Branagh recalls his excitement at Billy role
Sir Kenneth Branagh has recalled fondly the role that sent him on his way to his glittering career - at a time when he didn't even have an agent.
The Belfast director and actor told the Irish Times he remembered the day he learnt he had landed the title role in the first of Graham Reid's Billy Plays, which told the story of the everyday life of a Protestant family.
He said: "A message came from the BBC saying: 'Phone the booker'. I didn't know what to do. I didn't even have an agent.
"They offered me £540 for this play. That was more than I could have dreamt of earning. I breathlessly said: 'Yes'. And they were giving me expenses! I couldn't believe it."
He added: "To hear and see people with normal concerns, working class families with Belfast accents, was revelatory for much of the rest of the country. And it was good for people at home to have it confirmed not everybody was getting up in the morning and making a bomb."