This film is part of Free

Anthony Newley

The multitalented actor, singer and songwriter discusses his new life in California and his countercultural values.

1967 32 mins


Hackney-born actor, singer and songwriter Anthony Newley was riding high when this interview was shot in December 1967. Following his transatlantic hit stage musical Stop the World - I Want to Get Off (an allegorical satire on fame and power co-written with Leslie Bricusse), Newley relocated to California with his wife Joan Collins and their children. He tells interviewer Bernard Braden about his concerns at Ronald Reagan's "frightening" politics and his disgust at California's "cultural wasteland".

Perhaps contradictorily, Newley seeks to combine "the good life" of capitalism with the "peace of mind" of Eastern philosophy - newly fashionable thanks partly to the Beatles' public embrace of the teachings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Newley's comments highlight the increasing challenge to the social and cultural mores of Western society by an idealistic younger generation, who advocated a turn away from materialism and towards more spiritual values. "Suffers from European/North American dichotomy," summarised Braden in his notes of the interview. This is one of more than 300 interviews filmed for Braden's ultimately unbroadcast TV series, Now and Then. Several other examples are also available on BFI Player, including Cilla Black and Ronnie Scott.