Portsmouth is Simon Callow’s first choice

PROUD Simon Callow marked Dickens' birthday in Portsmouth
PROUD Simon Callow marked Dickens' birthday in Portsmouth
Enthusiast Matt Searson with his selction of collectable vinyl releases. Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180341-007)

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CRITICALLY acclaimed actor and writer Simon Callow turned down an invitation to Westminster Abbey – to commemorate Charles Dickens’ anniversary in the city of the author’s birth.

After visiting the legendary writer’s birthplace in Old Commercial Road and joining in celebrations at the New Theatre Royal, Mr Callow said: ‘I’m terribly happy to be here.

‘I was invited to go to Westminster Abbey and the Mansion House but I’m much happier to be here.

‘Charles Dickens didn’t particularly want to be (buried) in Westminster Abbey.

‘I think he would have loved to be with the children and people who loved him. It’s lovely how so many people in Portsmouth are so proud of him.’

He added: ‘Even though Dickens was just here in Portsmouth for three years, the Navy and the sea made a big difference in forming his character.’