Waiting for God

Tea Time Tidbit for the week of January 8, 2018

Tea Time Tidbit

Stephanie Cole as Diana Trent, and
Graham Crowden as Tom Ballard

It's good to see Waiting for God back in our Afternoon Tea line-up of programs. Stephanie Cole, who plays Diana Trent, and Graham Crowden, who plays Tom Ballard, are so perfectly cast in their roles that it's hard to imagine that, at around 50-years-old when the series first aired, Cole was a good twenty years younger than Crowden. According to an interview Cole gave a few years ago both she and Crowden were very much like the characters they portray in the series.

"He [Crowden] like Tom, was slightly dotty, slightly eccentric and very clever", recalled Cole. "Graham was very, very well read and had a great eye for works by young Scottish painters".

Cole also admitted to not being "a million miles from Diana" in that they were both rebels and "slightly feisty".

Tea Time Tidbit

Show writer Michael Aitkens

The inspiration for Diana's character though was actually the show's writer, Michael Aitkens – a fact that Cole figured out while working on the first of the show's five series. Explained Cole, "I always thought that Michael Aitkens seemed to have a very clear idea who she was, so I said to him 'this is you, isn't it?' He wriggled a bit, slightly self-consciously and I knew I'd hit the nail on the head."

Aitkens reportedly recalled that Cole was a little more direct in that she walked up to him and said "I'm just you in drag, aren't I?" Which, of course, is exactly something you can imagine the forthright Diana saying!

Aitkens, who was only in his 40s when Waiting for God originally aired and had spent 16 years living in Australia, initially wanted to call the series Talking Heads. He couldn't use that as a title though, as it was already in use as for a series of dramatic monologues that playwright Alan Bennett wrote for the BBC. Instead, for inspiration, Aitkens turned to the Australian retirement home near where he lived at the time and where he had carried out research for the series. Reportedly the staff at the non-fictional Bay View Retirement Village referred to their place of work as "God's waiting room". And thus the series was named.

Waiting for God airs on Afternoon Tea Mondays through Fridays at 2pm.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Afternoon Tea is Maryland Public Television's weekday presentation of British programs.
Our host and Tea Lady is Heather Sanderson.
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