I saw Daniel Radcliffe, the 17 year old Harry Potter actor, discussing his much vaunted nude scenes in Equus, a Seventies shrink opera concerning a boy who (I think) wants to do it with a horse, on the BBC's Jonathan Ross chat show. Radcliffe, along with fellow Harry Potter star Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon in the Potter movies), has been doing the play at the Gielgud Theatre on London's Shaftesbury Avenue. Several days a week I pass by the Gielgud as hundreds of excited late teen girls, well bred Coldplay and Harry Potter fans all, future consultants and society wives of England's dreaming, huddle in excited groups on the pavement, preparing to endure huge swathes of dated psychobabble dressed up as drama in the expectation of seeing, wobbling right there in front of them in the flesh, Daniel's sword of love.
The play had been running for some time when Radcliffe showed up on the Ross show. He'd long before done his pre-publicity and opening night publicity, so why was he plugging his efforts again on the TV? He conceded to Ross that the show was not entirely sold out and encouraged people to go out and buy tickets.
A week ago I paid a visit to one of the less salubrious parts of London and saw, in the window of a pretty glum launderette, a forlorn looking Equus poster. Then I read in the papers that Radcliffe will not be replaced by another immodest young thespain when his contract runs out and that the play will close in June.
Surely this can't have been the plan? Surely there are enough horny well bred girls, paedophiles, fags, voyeurs, Harry Potter fans, horny well bred women of mature years, and suchlike in London to make "Harry Potter full frontal" (which is essentially what is being marketed here) a major hit?
Apparently not, for some mysterious reason, although Radcliffe's acting performances have been greeted with relative applause. Michael Billington, the well respected Guaridan critic, said that the young actor was up to the job.
Perhaps Radcliffe has let down his public's expectations in the sword of love department? Somebody should go and see the play on our behalf and report back. I can't do it. Wild horses (forgive the pun) couldn't drag me into a theatre to see any play, never mind this horrible load of old middlebrow Brit nonsense. I've only ever managed to sit through twenty minutes of the Richard Burton movie version of Equus before reaching angrily for the remote control, indifferent to dramatic writing, Welsh alcoholics, male beauty, or the plight of abused horses.
Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.