Well, at least I didn't have to pay for this, and I would advise anyone who is thinking of that to think twice. It is always a pleasure to listen to Stephen Fry, and he is as urbane, charming and articulate as ever here. However is this the BBC's idea of an anthology? Of the six interviews from which we hear extracts, five are from the period 1987-99, only the Front Row snippet is at all recent, and even that dates from 2010. Some of the information is mildly interesting, to be sure. I had no idea that Stephen had been a kleptomaniac in his schooldays still less that he had done porridge for it, and I thought that his self-assessment as a half-hearted rebel was candid and honest with himself.
However I would have expected that much from Fry. What gets little if any proper treatment is his polymath knowledge, which is sometimes little short of astounding. The official blurb tells us that he is frank about his sexuality, but don't get your hopes up - he doesn't like sex and doesn't do it, or at least he used not to. Almost everything he says here about his time at Cambridge relates to his acquaintance with Emma Thompson and Hugh Lawrie, leading thespians in their time and maybe still to this day, but an odd subject to be given so much prominence as it is here. I mean, is it not worth the trouble of telling us what Stephen so much as studied at Cambridge?
I don't feel like prolonging such a catalogue of complaints, except to say that I'm not sure whether the short playing time (45 minutes or so) of the disc is a bad thing or a good thing under the circumstances. I could not bring myself to give less than three stars to anything featuring Stephen Fry, but, honestly, pants to the BBC for this effort.