13th June 2002
By Richard Allinson.
Transcribed by Denise Hale.
During the phone call you can hear civilised party noises. The hum of conversation, occasional laughter and the gentle clinking of glasses.
Anyone who has ever been subjected to telephone training knows that you should smile when you speak, as it comes across in your voice, and Mr Grant is definitely smiling in this interview.
Richard Allinson (RA): We’re going to go to one of the most glamorous events in the social calendar. Well, I’ve been reliably informed it is anyway. We’re going to go to the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair Charity Gala evening. If you ever get stuck in London, in Park Lane, they actually transform one half of Park Lane into this massive, great, Roman edifice thing. Behind which is about 400 million quids worth of Fine Arts and Antiques. One of the star patrons of the evening is THE Richard E Grant. And we’ve caught him on the phone tonight. Richard, welcome to late night Radio 2.
REG: Thank you very much.
RA: Is it terribly glam there tonight?
REG: It is. Well as you’ve just mentioned there’s 400 million quids worth on the stands, and probably that in each person’s bank account of the people that are here. I’ve never seen such a concentration and glut of rich people in one place in my life.
RA: You’re joking?
REG: Absolutely extraordinary. And Elizabeth Hurley is the chief patron of the event. And I think the first public appearance she’s made since she had her baby a couple of months ago. And she looks unbelievable.
RA: That’s not fair is it really?
REG: Traffic stopping.
RA: You’re … laughs …you’re trembling.
REG: I’m trembling.
RA: Control yourself man.
RA: Whose there then? You mentioned Liz.
REG: I’ve seen Liz. She, and her good friend Chérie Blair, did the auction raffle announcements. And I’m not titled or wealthy enough to know all the names of the people who are here tonight. But I think every nob and toff in the land is here. From Europe and beyond.
RA: laughs. Cause it is the gala night. And it’s in aid of a charity which is very close to you, isn’t it?
REG: It is. And that’s the reason for my involvement is that I’m a friend of Maya von Schonburg who is the mother of a severely disabled child. And the reason for this glut of incredibly wealthy people, all gathering here together, is to raise money for a charity called KIDS. Which provides home care and first-hand help for people with disabled children. To help the families as well as the children. So it’s not just isolating care for the child it helps educate and empower the parents as well. Organizing everything from holidays, to the way you get in and out of a building, medical care and all those things. It’s an incredibly worthwhile event. And I realize the irony of a bunch of unfeasibly rich people in glad rags turning out to eat a fabulous meal, in the name of charity is, forever, a kind of contradiction and irony. But if it raises the money then it is worth it.
RA: Well exactly. It puts them in the right frame of mind to open their wallets.
RA: Fingers crossed.
REG: Yes I think they are going to raise in excess of £200,000 tonight.
RA: Cause there’s a charity casino there, isn’t there?
REG: There is. So they’ll be fleecing the mega rich billionaires. Of which there are many. Very, very rich people have a sort of shiny gleam to every part of their clothing and body.
RA: But Richard you’re wealthy. You have that shiny gleam.
REG: Oh thank you Richard. Laughs.
RA: We’ve seen you in Gosford Park gleaming shinerly.
REG: Yeah! Playing a servant.
REG: Exactly. Yeah.
RA: I’m amazed you got the time off to do this. Cause we had Arabella Weir in the studio not so long a go.
REG: Oh yeah.
RA: She was spilling the beans on you and Posh Nosh.
REG: Alright yes. I’m doing a film at the moment in Africa. About Napoleon’s last years on Saint Helena. Playing the English governor who was falsely accused of poisoning the old, Corsican Emperor. So I wasn’t sure if I would be able to be here tonight. But I’ve got 4 days off, so I squirreled in. And I’ll be working with Arabella in the autumn. So I’m glad she’s not bad mouthed me yet. Laughs
RA: Not yet. Laughs.
REG: No not yet.
RA: Have you seen anything there that you want to buy then?
REG: Yeah. A pantechnic’s worth … but in your dreams. I could never afford to buy the stuff. But it’s like window-shopping. There are beautiful people to look at and beautiful things to admire. So it’s worthwhile.
RA: Richard it’s just one more blockbuster away. That’s all it is.
REG: One blockbuster away.
RA: Thanks for joining us tonight Richard.
REG: Alright Richard.
RA: And you can enjoy yourself now.
REG: Thanks a lot.
RA Take it easy.
RA: Night Night...... Richard E Grant at the Grosvenor House for the Antique Fair Charity Gala evening. Raising, well hopefully raising, and hopefully meeting lots of money by the sounds of it.
Fades into ‘Air That I Breathe’ by Simply Red.(With thanks to Sarah for de-lurking and informing REGiment of broadcast. Hope you de-lurk more often.)
Denise J Hale
Transcribed 1st July 2002
We now have an audio recording of the interview which you can listen to below.