The first in a series of three programmes asking what we get from reading, and writing, diaries.
Writing a diary can be dangerous. As can reading one. Richard E Grant, a diarist since childhood, uncovers the power of the diary. He considers the diaries of Joe Orton, Kenneth Williams, Erwin James, John Diamond and Rosemary Ackland and asks whether a diary should, or could, ever be totally honest, wholly accurate and absolutely true.
Richard talks with Joe Orton's sister, Leonie, about her long-held belief that Orton's confessional diary was actually responsible for him losing his life. Richard also meets prison diarist Erwin James to understand the power of writing for a serving offender. Joss Ackland tells Richard about editing his wife's 50-plus years of diary writing. And Richard meets with Sheila Hancock to talk about Kenneth Williams' diary, in which she appeared many times. Williams had a charming public face. But in the diaries he could be savage. He even wrote that he'd never again speak to Sheila Hancock.