Lunch with one of the Avengers

All visitors of the restaurant in the Amsterdam "Apollo Hotel" yesterday afternoon, old and young, envied me. The older - because my companion was English violinist Sidney Lipton. Sydney is a romantic violinist from London who, with his orchestra and pianist Roy Stewart, provides exclusive restaurants with civilized dance music. Many castles of England or the Queen at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are enlivened by the music of Mr. Lipton.

The young visitors were jealous of me because a British actor, Gareth Hunt, the courageous hero, Gambit, from the TV series “The New Avengers” and the new servant, Frederick, from the TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs" was sitting on my left.

Gareth is an actor from the classical English school who, for the most part, spends many months a year on stage, not as a movie star.

"Imagine that you are one of those who have all this nonsense written about you that ends up in tabloids. That would be a little sad."

British Week

Along with these two gentlemen, I enjoyed my dinner, because at the Apollo Hotel a two-week British visit was takin place.

Together with the Cockney Repertoire "Down by the Old Bull and the Bush", provided by the Pearl King and Queen of London, with tea and remarks from the Crown Jewels, guarded by the Beefeaters, with meat pie, Angus beef, and the original herald of the city.

There was even more - an English white wine from Sussex, which we drank with our shrimp. And, as I said, there were two gentlemen from the English world of entertainment and culture, who formed a pleasant dinner party.

We talked about resurgent nostalgia, about the growing interest in all the good things from the past, about the success of the TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs", about the return of prom and tea with dancing and about great appreciation for castles.

“I hate that word “Nostalgia”. Journalists have invented it. I have been playing my music for many years and there has always been interest in it. You don’t talk about nostalgia for Beethoven or Chopin,” says violinist Lipton.


“This is nostalgia for illusion,” says the actor Hunt, who is saddened by the fact that many of the old traditions in England are disappearing and the future of pubs is not clear. The times of TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "The Duchess of Duke Street" are never to return. This sentimentality does not make sense...

"I do not quite agree, because I see the possibility of a positive influence emanating from such television series.”

The violinist Lipton and Gareth Hunt enjoyed the wine while sitting at the table. In addition to the English white wine was Louis Latour Gevrey-Chambertin.

"I like delicious wine. I can only afford to drink it today because it’s free," said Hunt.

Both creative personalities who met for the first time in the Netherlands, they deny themselves in many respects for the sake of their professions.

The violinist must train endlessly to keep his technique, and Gareth Hunt, who takes his work very seriously, has to follow his diet, learn camera technology, look for new stage roles, seek out people, listen to accents, write ideas and notes. In short, he should try to be better every day. Indeed, it is very interesting to listen to him; however, the difference compared with our world theater becomes more painfully vivid. But the difference between the production of the BBC company and something from our Hilversum is not so significant.

"Do you know that America is not buying anything from us. They just go crazy for the TV series Kojak, Starsky and Hutch, Man from Atlantis and other productions."


The TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs" is broadcast on a channel in America that is intended for culture and is subject to a voluntary contribution from the public. So basically, some kind of moderate begging.

Similarly, it was with us, after the first season "Upstairs, Downstairs". It was a certainty that the show would finish. Within a few minutes, the sum of $2000,400 went to the benefit of the broadcasting station so that the program’s broadcast continued...

Photo caption: From left to right: violinist Sidney Lipton, tourist representative Bob Drysdale, actor Gareth Hunt and director of Apollo Hotel Tony van Zantwijk.

(Back to Archive: Gareth Hunt)