I shifted seats to the back of the Royal Court Theatre some years ago. Two men made the same interval manoeuvre behind me, and we fled the Howard Brenton play together. One was the playwright Alistair Beaton, the other Ned Sherrin. A shared dinner was much more fun than the rest of the play.
Typical of the tributes to Ned Sherrin, who has sadly just died aged 76, are accounts of his generosity to others. He was far from inaccessible - his phone number was listed in the directory with surname and first name reversed, so it stood there as 'Ned Sherrin'. For my first novel On Bended Knees he had me as a guest on his national radio show Loose Ends, drawing me out, bubbling with enthusiasm for the work, leading all his guests round to the pub afterwards. His enthusiasm helped spur that novel onto the awards lists. He welcomed me into his home to let me know why a new play of mine might not work in England, but opened up his address book to deliver names that might help me on my way. Seeing him in the theatre he always remembered me, and sought to introduce me round. I was a squib of a thing in his world, in terms of eminence, but he was the opposite of pompous and always made me feel good about myself. His was a kind and world-enhancing life.