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Paul Lewis: Understated Kane world class talent

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Once, as a chronically young journalist, I interviewed an actor called Warren Mitchell who some might remember as Alf Garnett, the anti-hero of a satirical show, Til Death Us Do Part.

Alf was a racist, nationalist, monarchist and bigot. Mitchell was an accomplished UK actor, here to take part in a play in Auckland - and muggins was sent to interview him. Mitchell took one look at wet-behind-the-ears me and called the whole cast of the theatre to pull up chairs and sit around us in a circle to enjoy the spectacle. Talk about the Christians and the Lions.

After he'd watched me dig a dirty great hole of discomfort for myself, Mitchell took over: "Look here, lad, I know what you want. You just want me to say a few bright things; a few smart phrases you can put in front of your readers."

I gratefully agreed that was indeed what I wanted, whereupon Mitchell said: "Right - what about this, then: Masturbation is the thinking man's television."

I recalled that exchange when watching Kane Williamson score his 19th test century against Pakistan recently - because Williamson seems the polar opposite of the showman, the clever talker scattering bon mots like rose petals, the media darling.

The Mitchell story is an attempt to illustrate by black-and-white contrast how........

© New Zealand Herald