Said by Michael Jayston
From the 1973 Radio Times issue about "Jane Eyre""I'd love to live in a place like this [Norton Conyers]. It's much easier to imagine a fire burning in Renishaw, which we actually used for the filming. There there would be no escape; here you could jump out of even the top windows. Rochester is all women's ideal of a man; arrogant yet strangely vulnerable."
From the "Doctor Who The Completely Unofficial Encyclopedia""Speaking of which Michael Jayston once told us he refused to say the line 'You blundering imbecile, you've triggered a ray phase shift!' until the writers assured him it was scientifically accurate. Right..."
From "Laurence Olivier" by John Cottrell"At drama school," says Michael Jayston, "we used to do the 'Once more unto the breach' to a strict vocal pattern. Now Olivier breaks all the rules we were taught in saying that speech. He does it like an aria, and the way he moves up and down the scale is, strictly speaking, all wrong. If you try to do it his way it sounds bad. Yet somehow he makes it sound the most effective way to do it. He's like that in his approach to so many things; he tends to go for what is most interesting and exciting, and he will quite happily break up a rhythm in the process. It ties in, too, with his habit of aiming to be different, to do the unexpected. In Nicholas and Alexandra, for example, everyone said 'Sar.' He said, 'Ts-Sar.' And it sounded great. Then again he will say words like 'outmanoovered' and 'deformitee,' which sounds pendantic if you say them, but which sound absolutely right when he does it. He also has a marvelous way of going up on certain lines; in retrospect this emphasis may mean nothing, but at the immediate theatrical moment it means everything."
Jayston is more specific. "He can dilate and undilate the pupils of his eyes in a second. I've tried it- and you can do it by looking into a mirror, into the distance, and then looking back again. But he can do it at any time and at will. It's a marvelous effect- for example, when you're getting angry- and though it wouldn't mean anything on stage it is a very useful device on film. I've never seen anybody else do it. Also I've noticed that the pupils of Olivier's eyes are bigger than most people's; they seem about half as much again. Somehow, on stage you imagine his eyes are brown. They look dark. In reality, they are a very clear blue."
"He really is a terribly funny man," says Michael Jayston. "Not at all what one expects when meeting him for the first time. Among friends, away from the glare of publicity, he really can be one of the boys. Quite wild. He likes his booze as much as anyone, and when he's relaxed he's the greatest entertainer in the world. During the filming of Nicholas and Alexandra in Spain we had a party and he started to reminisce about things, and of course we were trying to pick his brain, asking all those is-it-true kind of questions. Was it true, for example, that Ralph Richardson fell through the ceiling at Notley Abbey? And we found that all those stories were virtually true, and we heard it from the master's mouth. Maybe slightly embroidered, but an absolutely fascinating tour de force. Why, he kept going for something like three hours. A riveting performance."
From a Cricket Match Report in 2006: "Beers were partaken in the Laughing Fish and relations between the teams were cordial. Michael Jayston, well known actor and Rottingdean slow bowler, commented that the tea, although extremely nice, had some very thick sandwiches."
From an interview about leaving the TV show 'Emmerdale':Meanwhile, Michael Jayston said of his exit: "I've had a marvellous time filming the show. There are no egos at Emmerdale and I've made a lot of friends. I'm looking forward to filming Donald's dramatic demise!"
Turner [the producer] added: "It has been a real privilege to work with Michael; he's a fantastic actor and has been a great asset to the show. His exit storyline is full of compelling drama which we hope will leave him with fond memories of his time on Emmerdale. We wish him all the best for the future."
From an article on actor John Thaw"He has, of course, done other things as well, including Competition, a play in the Armchair Theatre series, in which he acted opposite Michael Jayston. "I found John Thaw very jokey to work with," says Jayston. "I remember we had to recite a long speech to each other, and we absolutely refused to discuss it beforehand because we knew that we would just go to pieces and never be able to do it at all."
From an interview for his play 'Quartet' Opera Stars in the Twilight ZoneFor the cast of Quartet, work has happily not started to dry up. After the tour, West is doing Caryl Churchills A Number with his son Samuel at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark in the autumn.
Susannah York continues to work in film, television and fringe theatre while Gwen Taylor has just completed nearly five years in Heartbeat.
Michael has done a lot of radio lately.
Somebodys got to play the old duffers, says Timothy.
For the fit, older actor, Michael adds, the future is even quite bright. At my age more people are dropping off the perch. So there is more chance for actors of 65 or 70 getting parts, he quips.
from a fan's encounter at a Doctor Who convention (August 2011)[...] the biggest draw for me was special guest Michael Jayston, the weekends main Doctor. I jabbered excitedly about several of his roles as I got him to sign a bundle of DVD inserts, and regretted that theres no CD of Rogue Male I could bring along to add to the pile. Well, theyre always repeating it, he suggested, with just a touch less enthusiasm than I might have expected, before moving on to ask if Id heard the sequel, Rogue Justice; I dont think its nearly as good, he commented. A bit of a relief, as Im wary of telling people at signings which bits of their work arent so great, and though his performance was nearly as good when BBC7 got him in to record Rogue Justice in 2009, the novel really isnt. A sequel written more than forty years later, abandoning the tension and claustrophobia of the original to leapfrog across different countries and this time blatantly pitting the main character against the Nazis, I told him I agreed: It doesnt have anything like the same intensity or ambiguity. He nodded at that. But why the lack of enthusiasm for the original reading, when everyone Ive talked to or read about it had loved it too?
