Is it possible to know TOO much about someone? And what business is it of ours anyway?
The caricature of the local nosey-parker was always that of a wizen old bird; curlers in her hair – twitching her nets every time a car stopped on the street. Her ears, like two satellite dishes, were capable of tuning in to a whispered conversation a mile-and-a-half away, whilst simultaneously monitoring a delivery to the house across the road!
To be honest, I’ve never understood what people derive from that kind of practice. What interest could there possibly be in eavesdropping on a private conversation between two perfect strangers on a bus, or in being the first person in town with the latest piece of gossip? I’m of the opinion that if someone wants me to know something, they’ll tell me. Otherwise, I assume my nose should be kept strictly within the confines of my own affairs.
Call me old fashioned, but I believe that whether you’re a lavatory attendant or an A-list celebrity, the same rules should apply, and whilst I understand that the latter of these two might well court publicity at times, I do feel that the line should be drawn somewhere. I really can’t abide the flagrant intrusion of ANYONE’S space, regardless of who they are. I found the whole press hacking episode quite sickening, and while it might be a bit of fun to see some reality TV star or X Factor also-ran rolling around in a gutter 4 O’clock in the morning, shoving a camera in the face of a mourner at a funeral is quite another.
My thoughts on showbiz gossips and the perpetrators of wildly inaccurate myths are well documented on this ‘Site. I’m sure many people would agree that PETER WYNGARDE has seen more than his fair share of fantasy stories and overblown parables about his life. I dare say that his reluctance to engage with the media has, over the years, added fuel to the fire, but the problem has been self-perpetuating: the more they misrepresent him, the less inclined he is to speak with them. The less they know, the more they make up. And so it goes on – ad infinitum.
Quite recently, PETER and I were chatting about some of the madness that surrounded him during his days as Jason King; the media attention, the fans and the general mayhem. He told me that, while he enjoyed the attention at the time, fame and fortune wasn’t the reason he’d gone into the acting profession. He knew from a very early age what he wanted to do and envisaged no other path; it was like an unswerving track leading to the door of the nearest theatre.
The fact that people began to take an interest in him on a personal level once he started to make a name for himself, was something he’d not foreseen and has certainly never felt at ease with; if there’s one thing he’s always hated, it’s talking about himself. He’s a very private man who’s always kept himself to himself, and whilst I’ve known him for more than half my life, I still wait for him to come to me with something before I’ll stick my nose into his business.
Though I accept that fans enjoy hearing a few well-chosen facts about their favouite actor or musician, I do wonder what some people get from digging deeper and ever more intrusively into someone else’s private life, and what exactly it is that they hope to gain from it.
One such person has contributed a PETER WYNGARDE ‘biography’ to the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, and has obviously devoted an inordinate amount of time rummaging through public and private records (Electoral Rolls, Ship Manifests, birth and death records etc.) in an effort to drag every last remnant of PETER’s personal life into the public domain. Not only that, but the personal details of his family members have also been pored over and laid open to scrutiny. If PETER himself didn’t join the acting profession to suffer such a flagrant and unashamed incursion, then his family certainly didn’t!
It’s a fact that the publication of the British Electoral Register online, in addition to the appearance of websites such as Ancestry.com and Find My Past etc., have afforded the proletarian Nosey-Parker a whole new and ominous lease of life. But this form of personal intrusion has gone FAR beyond a bit of curtains twitching!
I know for a fact that PETER’s parents and siblings would be absolutely MORTIFIED to learn that all their personal business had been dissected over in such a manner. The question is, where will this contemptible intrusion end? Might we expect it to extend to the accessing of bank details, email accounts and even medical records? It wouldn’t surprise me one iota!
Quite who the bumptious person behind this reprehensible piece THINKS he is, it’s impossible to say. A hint of his conceit came at the mere mention that PETER’s original birth certificate might be made available. Lacking any hint of shame, he declared his eagerness to examine and publish it, without it occurring to him – even for a millisecond – that this document is NONE OF HIS F*****G BUSINESS!!!
I have little doubt that this person feels he’s doing some great public service but, in reality, he’s nothing but an unapologetic voyeur with few moral values, and neither an appreciation or understanding of an individual’s entitlement to privacy. Whatever happened to the old adage of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’?
It’s clear that certain individuals view another’s desire for privacy as an attempt to conceal information that they feel they’re entitled to. The names, nationality and professions of PETER’s parents and siblings; where he was born and who he lived with 50+ years ago, are HIS business and his alone. It’s not the duty of a random stranger to decide how much of his private life ought be disclosed to the world. I wonder what wailing and shrieking would be heard if the boot was on the other foot?
Amidst all this inflicted exposure to public examination, the faux concern relating to
another private matter and the way in which it should or should not be recounted, reeks of insincerity. It would seem that it’s perfectly acceptable to throw open the doors to someone else’s life so long as you temper the incursion with a spot of Political Correctness! It’s as if you’ve just found your home ransacked, only to discover that the perpetrator has left a chunk of Victoria Sponge on a nice paper doily just to show that he’s really a reasonable chap after all!
