Tony Garnett has spent his life telling other people’s stories. Now, for the first time, he tells his own in his new autobiography. Honest, moving and passionate, The Day the Music Died, is a book dedicated to the truth. It is now available to buy on Amazon.
A note from Tony Garnett
At eighty, one starts to look back. One has “what’s it all about, Alfie?” moments. My Uncle Fred, when asked if he knew the meaning of life said he did. It was the hokey-cokey.“ You do the hokey-cokey and you turn around. That’s what it’s all about”. I thought this was a little elliptical, so my first step was to try to make connections. Events and actions that hitherto had seemed separate might be related in unexpected ways. I wanted to create a credible narrative, possibly because I’ve spent my life telling stories. I just hoped to make some sense of it all. We humans give meaning to facts through telling stories.
I had put off writing this memoir for years, resisting attempts to persuade me, fearing it would be too painful. It was. But after two years of struggle I finally had on the page all that I could remember. Culled from this unwieldy mess of words, the published book emerges. It was a relief.
I did discover connections between my early life and the later public work. Each film and TV Drama Series I willed into existence could not have been made if my early life had been different. They were unconscious attempts to deal with unresolved conflicts and agonies. The obvious emerged from the hidden.
My early life had left me damaged and in denial. It became my life’s work, hidden from the world, to reinvent myself as the person I really was: a reconstruction of the authentic. That is the hidden story behind all the public stories of my life. My work is by definition public. Odd that I should have chosen such a public life in which to hide.
I reveal the stories behind the story, taking the reader from Cathy Come Home and Kes in the ‘60s right through to the turn of the Century with Between the Lines and This Life. How did they happen? What was it like on location? I give a blow by blow account of the battles with senior management at the BBC. I speculate on the politics of the times. I speak as I feel, but without rancour, of the many personalities I encountered.
But it begins, as it does with everyone, with family. It is tragic, funny, dramatic, angry and loving. Just like your story.
This is mine.