=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Society of the Rusting TARDIS Newsletter (#12)
As promised, here is even more news: Some Stephen Fry, but mostly Craig
Charles.  Those of you tempted to skip this might be interested in the last
piece, since it is by Mr. Charles himself.
Subject: Concern grows for British actor Fry after walkout
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 95 5:00:05 PST
         LONDON (Reuter) - Friends of British actor Stephen Fry were
becoming increasingly concerned for his safety  Thursday after
he abruptly pulled out of a West End play and went missing.
         Fry, 37, best known in Britain as the butler Jeeves in a
televised serial of PG Wodehouse's novels about upper-class
wastrel Bertie Wooster, had been starring in Simon Gray's play
``Cell Mates'' about Cold War spy George Blake.
         Critics had panned his performance, while praising that of
his co-star, comedian Rik Mayall.
         A spokeswoman for Fry's manager, Lorraine Hamilton, said
they had had no contact with the actor since Saturday.
         Fry, a leading member of a theatrical set including Oscar
winner Emma Thompson and her husband, Kenneth Branagh, wrote to
a number of friends shortly before he disappeared.
         ``Three days after the successful opening of ``Cell Mates,'
Stephen Fry expressed in a letter to me his great distress at
what he considered to be his failure as an actor,'' Gray said.
         ``It is obvious that he is a man in emotional turmoil, and
that his sudden departure is the culmination of years of
pressure... Our main concern is for his safety and well being.''
         A spokeswoman at Scotland Yard police headquarters said Fry
had not been officially reported missing.
         The towering Fry, who says he is 90 percent homosexual but
has been celibate for years, is treated by the media as a 90s
``luvvie'' (society thespian). He acts and makes films with a
charmed circle of friends he made at Cambridge University.
         Christian Hodell, agent to Fry, who has just finished the
Hollywood film ``IQ'' with Walther Matthau, Tim Robbins and Meg
Ryan said: ``We are concerned about him.''
         Fry wrote to Gray, co-star Mayall, Thompson and his sister,
Jo, after his dramatic walkout. An understudy is now playing the
part expected to be taken up by actor Simon Ward.
         In ``Cell Mates,'' Fry plays Blake and comic star Mayall
plays an Irish convict who engineers his escape. Some critics
were less than kind about Fry's attempts at serious theater
while praising Mayall, a much more ``alternative'' comedian.
         The Telegraph's Charles Spencer said: ``Stephen Fry simply
plays Stephen Fry, a part he has been perfecting for the past
decade. Not for one moment do you believe that you are watching
a ruthless operative who coldly sent men to their deaths.''
         The Standard's Nicholas de Jongh praised ``dynamic'' Mayall
but said Fry did his usual Stephen Fry impersonation.
         ``Constantly raising his eyebrows, nodding his head,
unctuously clasping his hands or waving them, he makes Blake
little more than a stonewalling poser, and the play
undernourished,'' he said.
         Fry's portrayals of well-mannered, eccentric English
gentlemen has made him popular with Britons and he appears in a
number of television commercials. He starred in the film
``Peter's Friends'' with Branagh and Thompson.
         A half-Austrian Jew with a formidable intellect, Fry was
once imprisoned for credit card fraud but bounced back to win a
scholarship to Queen's College Cambridge. An ardent Labor Party
supporter, he is described as ``generous and very sensitive.''
The actor recently made headlines after being attacked at a
reunion of old boys from his public (fee-paying) school. He also
said journalists were like hangmen and gave up newspapers
because it was like ``opening a piece of used lavatory paper.''
         Who's Who lists his interests as ``smoking, drinking,
swearing and pressing wild flowers.''
The Electronic Telegraph 28 February 1995 HOME NEWS
Red Dwarf star accused of using Bible as 'prop' in rape trial
By John Steele, Courts Correspondent
The comedy actor Craig Charles was accused of acting and using a Bible as a
prop while giving evidence yesterday during his trial for rape.
