Kerry Gardner

I didn’t get to meet Derek when he was working at the theatre in Watford and I was acting in one of Giles Havergal’s productions but he told me he remembered me – and he was very funny about my performance! I would meet with him often when I became an actors’ agent as I used to take casting directors around England to see my actors perform, and Derek was one of my very favourites. One trip I remember well was when I drove us up to Newcastle to see a production of Twelfth Night, then next morning we sped down to Harrogate to see a production of Ashes, then we belted over to Scarborough for an evening performance of another Twelth Night, getting back to London at five on Sunday morning. Derek would, without fail, fall asleep for twenty minutes in the first Act of every production we went to, so in the first interval of one play we attended, I asked him if he thought the actor who had dropped a tray of drinks would have to pay for the glasses he’d broken. (Of course, nothing like that had occurred.) He squirmed a little as he made pretend he’d seen the incident, then decided that a mistake was a mistake and the actor wouldn’t have to pay. Then I told him!
He was a lovely companion and friend to have, and he gave a lot of my well-deserving actors a boost by bringing them in for casting. But I made sure when he came to stay down here in Dorset that my drinks cupboard was well stocked. Heavens I’ll miss him.