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Teen magazine misinformation

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Jan. 1st, 1975 | 12:00 am

In January 1975, the German teen magazine “Bravo” published a feature on Michael Gothard which, despite containing few verifiable facts, and many demonstrable ‘errors’, is still sometimes quoted to this day.

In the interests of setting the record straight, some of the assertions about Michael made in the text are examined below.

“Am 26.6.47 wurde er im Stadtteil Cricklewood geboren, wo seine Eltern heute noch wohnen …”

“He was born on June 26, 1947 in the suburb of Cricklewood where his parents still live …”

He was born in 1939 not 1947. The reporter presumably changed Michael’s date of birth to make him seem more like teen magazine fodder.

He was born in Hendon (NW4), not Cricklewood (NW2).

His parents had separated by around 1949, when his mother moved to Gloucester Court in NW1. It is possible that by 1975 his mother and step-father (who married in 1961) had moved to Cricklewood, but they hadn’t lived there for all of Michael’s life, so could not be said to ‘still’ live there.

“Von 16 Jahren an besuchte er neben der schule noch einen vorbereitende Schuaspiel-schule …

“From 16 years of age he’s started to attend a preparatory drama school besides school …”

Elsewhere, Michael said that he left home at 17 or 18,1 so his period in drama school, if it ever happened, would have been very short.

1968 schaffte er dann die Aufnahme an die Königliche Akademie für drama-tische Kunst.”

“… in 1968 he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.”

RADA’s Registrar, Patricia Myers, has “no record of anyone of that name registered to train at RADA.”

This was never mentioned elsewhere, and if he had started in 1968, he would have been 29 years old.

“Miene erste ‘tragende’ Rolle hatte ich danach am Theater von Cambridge. Ich trug als Diener ein Tee-Tablett über die Bühne und liess das Ding natürlich bei der Premiere prompt fallen.”

“Afterwards I had my first ‘carrying’ role at the theatre in Cambridge. I carried a tea tray on stage and dropped it at the premiere.”

Michael’s first performance was well before 1968. He had already starred in “Herostratus” (1967 – filmed 1964/5) and “The Machine Stops” (1967), and appeared in a number of Lunchtime Theatre productions in London, earlier in his career.

“Seine erste große Chance gab ihm Filmregisseur Kenn Russell. In seinem Film “The Devils” spielte er den Chef Exorsisten.”

“His first big chance was given by film director Ken Russell. In his movie The Devils he played the head exorcist.”

In October 1973, Michael spoke of his “first important film part in Herostratus” and his “next big break – Out of the Unknown – a television series.”2 As these didn’t fit in with the reporter’s timescale, she seems to have simply ignored them.

This story about Michael having a spinal injury, and suing the company, is frequently quoted as if it were the truth, and is potentially the most damaging assertion in terms of Michael’s career.

“... mit der Produktionsfirma von “König Arthur” streitet er sich vor Gericht (‘Ich habe mich beim Drehen verletzt, und die waren nicht mal versichert. Jetzt Klage ich auf Schadenersatz!’)”

“He is fighting the production company of Arthur of the Britons in court (‘I got injured during the shoot and they were not even insured. Now I’m suing for damages!’)”

… and later in the article:

“Bis auf den schwarzen Tag: ‘Oliver und ich ritten im Eiltempo an der Kamera virbei. Da bäumte sich mein Blackie auf – und ich landete auf dem Boden. In voller Rüstung.’

Seitdem laboriert Mike an einer Rückgratverletzung herum – und verklagte die Firma.”


“Until that black day: ‘Oliver and I rode quickly past the camera. There my Blackie reared – and I fell on the ground. In full armour.’

He has been afflicted by a spinal injury since – and sued the company.”

According to Patrick Dromgoole,3 “Michael fell off his horse, or horses, quite often; he was a bold but less than expert equestrian. But I have no recollection of his suing anyone, or attempting to do so.

Gerry Cullen4 says: “I never heard of that … He seemed fine when I knew him.”

And Oliver Tobias5 mentioned no such thing when talking to fans about the series, though he did discuss his own head injury.

Also, it was claimed Michael said he was ‘in full armour’, but no armour was worn on this series, which made a point of abandoning the traditional portrayal of Camelot. Obviously the ‘reporter’ was unaware of that fact when constructing this fantasy.

“Wegen der Verletzung mußte er schon einige attractive Filmangebote ausschlagen …”

“Due to the injury he had to reject some attractive film offers …”

But Michael appeared in “The Three/Four Musketeers” in 1973, when “Arthur of the Britons” had finished. And he made no mention of this alleged injury problem in his TV Times interview, in February 1973, or in his Petticoat interview in October 1973.

A fan who used to read Bravo magazine regularly has said:

“I'm not surprised at this kind of journalism coming from them, to be honest ... See, they are fast food for teenager. If they want Michael to be seen in a rough light then that's the way they'll report about him. It's a vanilla magazine … it's obvious that while they put Michael in a rougher light they wanted the kids to think that Oliver [Tobias] is some kind of a all-is-easy, ready-for-everything poster boy.”

There were many supposed quotes from Michael in this article – none of them in Michael's idiom.

It is sad for fans, and unfortunate for Michael’s reputation, that instead of taking the opportunity to get a real interview from Michael, the ‘reporter’, Margit Rietti, seems to have chosen to manufacture conflict, and to portray Michael as a clumsy, brash, litigious whiner, as well as knocking 12 years off his interesting life.

1 TV Times interview, February 1973.

2 Petticoat interview, October 1973.

3 The Executive Producer of “Arthur of the Britons.”

4 An extra on the set of “Arthur of the Britons”, who was Michael’s friend during the latter half of the series.

5The star of “Arthur of the Britons”, also Michael’s friend.

The only good thing about the article was the pictorial element.

bongos

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