And he's clearly as barking mad as ever.
In celebration of Ken's entry into the house, I dug out Andre de Toth's book Fragments
, and reread the classic tale of Ken Russell, Harry Saltzman and the caviar.
In precis, for those unfamiliar:
Saltzman was producing Billion Dollar Brain
and recruited Ken as director. It was to be filmed in Finland, and a dinner was held in Helsinki to celebrate the first UK-Finnish joint production.
Ken bumbled in late and, ignoring the name cards, sat down at the right hand of the notoriously prickly Saltzman. Saltzman commanded him to move, and after an awkward few moments Ken flounced off to his assigned place (according to de Toth 'Ken has a lot of faults, but courage is not among them'.)
The dinner began, and almost imediately Ken piped up: "No caviar! You promised me, Harry."
Harry consulted with a waiter, and a short while later a tin of Beluga caviar was brought out to Ken on a silver tray. Ken tucked in with relish. Saltzman asked for the caviar to be brought to him, served himself, tasted it, and spat it out. "This is terrible, Ken. I thought you knew caviar."
Saltzman then made a great pantomime of having several more tins brought out. Each one he tasted and then sent back as being not fit for "Mr Russell, one of the greatest connoisseurs of caviar."
Finally, a tin was brought out that was to Saltzman's liking. "This
is caviar, Ken," he said. The tin was taken across to Ken, who tasted it.
""Well, Harry, this is good. Good for this..." and he picked up his large soup spoon, dug deep in the tin and spread the Beluga caviar, soupspoonful after soupspoonful, on his shoes and shined them with his once-white table napkin."
If Ken's on form, there'll be some fireworks over the next three weeks. (Or he'll commit the ultimate up yours to reality TV by dropping dead on air.)