Up on stage after hed finished signing autographs, I had my answer. In a wide-ranging interview that only started at Doctor Who, Mr Jayston caught my eye in the audience and raised Rogue Male. At the time, hed just spent two or three months doing audiobooks and was, as he said, match fit; they booked him for six days to record Rogue Male, and he did it in three, flying through that sort of work after a couple of months limbering up. So when it began broadcasting and friends in the business directors, other actors starting ringing him up to say how brilliant it was, he thought they were taking the piss. To him, it was just a job hed galloped through with ease in three days, but because people rate it so highly and its frequently repeated, he feels mildly embarrassed at the attention it gets. The same is true of his Only Fools and Horses, again only a few days work, and the one drunks always recognise him for hell go through most of his career, than say I was the one who found the watch last, and its always that.
In 1986s Doctor Who The Trial of a Time Lord, he was the Valeyard, prosecuting counsel in the Doctors trial, and a title thats said to mean Doctor of Law. In fact, its a wholly made-up word with a bogus definition as a hint: hes really the Doctors future self, and has it in for himself in a big way. And asked if hed like to return as the Valeyard or simply Doctor Mr Jayston was quite certain: yes.
Theres no doubt about it I am one of the Doctors.
I keep sending messages to Steven Moffat He was a very young writer when I worked for him and I thought, hes good, hes going places.
Quotes about Michael Jayston
From Audiofile 2001 Narrator Yearbook:;Michael Jayston: Michael views the basis of an actor's life as telling a story, and the natural extension is the aural experience of audiobooks. It helps when authors have a great story to tell, and some narrators get the plum titles. Michael has recorded two British authors who are American favorites, John le Carre and P.D. James. Recently Michael's recording of THE CONSTANT GARDENER by le Carre picked up an Earphones Award, adding to the accolades for his handling of the British spymaster's works. Le Carre "never cheats," Michael told us, giving the narrator an enviable challenge. Neither does Michael, who expresses the subtlety and complexity of stories without giving anything away. We also appreciate the dozen recordings of Alexander Kent's (Douglas Reeman) naval fiction. 2001 Yearbook
From an Interview with Saint Etienne- he did spoken bits on their album "Finisterre":Michael Jayston (a venerable British character actor) worked with you on this album. Did you have him come in and read the intros?
BOB: He came around to my flat and we sat on the other side of a screen while he read them out.
PETE: He was up for it. He thought it was funny which we were pleased with. We sent him a list of them before he came in so if objected to them or something. He was great, a really nice guy.
-Another interview with the girl from the group:
Y3: Who does the spoken song intros?
SARAH: That's an actor called Michael Jayston. He does lots of Radio 4 plays. And he's got this brilliant, slightly tragic voice we just really like. And so we got him to come and say things.
"Michael Jayston. He has this wonderful warmth, so you want to believe in what he says. It's a very dangerous quality, it's the great quality of seduction, which is why he works all the time. I don't see much of him now, but he once bought me a suit when we were in Hollywood and I had no money - a jumbo cord suit, a most wonderful light gold colour."
From "The Complete Films of Laurence Olivier" by Jerry VermilyeLaurence Olivier says:
"Franklin Schaffner, who directed Nicholas and Alexandra, was having a bit of a go at Michael Jayston, who played Nicholas: 'Make him weaker!' So Michael, one of your finest young actors, tried to make him weaker, but it just looked like weak acting. Then we noticed his eyes watered when he acted anger- just something he could do, lucky man, a marvellous gift. You could hardly do better than that as a symbol of weakness."
From "The Unruly Life of Woody Allen" by Marion Meade, p148Among the Previns' close friends was an English couple, Heather and Michael Jayston, and their three children. Michael, an actor who played Czar Nicholas in Nicholas and Alexandra, had appeared with Mia in Carol Reed's The Public Eye (1972). His wife, a tall woman with high cheekbones and shoulder-length auburn hair, was a glass-and-jewelry etcher. She was a good friend of Mia's, whose example resulted in the Jayston's adoption of a Vietnamese war orphan as well. By the time that the Jaystons divorced in 1977, Andre developed more than friendly feelings for the thirty-year-old Mrs. Jayston, who would become his fourth wife in 1982.
From "Lip Reading" by Maureen Lipman p54Meeting Michael Jayston in a Brighton street, he reminded me of the time we were filming together in the About Face series. Waiting around for the right light to film in a Nottinghamshire garden, he had stopped to admire some banks of resplendent peonies and bemoaned his own meagre display at home. Apparently I had instantaneously accused him of showing evidence of peonies envy, a pun which he'd remembered fondly and I'd obliterated. Till now, of course. And the next book, article, theatre programme and, one day, I guess, memorial celebration.