Playing With Fire

An actor's life as lived, written and read by Nigel Havers.



In a prep school production, young Havers feels the audience in the palm of his hand for the first time.

In 1967, he gets to know the Rolling Stones when his father defends them in court.


Nigel gets a part in the hit TV series Upstairs, Downstairs; plays Wilde and Pinter at the National Theatre and discovers a talent for making fellow actors 'corpse' on stage.


Training for his part in Chariots of Fire, Nigel dislocates a shoulder and breaks a wrist.

After the Royal Command Performance of the film, a question asked by the Queen Mother leaves him speechless.


Filming A Passage to India, Nigel is disturbed by a monkey in his hotel bedroom; and assigned a driver who saves power by switching off his headlights at night.

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Nigel settles happily into an eight-year run of the TV sitcom Don't Wait Up.

On the set of Empire of the Sun, two of his ribs are broken by an over-zealous Japanese actor.