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Celebrity stress busters

Independence is the key to a carefree life, John Mortimer, playwright, novelist and former barrister, tells Pamela Coleman.

The secret of an unstressful and happy life is never to engage in trade. I have never in my life worked in an organisation or had a boss, never had to go to an office at a particular time or had anybody tell me what to do. I think that would be very stressful.

I don't like relaxation and never take holidays. I go away, but I work. I spent Christmas in Australia with my family but was busy working on my next novel, The Sound of Trumpets.

Age does not diminish my output; it increases because there is nothing much else you can do when you're old.

I avoid stress by doing as many things as possible. I have two films starting in March: a television film of Cider with Rosie and a movie with Franco Zeffirelli in Italy called Tea with Mussolini. I'm working on a television treatment of my latest novel, Felix in the Underworld, and the Third Rumpole Omnibus was published in November.

Anxiety is the spur that keeps me going. I worry about everything and if I didn't have anything to worry about I would worry because I didn't have anything to worry about, and that would be more worrying.

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