[Evelyn Waugh and the John Freeman interview on 'Face to Face'.] Producer Hugh Burnett's copy of the full transcript (by 'HMB') of the interview, featuring eight passages which do not appear to have been broadcast.

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), novelist; John Freeman (1915-2014), Labour MP and broadcaster; Hugh Burnett (1924-2011), producer; BBC TV series 'Face to Face']
Publication details: 
Without date or place, but with 'tv 26.6.60' [i.e. interview broadcast by the BBC, London, 26 June 1960].
SKU: 21086

This is the transcript of John Freeman's celebrated interview of Evelyn Waugh, broadcast in the BBC series 'Face to Face' on 26 June 1960. The Waugh interview is not among those which feature in Burnett's book 'Face to Face' (Jonathan Cape, 1964) and has never been published. Waugh was apprehensive about the interview, writing beforehand to his friend Tom Driberg, who knew Freeman from his time as a fellow Labour MP: ‘I have let myself in for cross-examination on Television by a man named Major Freeman who I am told was a colleague of yours in the Working Class Movement. Do you know anything damaging about him that I can introduce into our conversation if he becomes insolent?’ Freeman was aware, from the start, of the 'rehearsed antagonistic attitude' that Waugh was 'going to take to the interviewer', and during the course of the interview he found him 'very difficult [...] very uptight; I think he disliked me and whether he did or not he was extremely nervous.' (In contrast Burnett, in his introduction to the 1964 book, numbers Waugh among the interviewees who 'far from shrinking from the probe […] seemed to enjoy the experience'.) Looking back Freeman considered the interview 'an important one, really because this man in my judgement is one of the unquestionably great writers of this century, and I attached enormous importance to trying to make some sort of relation if I could between his work and Waugh as a human being. […] of all the people on the list of Face to Faces he is the one whom I think I hold in most honour.' The present transcript is a duplicated typescript, 13pp., foolscap 8vo. Paginated 1-13. First page headed: 'EVELYN WAUGH | FACE TO FACE | with | John Freeman | Produced by Hugh Burnett | tv 26.6.60'. 'HMB' (initials of transcriber?) at foot of last page. On thirteen leaves stapled together. In fair condition, lightly aged, with last leaf detached. The transcript contains eight substantial passages which are not present in the only version of the broadcast interview at present available. (That version is a little over 26 minutes long, and it seems unlikely that the original, broadcast between 9.40 and 10.10, can have been cut down.) The first passage is Waugh's ten-line response to Freeman's question 'What's your earliest memory of a [sic] family home? | WAUGH: Well, my father built a little house on a plot of land in what is now entirely obliterated, but it's hard to believe that fifty-six years ago there was a village called North End, Hampstead, a little hamlet – absolutely rural village within five miles of London. That's where he settled. It was quite distinct from Hamptsead and had a village pub, famous in song called the Bull and Bush, a little village shop and post-office combined, it had a dairy farm and the dairyman who sold his old milk, a lady of the manor – entirely like an English rural village now. | Does that house still stand? | I don't know. I should think not. The whole place has been obliterated and Golders Green has grown up, you know, from the bottom of the hill.' In the second passage Waugh discusses the merits of a large family. In the third he recalls that at school 'we were rather strictly brought up and severely punished. . . . . all this talk now about whether beating's a deterrent – the one thing which one could do at school which one wasn't beaten for was Corps offences. They generally imposed military punishments which were very negligible, like defaulters' parade, so that all our high spirits used to be concentrated on making the Corps ridiculous.' In the fourth Waugh recalls his youthful loss of faith: 'I remember I was sacristan and I and a fellow sacristan who is now a member of your party [Tom Driberg?] . . . . . . . were folding up some sort of surplice or vestment or something and I revealed to him, in secret, while we were doing this the fact that there was no God, and he was much shocked and he said “if you think that you've got no business to touch this chasuble” - or whatever it was - “and you must go and tell the Chaplain”. And so I went off and told the Chaplain that there wasn't a God and he wasn't the least impressed and didn't really I think do anything much to convince me there was. He was a very nice man!' In the fifth he discusses his children's education.' In the sixth he describes how his first novel Decline and Fall was 'a sort of succès d'estime, and that brought in commissions for articles and things'. The sixth passage is an important exchange. Freeman asks whether Waugh has 'a certain purpose in mind' when writing, and Waugh responds: 'Quite unconscious. It wouldn't occur to me to sit down and say I will now write a book to reveal the horrors of the gangs in this district or something like that. | FREEMAN: No, no. I'm sure of that. But now for instance recently you said that in your next book you're going to deal with ?Crouchback's [sic to question mark] realisation that no good comes from public causes but only private causes of the spirit. Now, this seems to me to be a didactic theme which the novelist is perfectly entitled to take, and I wonder when that first came to you? | WAUGH: Oh, I think always. I've never believe in public causes. | FREEMAN: But you see, in your earlier books I would have said the characterisation was perhaps not profound enough to reveal the private causes of the spirit. | WAUGH: No, that's quite true, but you certainly wouldn't say they revealed any public causes, would you? | FREEMAN: No! No, I wouldn't indeed! What is your favorite [sic] book? | WAUGH: One called Helena, no one's ever read, but awfully good.' In the eighth passage Freeman suggests that Waugh's Catholicism is bound up with 'the aristocratic life and so on', and wonders whether he would be 'equally interested in writing a book about the Little Flower, some Irish peasant saint' as the Empress Helena, to which Waugh replies 'But it wasn't about her sanctity I was writing, it was about the conditions of fourth century Rome, you see. She happened to be the empress.' Also omitted from the broadcast version, and present in the transcript, is Waugh's preamble to his explanation of his religious position, 'It's hard without using piestic language to explain'. There is also a disruption at the end of the transcript, with the omission of a few words of the interview as broadcast: p.12 ending '[…] before it was all taxed away. | WAUGH: [blank]' and p.13 beginning: 'a Catholic question to you out of the penny catechism. Do you remember the twelve fruits of the holy ghost? | […]'. Note: From Hugh Burnett papers. No other copy traced.