After a break lasting more than two decades from the role, Sir Ian McKellen is going to fill the shoes of Walter again (the role he played in the 1982 production of the same name) for Walter Now, the radio sequel to both Walter and Walter and June.
From what I gather, Walter Now picks up years later, after Walter struggled with learning disabilities and spent years in a psychiatric hospital. Walter Now will have Walter living in a hostel with other folks, trying to adjust to living outside a hospital environment after spending so much time living inside one.
According to The Guardian across the pond, McKellen is all geared up for the production, and actually told producer/director Claire Grove that he wanted to revisit the role:
“Ian told me not a week goes by when he doesn’t think of Walter. He felt there were aspects of Walter in him which made it easier to play him. He feels very strongly about the way people with disabilities are treated, and the project made him feel stronger about that.”
That made my heart smile. I know nothing about the disabilities or why the character spends time in a psychiatric hospital, but I’m willing to predict McKellen’s off-screen passion will show through is on-screen (or, on-air) performance.
Walter Now will air on BBC Radio 4 at 2:30 p.m. January 10, 2009. I don’t know that I’ll be able to listen to it (being here in The States and all), but it looks like Radio 4 offers some programs live online, as well as some playbacks. So, we shall see.
If you’re at all familiar with Walter or Walter and June, feel free to chime in and let us know what you thought of them!
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Last reviewed: 2 Dec 2011