An email received today from the agent of Rowan Atkinson reads:
I am afraid that Rowan Atkinson has turned down your request on the premise that he doesn't feel that celebrities should be obliged to meet someone simply to disprove the cynicism of their friends.
Further to this is the ever present risk in the current climate of a scam, akin to Tom Cruise being squirted with water during an interview. Both the Tom Cruise incident and this request are in many ways indicative of the same problem: a cynicism and distrust of celebrity and putting the burden on the well-known individual to prove/disprove that attitude.
My apologies for getting back to you with a negative response.
Hi Janette and thanks for getting back to me. What an interesting response.
Firstly could you please thank Rowan kindly for taking the time to consider my request, I really am grateful that he has given it such thought. When I find it hard enough to get a simple acknowledgement of receipt of my letter from some people, a full and frank response like this is very refreshing.
Just to answer his comments, firstly I'd like to say that the celebrities that I am contacting should feel absolutely NO obligation whatsoever to meet me. They should agree to meet me for one reason and one reason alone - because they want to. If they don't, that is fine. I certainly won't think any less of them, particularly when they have been bothered to reply to me.
With regards your second paragraph, I think that Rowan has hit the nail squarely on the head there. In my opinion, one of the reasons that my quest is doomed to failure is because many of the receipients of my letter are highly suspicious of my motives. For example, if, hypotheticaly speaking, I was having a number of celebrity meetings every week and was getting a certain degree of media coverage, I am pretty sure that a number of the people on my list would be a lot happier to meet me. In other words, they need convincing that I have no sinister motives, but am in fact quite genuine.
Unfortunately I am in something of a vicious circle, since without meetings in the first place there WILL be no media interest.
One thing that you can be sure of however, is that I am no prankster. I am certainly not conceited enough to think that I am so perfect that I have some divine right to take celebrites down a peg or two. I have no desire to make anyone look foolish.
The makers of the programme that you refer to have unfortunately fallen into the trap of mistaking crass and brainless TV for entertainment. Regrettably this is commonplace nowadays, as you point out, and presumably that is why we have so many shows concerned with the likes of 'celebrity shoe mending' or 'placing 4 teenagers in a balloon over Iraq'.
Ultimately I am neither a "cynic nor distruster of celebrity", which is why I believed in the first place that many more individuals from my list of 500 would meet me than has actually been the case so far.
Anyway Janette, thanks again for helping me out as you have. It's a shame that not all agents are as efficient as you.
And please thank Rowan once again for his honest reply.