The strange secret life of Adrian Mole, 29 3 /4; GROWING PAINS: TWICE MARRIED GIANCARLO SAMMARCO GOES FROM CHILD STAR TO GERIATRIC NURSE.
WHEN his Secret Diary was turned from a book into a television series, Adrian Mole became the most famous schoolboy since Billy Bunter William George Bunter, or Billy Bunter, the "Fat Owl of the Remove", is a fictional character created by Charles Hamilton (using the nom de plume of Frank Richards) for stories set at Greyfriars School in the boys' weekly magazine The Magnet .
But Adrian has come a long way since then - and so has the actor who played him.
In Sue Townsend's new book, The Cappuccino cap·puc·ci·no
n. pl. cap·puc·ci·nos
Espresso coffee mixed or topped with steamed milk or cream.
[Italian, Years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time grown-up grown-up
1. Of, characteristic of, or intended for adults: grown-up movies; a grown-up discussion.
2. Adrian has been transformed from a spotty, sex-obsessed teenager into a celebrity chef In its strictest sense, a celebrity chef is a someone who has become well-known for his/her cooking. The first historical personality that fits this description is Martino da Como but in practical terms the term grew in popularity during the 1990s. and New Labour sceptic who harbours dreams of becoming a famous writer.
In real life, the ambitious young actor who played the pubescent pubescent /pu·bes·cent/ (pu-bes´int)
1. arriving at the age of puberty.
2. covered with down or lanugo.
1. schoolboy in ITV's late-80s drama has given up his TV career to become a geriatric nurse in his home town of Northampton.
The Secret Life of Giancarlo Sammarco, now aged 293 4, is as fascinating as that of his alter-ego. Both have young sons, from failed relationships, and both are living lives that, as teenagers, they could never have predicted.
But that is where the similarity ends.
In the new book, we find that Mole, now aged 301 4, was dumped by Pandora Braithwaite, the object of his adolescent affections, and sought comfort for a while in the curvy charms of Sharon Bott bott
Variant of bot1. (42-30-38).
He then went on to have a son, William, by his Nigerian wife Jo Jo, who returned to her homeland after they separated.
Although he has taken a vow of celibacy celibacy (sĕl`ĭbəsē), voluntary refusal to enter the married state, with abstinence from sexual activity. It is one of the typically Christian forms of asceticism. , he still yearns for his old flame old flame
Informal, old-fashioned a person with whom one once had a romantic relationship Pandora, who is now a married New Labour MP.
In comparison, the grown-up Giancarlo, lives in relative obscurity, having turned his back on acting to work in a geriatric hospital.
He married former fan Stephanie Bates Bates , Katherine Lee 1859-1929.
American educator and writer best known for her poem "America the Beautiful," written in 1893 and revised in 1904 and 1911. when he was 20 and she was 19 and gave up the limelight shortly after the birth of their son Jonathan, now seven.
However, the relationship was not to last and, after the couple divorced, he married his second wife, Joanna Young, and moved to a house only half a mile away from his first marital home.
Yesterday Giancarlo seemed adamant he would never be seeking a return to the limelight.
He said: "I'm sure the new book is very interesting, but my role as Adrian was a very long time ago and I'm not interested in acting any more. I'm just trying to get on with my work as a nurse."
Giancarlo grew up in a large family in a semi-detached house Noun 1. semi-detached house - a dwelling that is attached to something on only one side
dwelling, dwelling house, habitation, home, abode, domicile - housing that someone is living in; "he built a modest dwelling near the pond"; "they raise money to provide homes in a suburb of Northampton. Schoolfriends remember him as a reserved boy.
One said: "He was a lot like the Adrian Mole character. What you saw on television was pretty much what you got in real life."
The director of the Theatre Royal in Northampton, Michael Napier Brown, had plucked pluck
v. plucked, pluck·ing, plucks
1. To remove or detach by grasping and pulling abruptly with the fingers; pick: pluck a flower; pluck feathers from a chicken. Giancarlo from 200 young hopefuls to star in his first theatre production, The Innocents.
He said: "He had an extraordinary quality about him as a child. He was able to inhabit another personality - a great gift - because of his imagination. He had a kind of quirky quirk
1. A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy: "Every man had his own quirks and twists" Harriet Beecher Stowe.
2. personality, with this wonderful ability to make pithy pith·y
adj. pith·i·er, pith·i·est
1. Precisely meaningful; forceful and brief: a pithy comment.
2. Consisting of or resembling pith. comments. It was like an old person inhabiting a young person's body. Gian was 12 going on 36."
So when Thames Television Thames Television was a franchise holder of the British ITV television network, serving London on weekdays between 1968 and 1992. It was both a broadcaster and a producer of television programmes, making shows both for the local region it covered and for networking nationally rang to ask the director if he knew of anyone suitable for the Mole series, Napier Brown immediately thought of Giancarlo.
