The actor and singer on the enduring appeal of the Who, the unspoilt charm of Sicily – and why Singin’ in the Rain was the happiest night out in London
Patsy Kensit is an actor, singer and author and was born in Hounslow, London. Her mother was a publicist and her father an associate of the Kray twins. Patsy began acting at the age of four, appearing in an advert for Birdseye frozen peas. In 1972 she had her first big screen role in For the Love of Ada. Two years later she appeared in The Great Gatsby alongside Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, whom she later portrayed in a biopic titled Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story. In her late teens she fronted the band Eighth Wonder, who had two top 20 hits. At the same time she starred in Absolute Beginners, Julien Temple’s musical adaptation of Colin Macinnes’s novel. She has since appeared in more than 40 films, including Angels and Insects, Lethal Weapon 2 and Silas Marner. Her autobiography, Absolute Beginner: My Story, is out now.
You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again by Julia Phillips
It’s the autobiography of the film producer Julia Phillips and it’s her attack on Hollywood, which she portrays as an industry populated by mad egos, liars, sexists and drug addicts. There is the initial magic after she and her husband arrive in Hollywood, but then it gets very scary and dark. She is hard on everyone and that includes herself. Even when she received her Oscar [for the Robert Redford/Paul Newman blockbuster The Sting] she was on coke, diet pills, red wine and weed. She got in a lot of trouble for writing it, but I genuinely believe it to be the best and most honest account of an industry that chews people up and spits them out.
The Royal Tenenbaums
I watch this movie all the time, and really think everyone should see it. It won a lot of awards but is still thought of as a cult movie. I love that opening shot and the music, Hey Jude. I love just how perfectly eccentric the characters are, how superbly acted it is. Essentially it concerns three siblings who experience huge success at a very young age, followed by failure after their utterly crazy dad leaves them.
I love Sicily. I have been going now for about 10 years. I used to go to Capri and Positano, but they are now super, super expensive, which is fine and lovely, but it also changes the character of a place when only the mega-rich can afford to be there. Sicily is still remarkably unspoilt and unexploited. The food is amazing, the climate is perfect, the people are friendly and the architecture goes from ancient Greek to Roman, Norman and Baroque. It is a magical place.
I have loved the Who since I saw Quadrophenia with my brother when I was about 12. I was one of those girls who instantly fell for Jimmy (the movie’s violent, rebellious anti‑hero). I guess we all have our types, and it may be a terrible thing to admit, but Jimmy is my type. The film seems to transcend every age and generation: my youngest son loves it just as much as I did when it first came out. I loved the whole mod aesthetic, and that’s how I got into the Who. My favourite period is probably the late 60s to early 70s, around when they released The Seeker. But I pretty much love all their stuff and if you haven’t seen them live then you really should. I went to see them on their last tour and they were absolutely brilliant.
It’s a wonderful, surprising channel. You’ll get a Doors retrospective where they’ll use archive and contemporary footage of the band talking about how they made a certain album and that will be followed by live performances from the band. You get opera, and ballet, and French movies. You’ll get a film about Joni Mitchell tracing her whole life. When the Bowie exhibition was on at the V&A, Sky Arts did a huge Bowie season to accompany it.
Singin’ in the Rain
I love the movie. I love Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. This London production was magical, and very closely based on the MGM film. In the theatre you really do feel things that much more personally, and the cast are terrific. This was directed by Jonathan Church and stars Adam Cooper, an incredibly talented actor, dancer and choreographer. It was just a wonderful, happy, optimistic night out.
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