Charles, 30, star of the BBC science fiction comedy Red Dwarf, wept as he
the jury that the rape claim made by a former lover had "ruined"
his life.
"I have heard what she has said and I have lived with these
allegations for
the last eight months. I live with them every day," he told Southwark
Charles said that, contrary to her claim that she was raped by him and two
other men after they took cocaine, the 38-year-old woman had dressed
in a variety of seductive clothes when he and his friend, John
"Jack" Peploe,
visited her flat at 6.30am looking for a "bacon buttie".
The actor was accused in cross-examination by Mr Jeremy Carter-Manning, QC,
for the Crown, of "acting and using props" when he held up a
Bible as he gave
'You are an actor, Mr Charles ... Put the prop down'
"Put the prop down, Mr Charles," Mr Carter-Manning said.
Charles, whose voice was often close to breaking, replied: "It's the
It's not a prop." Mr Carter-Manning responded: "You are an actor,
Mr Charles."
Charles said he and Peploe visited the woman's flat "on the spur of
moment". The woman lay down on her bed and performed various sexual
acts on
herself with a pen, an olive oil bottle and an orange. He also said that
offered them cocaine.
He denied her allegation that he had tied her hands and blindfolded her
encouraging Peploe to rape her. "No sex took place with this woman, I
nothing to hide," he said. "If I thought this was going to happen
I would never
have gone round there in the first place ... I knew she was weird."
Charles said he and Peploe visited the woman on July 8 last year after a
out at the L'Escargot restaurant in the West End to celebrate his fiancee's
He and Peploe had stayed up late with friends at his house and eventually
decided to go out to find some breakfast because it was so late.
"I had a meeting at 10.30am, so I decided to stay up," he said.
They were on
their way to find an early morning pub at New Covent Garden Market, when
drove past the woman's home and made the "spur-of-the-moment
decision" to
visit her.
'This will be the last cocaine I ever take'
He said that after the pair entered her flat, the woman unwrapped some
and all three of them snorted some. He said the woman then changed into a
stripper's outfit and became "sexually aggressive".
Charles said he regretted the decision to visit the woman and expressed his
disappointment that he had taken cocaine. "I have never taken it since
this will be the last cocaine I ever take." Charles told the court
that he had
met the woman some years ago when she worked as a stripper and she went
into a
club where he was. He said they had a relationship for only three months.
The actor, who began his career in Liverpool at the age of 13, said the
brought him expensive gifts during the affair.
Charles, of Tyers Street, Kennington, south London, and Peploe, 36, of
Road, Camberwell, south London, deny one joint charge of rape and four of
indecent assault.
The trial was adjourned until today.
Reply to The Electronic Telegraph - et@telegraph.co.uk
The Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc
Report from The Guardian by Angella Johnston (2/28/95)
Woman alleging rape was sexually agressive, says Craig Charles
The comic actor, Craig Charles, visited the flat of a former Soho
stripper, who has accused him of leading a drug-induced gang rape,
for a "bacon butty" breakfast, a court heard yesterday.
The Red Dwarf star said he had visited the woman, a one-time
girlfriend, in the early morning, on the "spur of the moment"
thinking she would rustle up food for him and the co-accused, John
But the woman, aged 38, gave them cocaine and became sexually
agressive on hearing that he planned to marry his current
ex-stripper girlfriend, Charles told Southwark Crown Court.
It was the woman not he who ripped off her shorts and knickers then
inserted various items inside her body - namely a biro, an olive
oil bottle, and an orange.
Charles's voice frequently came close to breaking as he denied the
attack 10 months ago.  "No sex took place with this woman.  I have
got nothing to hide and he (Peploe) has got nothing to hide."
 The woman claims that Charles, aged 30, of Kennington, south
London, arrived at her flat in Clapham with Peploe, aged 36, of
Camberwell, and a third man called Roger, who has never been
She said they then raped and sexually assaulted her.
Chalres insisted there was no third man.  "Would I have wrecked my
life and gone to prison for four months if I had someone to hide."