Lindsey Staggs, who played Pandora, was also one of Napier Brown's discoveries.
Although both young actors' faces became well-known in households across Britain as the series pulled in large audiences, author Sue Townsend was never happy with the programmes.
She said: "The way Mole appeared was not what I wanted. Television made my characters cardboard cut-outs, not the subtle observations I had wanted. So when Thames asked me to do another series, I just said: 'No'."
Even though he was 15, almost two years older than the character of Adrian, Giancarlo admitted at the time they were similar to each other.
He said: "Adrian Mole and I have two things in common - spots and an obsession with sex."
And that interest in the opposite sex has been carried through into his adult life.
Fame, however, brought its own difficulties. Overwhelmed by the glaring spotlight of fame, Giancarlo found solace in the arms of a young fan who wrote him letters after she saw the Adrian Mole series.
At a register office in Northampton in August 1989, that fan - Stephanie - became his first wife.
Napier Brown added: "It's quite a heady thing, for a young actor to be thrust into the spotlight so young. He would have been flattered by all the attention. No doubt that is why he married so young."
After the couple wed, they moved into a small terraced property, less than a mile from the family home in Kingsthorpe.
They had been married for 18 months when Stephanie, then 21, gave birth to their son, who was born a week early at Northampton General Hospital.
Giancarlo's mother said at the time: "The whole family is delighted. There were no problems at the birth."
Back then, he was still acting and playing to packed audiences in Kilburn, London, in Once A Catholic.
But at 21, just after he became a father, Giancarlo was still landing roles as teenagers. It seemed the public's image of him as a spotty adolescent was hard to shake off.
He became a familiar face on TV ads and, for a while, worked as a children's TV presenter.
His family obviously hoped he could continue to do what he loved well into adulthood. At the time, his mother Jacqueline said: "Adrian Mole is the series that brought him the fame, but that is a long time ago now.
"He is 22, but still cast in the roles of 16 and 17 year olds because he is quite young looking. But he loves acting and is very good at it."
There was no doubting Giancarlo's dedication to acting in the early years.
Soon after landing the part of Mole, he said: "I love the sense of power when you walk on stage and really have to grapple with to enter into contest with, resolutely and courageously.
See also: Grapple the audience for those first few seconds."
But parts began to dry up as he started to look more man than boy after the Mole series, in which he starred with Julie Walters Julia Mary Walters, OBE (born February 22, 1950) is an award-winning English actress and a novelist. Biography
Walters was born in Smethwick, Birmingham, West Midlands, England to Thomas Walters, a builder and decorator, and Mary Bridget O'Brien, an .
Napier Brown says it just became too hard for Giancarlo to continue in the acting profession. He said: "A lot of child stars have a brilliant quality but become quite ordinary by the time they grow up.
"I think perhaps Gian didn't have a strong enough burning desire to pursue it when jobs became harder to get. He just lost his enthusiasm."
Problems began to creep up Verb 1. creep up - advance stealthily or unnoticed; "Age creeps up on you"
advance, march on, move on, progress, pass on, go on - move forward, also in the metaphorical sense; "Time marches on" on the actor's personal life, too. Stephanie finally filed for divorce, which came to fruition in 1998.
Neighbours recalled hearing rows through the paper-thin walls as the marriage broke up after a few years.
One said: "They kept themselves pretty much to themselves. She was chattier than he was. We knew about his acting past, but he never spoke about it.
"When they split up, she came over and confided in us. She said he had had an affair with another woman."
Val Dewhurst, who lived next door, said: "I could tell you an awful lot about them, but I'm not sure he would like it printed. Put it this way, there were a lot of rows."
Stephanie also remarried, and is now called McCahill. She lives in a modern estate in a quiet suburb, half a mile away from her ex-husband's three-storey Victorian townhouse town·house or town house
1. A residence in a city.
2. A row house, especially a fashionable one. on a main road.
Giancarlo has long since left the glamorous world of acting and has devoted himself to caring for the elderly at the Princess Marina Hospital, Northampton. He lives happily with Joanne, a nursing colleague.
Those who know him well are hardly surprised at his choice, since his sense of social responsibility was always as strong as his acting talent.
Napier Brown said: "I think it says quite a lot about him that he decided to care for geriatrics geriatrics (jĕrēă`trĭks), the branch of medicine concerned with conditions and diseases of the aged. Many disabilities in old age are caused by or related to the deterioration of the circulatory system (see arteriosclerosis), e.g. . In an odd sort of way, it adds up.
"He had a very strong sense of morality and social responsibility."
The attitude of Giancarlo's father Pietro perhaps best sums up how his son has settled into a life of normality.
He said: "He gave up acting because he had just had enough. He is a grown man now. He makes his own decisions. What he does is up to him. He earns his keep."