Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard’s Brief Encounter bond rocked by secret: ‘Dreadful!’

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    Celebrated romantic drama Brief Encounter airs on BBC Two this afternoon at 3pm. The film depicts a chance meeting in a suburban railway station as Celia’s character, Laura Jesson, crosses paths with Dr Alex Harvey, played by Trevor. The pair, happily married to other people, fall in love only for their happiness together to be tarred by the sly manner they must carry out their affair.

    Eventually a choice must be made on whether to come clean about their relationship. 

    The 1945 film, which received three Oscar nominations, was cited by the British Film Institute as the second greatest British film of all time.

    Yet, behind the scenes one of its stars was keeping a secret from the rest of their cast members.

    Celia was 36 when she made Brief Encounter and was under the impression that Trevor was eight years younger than her. 

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    However, the enigmatic British actor had lied about his age on his CV, and was only five years younger than Celia. 

    According to the Mail Online, Celia wrote to her husband Peter Fleming when she still believed Trevor was eight years younger than her, fretting that her leading man was so many years her junior.

    She wrote: “He has been invalided out of the army and did I tell you the really terrible thing about him is that he is eight years younger than me? Isn’t it dreadful?

    “When I first realised it I nearly fainted with shock and horror but now I’m getting acclimatised and treat him like a mother.”

    Trevor and his co-star Celia had a good relationship however, though at first she allegedly thought he was stupid.

    In a scene in which Laura arrives at Alec’s bachelor flat, Trevor couldn’t understand why nothing romantic happened between the pair.

    According to legendary film director David Lean, Trevor said: “I know why she’s here. She knows why she’s here. 

    “What’s all this stuff about rain and the fire not starting and the damp wood?

    “Why doesn’t he just get stuck in?”

    The director, who was also behind the camera for Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge of the River Kwai, said: “Trevor was so insensitive that he didn’t know what we were doing half the time. 

    “He later became a wonderful actor but, oh dear, there were a lot of things that went straight over his head.”

    In contrast, Celia was similar to her character Laura, according to the actor’s daughter Lucy Fleming. 

    Speaking to Mail Online Ms Fleming said: “She was very moral and wouldn’t have liked that kind of situation to arise in her own life.

    “People loved working with her. She was so fun. She had a great sense of humour.”

    Watch Brief Encounter on BBC Two at 3pm.

    Published at Sat, 26 Feb 2022 13:00:00 +0000

    Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard’s Brief Encounter bond rocked by secret: ‘Dreadful!’