Irene Handl

‘The Italian Job’ As A Metaphor For Brexit

It’s not often Michel Caine is interrupted by a peacock, but he was last night. I was in Holland Park, London’s fanciest green area, picnicking with friends. The park has peacocks and open-air opera and people playing chess on a giant board like they did in ‘The Prisoner’, and David Beckham lives next door. We […]

Bryant & May: The Hidden Homages

Mystery authors can be tricksters; some of us like to hide puzzles, jokes and references inside our books – we can’t resist it. Musicians do it all the time, and I’ve been doing it for years in the Bryant & May books. The most obvious joke is the names of the detectives, which were taken […]

British Character Actors No.7: Irene Handl

‘Allo ducks!’ Not much of a catchphrase, really, but you can hear her say it. Irene Handl played charladies and spinsters, and was never young; she didn’t take to the stage until she was 36. The daughter of a wealthy Austrian banker and an aristocraric Frenchwoman, born in Maida Vale, she wasn’t common at all, […]