A rose by any other name

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Colin Welland, actor and screen-writer, died this week.

It was he who announced, upon accepting the Oscar at the 1982 ceremony for his Chariots of Fire original screenplay, “The British are coming”. Mass cheeriness which met and deepened the film’s success certainly cemented many a career.

The title comes from a line in Jerusalem, one of the few anthems which fire British blood. Amid the David Puttnam (the film’s producer) Archive held in the special collections of the British Film Institute lies the very first, type-written script for the movie. Naturally enough, on its cover page sits the title:

R U N N E R S

it says.

This speaks to me.

The evolution which transformed its original name seems to project a silhouette of wrestling with the surface to dig down into the viscera of meaning.

Some people called Welland “an actor and screen-writer” while others said “a loving and generous friend, husband, father and grandfather”.

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