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Mr Worthington by Simon Russell Beale

This teacher could not accept his Shakespeare-loving pupil ditching English to follow his family into medicine instead of a stage career

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Brian Worthington, who taught me English at Clifton College boarding school in Bristol, introduced me to the great intellectual love of my life: Shakespeare. He was also the first person to suggest I become an actor.

My first encounter with Shakespeare was aged 8 at St Paul’s Cathedral School in London, when John Llewellyn, the headmaster, asked me to read aloud Mark Antony’s part from Julius Caesar. I thought, “God, this is fantastic”. I can still remember where I was sitting in the library and the way the sun beat down on my desk. So I have to thank John for this, but it was Brian who went ...

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