters between Tom and his mother which captures his time as a struggling young actor in the heyday of the swinging sixties. His recent work includes The King of Thieves (2018) and The Railway Children Return (2022).
Michael Billington is a specialist writer on theatre. He was the chief theatre critic for The Guardian for almost thirty years and has written more than 10,000 reviews. He is the author of State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945, awarded the Theatre Book Prize.