Notes by Ian McKellen about WALTER

Walter and June (Ian McKellen and Sarah Miles) fall in love

By the second film (Walter and June) Walter is over 40 years old. He meets the mentally-ill June and together they run away from the mental hospital. The suggestion that it is inappropriate for the mentally-handicapped to have sex was challenged by the love scene between Walter and his girl-friend.

His adventures over, Walter (Ian McKellen) immortalises his name.

All in all, Walter was a hugely satisfying project and I was honoured to be part of it. Afterwards I visited my new friends who had joined the cast from Drummonds, a home for the handicapped in East Anglia. My citation as 'Royal Television Society's Performer of the Year' is kept by them.

The reputations of Stephen Frears and Chris Menges have soared since 1982 and this early work ought to be available. It was shot on 16mm film but would have been worth the minimal expense of blowing it up to the cinema level of 35mm after its sensational success on the home screens. When John Schlesinger paid to do the same with his Cold Comfort Farm its acclaim in USA cinemas surprised and shamed the BBC. Why doesn't Channel 4 at least release Walter on video for which it was designed? [Webmaster's note: Walter has since been released on DVD.]

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