What­ever hap­pened to Cle­ment and La Fre­nais?


wiped them out. If the last big earth­quake in Los An­ge­les had been at an­other time [of day], Ian might be dead,” says Dick. “My Baf­tas sit on top of the shelf and last time we had an earth­quake, a cou­ple of them fell down. If Ian had been sit­ting in his nor­mal chair, a Bafta would have landed on his head.”

Es­sex-born Dick and Northum­ber­land­born Ian moved to Los An­ge­les in the 1970s. Ev­ery day they meet to write, amass­ing draw­ers full of scripts and ideas for po­ten­tial new TV shows, films and mu­si­cals.

“We are very aware that any­one over about 65 is marginalised, cer­tainly in LA. What is as­ton­ish­ing is we are writ­ing a pilot for YouTube which is so youth ori­en­tated, no one could be­lieve it! They say ‘What?’.”

They re­cently met a gang of equally en­er­getic octo- and nona­ge­nar­i­ans, in­clud­ing 92-year-old film maker Mel Brooks.

“We got asked to have lunch with older Hol­ly­wood guys,” says Dick. “Some­one rang me up and said, ‘Do you want to go?’ I said ‘Who died?’ “But no one had, they just wanted us to come. The el­dest was Mel Brooks and an agent who is 86 and three pro­duc­ers and it was in­spir­ing to know they were all talk­ing about new ven­tures.”

With a con­stant stream of new ideas, it’s hardly sur­pris­ing that there is great in­ter­est in their au­to­bi­og­ra­phy that is due to be pub­lished next year.

Their chance first meeting in Lon­don’s Not­ting Hill is some­thing that they now enjoy be­ing vague about.

“We were in a pub hav­ing din­ner,” says Ian. “It was a re­ally ba­nal meeting so in the book we’ve in­vented two other ways to meet that are just more in­ter­est­ing.”

THEY have worked with some of the big­gest names of stage and screen. They wrote the screen­play for 1991’s The Com­mit­ments. “The celebrity names are for the pub­lisher – Sean Con­nery, Mar­lon Brando, Michael Caine and peo­ple like that – but it’s re­ally a mem­oir with each of us writ­ing a chap­ter. We are still search­ing for a ti­tle, but we’ve got a few months to de­cide,” says Ian.

The book is not planned as any type of farewell. Says Dick with a sparkle in his eye: “We have this film script about a woman who fights tiger poach­ers. We’d like to work with Char­l­ize Theron. Can you let her know please?”

Chas­ing Bono is at the Soho The­atre (so­hothe­atre.com) until Jan­uary 19.

CLAS­SIC: James Bo­lam and Rod­ney Bewes in What­ever Hap­pened To The Likely Lads?

NEW VEN­TURE: Ian La Fre­nais, far left, and Dick Cle­ment with the­atre pro­ducer Sally Wood

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