He and Peploe deny a joint charge of rape and four joint counts of
indecent assault.
Charles said that for nearly five years he was married to the
actress Cathy Tyson.  They divorced in 1989 and he met his alleged
victim who lived with him for about two weeks.  They saw each
other occasionally for about three months after that, but the
sexual relationship had then finished.  He then dated another woman
for about four years.
Last year he met his current girlfriend, Linda, at the Queen Anne
pub where she performed, and during a hoilday on a Greek island
they decided to marry.
Liverpool-born Charles described his alleged victim as "weird"
she appeared to "have a thing" about him.  She pestered him by
turning up at his house unannounced and ringing his bell.
She had repeatedly asserted that she could not believe that he
planned to marry Linda.
The weekend of the alleged offences was a celebration, with his
birthday, Linda's, and his father's all falling close together.
He, Linda, Peploe and Peploe's wife Suzanne, had been to a West End
restaurant for a champagne meal, and then had drinks at Soho bars
in the early hours.
But when they returned to his home he had a row with a colleague
staying with him, and a "silly" argument with Linda.  At this
stage Peploe suggested the two of them went out for breakfast.
Jeremy Carter-Manning QC, prosecuting, questioned him repeatedly
about this decision to visit the woman, saying "I suggest there
are many places you can get a bacon butty from."
Charles retorted angrily: "There are also many places you can get
sex from.  You don't have to rape a woman for it.  You can try and
make me look as guilty as you want but I am innocent - innocent."
The trial continues today.
News from the Craig Charles Trial (from the Electronic Telegraph,
Red Dwarf rape case 'is flawed'
By John Steele, Courts Correspondent
The rape case against the Red Dwarf star Craig Charles "should never
have got
to court", his counsel told a jury yesterday.
Mr Stephen Solley, QC, told Southwark Crown Court that a bungled police
investigation into the allegation had placed the jury in an impossible
The court has heard there was a 30-hour delay between the claim being made
the woman being examined, because she was allowed to leave a police rape
on the day of the alleged assault without being seen. The woman was not
examined until the following day.
Mr Jeremy Carter-Manning, QC, admitted in opening the case that the ability
the doctor, who saw the 38-year-old woman, to make findings was
Mr Solley said yesterday the Crown's description of the delay as
was "an understatement, to put it mildly - it was unacceptable,
and unsatisfactory".
Because of the delay, he said, "the case against Mr Charles ended at
point. You, the jury, could not tell if she was telling the truth. Your
position and your job has become impossible for this very reason."
Charles, 30, of Tyers Street, Kennington, south London, and John Peploe,
of Keswick House, Camberwell, south London, both deny rape and four counts
indecent assault. The trial was adjourned until today.
Reply to The Electronic Telegraph - et@telegraph.co.uk
The Electronic Telegraph is a Registered Service Mark of The Telegraph plc
(Article by Craig Charles in the Guardian, March 6, 1995)
Judgement in cases of alleged rape should be left to the courts,
not to the media
On July 8 1994, I was arrested and charged with rape.  Gang rape.
There was no Jeremy Beadle, no Noel Edmonds [British TV
personalities who host programmes specialising in practical
jokes], just some police.  About 10 of them plus a sniffer dog with
the longest nails in canine history, scratching my floor and
searching my house and breaking my heart.  Gang rape.  I wanted to
know: Who? Where? What was going on?  Coarse men, tall and
threatening, sneering at me, scrutinising me, smiling.  Standing
in my living room.  Striding through the space I called home with
an authority that denied reproach.
"Are those the clothes you were wearing last night?"
"Yes", I said.
Thereafter, I was taken to a cell in a police station and a
nine-month nightmare began.  Details of my arrest were released to
the press before the complainant had even signed a statement.
These allegations became headlines.  The world was informed that I
had been arrested for rape.  The allegations appeared throughout
the media before there was a shred of evidence to support them.
