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Simon Callow delivers a dramatic reading of Oscar Wilde’s prison love letter ‘De Profundis’

The 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' star goes, ahem, Wilde for Attitude’s Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley.

By Thomas Stichbury

Simon Callow does not stint on the drama with an intense reading of Oscar Wilde’s prison love letter to Lord Alfred Douglas.

For the final chapter of Attitude’s Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley, the Four Weddings and a Funeral star dusts off Wilde’s ‘De Profundis.’

In 1895, Britain’s most famous writer at the time – best known for his works Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest – was sentenced to two years’ hard labour for his homosexual relations or, legally speaking, gross indecency.

During his final few months of incarceration at Reading Gaol, Wilde was given pen and paper by a kindly governor and inked an emotional whirlwind of a letter to his young lover Douglas, or Bosie, which was then published a decade later.

“In that terrible world of the prison, with ghastly inedible food and uncomfortable beds, locked up most of the day, Wilde understandably reviewed the circumstances of his fall,” Callow, 71, explains.

“He chose to write this letter to, I suppose, make sense of his own life and to lay blame pretty squarely on Alfred Douglas’s shoulders,” he continues. “[But] Wilde reveals to himself and the reader, and I suppose Alfred Douglas, that despite his rage and resentment of Bosie, he still loves him at heart.”

The Bafta-nominated actor was joined by TV’s Dr Ranj, Judge Rob Rinder, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, poet Dean Atta, Little Mix favourite Jade Thirlwall and actor Simon Callow for Attitude’s Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley.

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