Award-winning playwright Alan Bennett has explained why he decided to keep his sexuality private for much of his career.
Bennett, who will celebrate his 80th birthday this Friday (May 9), wrote openly about his homosexual experiences for the first time in Untold Stories
, a collection of autobiographical essays and sketches published in 2005.
"My objection about people knowing more about one's private life was that I didn't want to be put in a pigeonhole," Bennett tells BBC Four in an interview which will be broadcast this Saturday (May 10), the day after his birthday.
"I didn't want to be labelled as gay and that was it. I just wanted to be my own man, as it were."
Bennett, whose most popular plays include The History Boys
and The Madness of George III,
is now in a civil partnership with Rupert Thomas, a magazine editor, with whom he lives in Camden, London. He previously had a long-term relationship with his housekeeper Anne Davis, who passed away in 2009.
"Looking back on your life, the things you remember are the things that you didn't do," Bennett says in the interview. "A lot of that will be to do with sex, I suppose."
He adds later: "I met my partner quite late in life and so the last part of my life is much happier than the first part."
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