At this point a pertinent question arises: did the intensity of
media coverage in any way colour the degree to which the case was
pursued?  Would this ridiculous indictment ever have come to court
if a so called celebrity hadn't been involved?  I suspect not.
Clearly, any allegation of a crime as heinous as rape must be taken
very seriously and investigated vigorously, but to have a
condemnation this serious made available to the press almost
immediately is at best irresponsible and at worst damaging in the
At present, the legal system allows for an accusation of rape to
be used as a weapon, a weapon with the potential to remove a
person's liberty and blacken their name before the facts of the
situation are even investigated.  For good or ill the legal system
and the media are inextricably linked, and as long as there is no
anonymity for people accused of rape, there will be injustice.
The system at present does not allow for aggrieved personalities,
perverse whims and a multitude of other factors which can only
serve to damage the cause of genuine rape cases which, of course,
should be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.
It has to be asked whether the police might feel under pressure to
pursue a case to the bitter end, even though there appears to have
been a lack of evidence, simply because such a fuss has been made
in the media.  Surely, the media momentum initiated by a high
profile arrest must have some bearing on what, after all, is a
monumentally important decision to make about someone's life.  This
situation must be addressed.
No on should be under any illusions as to the devstating impact a
false accusation of rape can have.  You are plucked from your life
and thrown into an alien world where shame and degradation are the
norm.  It is virtually impossible to convey the horror of this
experience.  A system that allows this to happen publicly to someone
before the true facts of the situation have been evaluated is surely
ripe for reassessment.  In my case, it seemed to me that I was
assumed guilty until proven innocent; pre-judged in bold type across
the country, with no opportunity to redress the balance in what had
become a one-way street of accusations.  The inability to defend or
absolve oneself in this situation is unimaginably frustrating.
A false accusation of rape is, in itself, a crime with many
victims.  The ripples of such a splash rock family, friends and
professional colleagues.  Talking to my son on the telephone from
Wandsworth prison is the most heartbreaking thing I have ever had
to do.  What would *you* say? Think about it.
There is no doubt that the accusation levelled at me could have
destroyed my career and wrecked my life.  Without the invaluable
and unflagging support of my family and friends it might well have
done just that.  I cannot begin to thank enough those from within
the entertainment industry who visited me within the draconian
confines of Wandsworth prison.  They will never know how important
those visits were.
The law that allows an individual to be publicly defamed while the
accuser remains secure beneath a blanket of anonymity must be
changed.  Judgement should be left to the courts, not the media.
It should be a simple matter to make all aspects of cases like this
sub judice until reasonable doubt as to the validity of the
accusation is allayed.  The present procedures are simply
inappropriate and must be reviewed.
I would like to reiterate my heartfelt wish that my appaling
experience should in no way deter genuine vicitms of crimes of
this nature from coming forward.  However, a sense of balance must
be established if such accusations are to be considere sensibly.  It
is wholly unjust to be thrown to the wolves from the outset, and I
fervently hope that the existing precepts can be modified to
introduce a sense of fairness into what is an unjust situation.
Although I was not guilty of the crime of which I was accused, the
resulting media coverage makes me wonder if I shall ever be
innocent again.
Currently planned for the next Rusting Tardis video night (March 8), at
Round Table Pizza, 5111 25th Ave. NE (in Seattle).
        Have I Got News For You (with panelist Salman Rushdie)
        Ye Olde Spitting Image
        French and Saunders Christmas special
        Vicar of Dibley (with Dawn French as a Vicar, written by Richard
        Nightingales ("Someone to Watch Over Me")
Coming up in the near future will be a new season of "Spitting
Image" and a
few more Christmas specials (including Fry & Laurie and Lenny Henry).
The next Rusting Tardis Social (March 14, 7pm), will be held at Applebee's
Neighborhood Bar and Grill, 4626 196th Ave SW (in Lynnwood).
See you on Wednesday.
                        "The enemy disc ship had opened up its
                         holocaust of coloured lights."
                                --"The In-World", Lionel Roberts
                                  Robert Lionel Fanthorpe)

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