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My grandchildren are not vehicles


I don't feel old
Jonathan Miller Theatre director
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[Q] Have you got anything to say about old age? I mean…

No, the only thing I have to say about old age is that this is one of the things that seems to happen, or it has happened to me, is that while I was sort of sparklingly sociable in the early days when I was in the theatre… I… it seems to be associated with getting older, not because I feel myself feeble or disabled by old age at the moment, I have a bad back and I can’t walk around quite so much as I used to, but I’m perfectly healthy, but I don’t have any particular feeling about the arithmetic sum of my years, as if it’s getting on top of me and anything like that.

I’m nearer to death, I suppose, and all I have... I have anxieties only about what will happen when I get ill enough to be disabled and perhaps in pain and wish to end it.  But otherwise I have no feelings about old age at all. I feel myself to be very much the same person that I was when I was younger. I mean, my interests are the same and I, you know, go on reading the same sort of stuff and get as interested in a certain range of things as I was when I was, say, 30 or 40 years younger, so I don’t feel age as such means very much to me.

Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) was a British theatre and opera director. Initially studying medicine at Cambridge, Sir Jonathan Miller came to prominence with the production of the British comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe. Following on from this success he embarked on a career in the theatre, directing a 1970 West End production of The Merchant of Venice starring Laurence Olivier. He also started directing opera, famously producing a modern, Mafia-themed version of Rigoletto.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: old age, theatre, getting older, health, death, pain, activity, age

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2008

Date story went live: 16 August 2011