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Letter: Terry Hands obituary | Stage

I will always be very grateful to Terry Hands for helping me out of a tight spot in 1977, at the recently opened National Theatre. As a junior staff member, I sometimes had to give informal backstage tours to specialist groups; on this particular day there was a phalanx of mainly French theatre professionals who had earlier attended an Anglo-French gathering, and a good lunch, in the theatre restaurant.

I was soon floundering when my rudimentary French proved inadequate and the group began to straggle hazardously. Rescue came from Terry: he took over the commentary in fluent French, using his background knowledge while checking specific facts and figures with me, as I shepherded the crocodile through scenic studios, metal workshops, endless corridors and the wings of all three auditoriums. Thanks to his spontaneous kindness, entente cordiale was restored.

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