Whilst ‘sites like Wikipedia might provide the nonprofessional essayist a platform to share his or her knowledge with the rest of us, there really ought to be some boundaries as to how far a supposed ‘Biography’ of a living person should be allowed to go. The author of this article admits that he had no interest in PETER until he began writing this piece. In addition to his apparent lack of ethical awareness, there also appears to be a complete absence of empathy with a fellow human being and his right to keep his private life private.
It seems rather duplicitous that, whilst the originator of this ‘biography’ hides behind a username to avoid any invasion of his privacy, he’s quite content to delve into and intrude upon someone else’s. Given that some of its contributors are clearly incapable of recognising any moral boundaries, it should be the responsibility of the Wikipedia itself to monitor these articles and to ensure that these desk-bound busybodies don’t overstep the mark.
The following response to my article (above) was taken from Wikipedia, having been posted on there 0n 26th September, 2017.
“The nightmare of the incessant prying into Peter’s private life by an online encyclopedia”
See https://peterwyngarde.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/when-is-enough-enough/. I suppose it is better to be talked about than not talked about!  Given how much of his personal, biographical and family information Peter Wyngarde is happy to share with the blogger and their readers , it’s odd and rather hypocritical that the blogger calls my own research into his background for this article a “nightmare of incessant prying”. What they describe as personal family documents are just the public record after all. 
The fact that some of the research contradicts Peter Wyngarde’s own account of his life is worthy of note here in a biographical article . Needless to say, this aspect is never addressed by the blogger , and the tone is that the subject is entitled to not tell the truth about things if he wants to . He certainly is, all power to him, but it is not prying to point out fibbing and re-writing of history . This specifically seems to be the blogger’s big issue with this article , not the research itself or the citing of the documents. Because when the public documents I have quoted do corroborate the subject’s version of events, which of course they often do, the blogger seems happy enough to cite them him/herself . Sah10406 (talk) 10:45, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Although the author of these paragraphs has clearly read my editorial, the kernel of it has nonetheless been disregarded. I feel, therefore, that I should both reiterate what I originally said, and clear up those points that have either been misconstrued or derided.
N.B. Terms referred to in the following:
- ‘The Author’ – the writer of the Wikipedia article.
- ‘The Biography’ – the article published on Wikipedia by ‘The Author’
- ‘The Blogger” – I/me
- ‘The Blog’ – Hellfire Hall: The Official Peter Wyngarde Blog
. “I suppose it is better to be talked about than not talked about!” An supposition made by ‘The Author’ to justify his interfering.
. Any information – personal or otherwise – that PETER WYNGARDE chooses to share with either myself or the readers of ‘The Blog’, is done at HIS discretion. He does not need a third party to dictate how much of his private business he should disclose to the public. There is no justification for ‘The Author’ to attempt to undermine or query Mr WYNGARDE on the question of his private affairs. To do so is both offensive and iniquitous.
. Whilst the documents denoted might well be available for public scrutiny, only one person thus far has been prurient enough to lift them from the various subscription-only archives and collate them in one place. Without ‘The Author’s’ intervention, 99.999% of the general public would either be unaware of their existence, or respectful enough to leave them where they belong!
. The way in which a private individual presents his or herself is a matter of personal choice. It is not the place of any other person to publically question or contradict that individual, or otherwise elect to circulate personal information about a family to whom he has no connection.
. I have addressed this subject numerous times and will do so once again for the benefit of those who’re either unable or unwilling to grasp it.
I wholeheartedly accept that what ‘The Author’ BELIEVES to be true invariably contradicts what Mr WYNGARDE SAYS is true. However, ‘The Author’ makes this statement from the standpoint that he is right and Mr WYNGARDE is wrong. In many aspects of his “research”, ‘The Author’ is so far off the mark it’s cringe-worthy!
. ‘The Author’ appears to believe that Mr WYNGARDE is obliged to confirm or deny specific parts of his private life raised in ‘The Biography’. HE IS NOT! ‘The Author’ needs to understand that not a single scrap of this information has anything whatsoever to do with him or anyone else!
. For ‘The Author’ to have set out with the sole intent of uncovering documents concerning an individual to whom he has no personal connection, is PRYING – no matter how he tries to dress it up.
It is not the place of a random stranger to determine who is “fibbing” or who is “rewriting history” in this instance. ‘The Author’ appears to have cast himself as judge and jury in this matter. Any attempt to amend ‘The Biography’, as is theoretically the right of all Wikipedia contributors, has been vigorously resisted both by ‘The Author’ and the encyclopaedia. Their word, it would appear, is final.
. I believe that I made the “big issue” with this ‘biography’ abundantly clear – it being that sections of his ‘biography’ are a blatant INVASION OF PRIVACY!
. Firstly, I have never, EVER used any documentation unearthed by ‘The Author’. I have known Mr WYNGARDE personally for three decades, so there’s nothing of any worth that ‘The Author’ can demonstrate to either Mr WYNGARDE or I that we do not already know; have access to; have seen, read, rejected or don’t already have in our possession.
Mr WYNGARDE has been meticulous throughout his life in cataloguing every personal document, deed, certificate, manuscript, article, contract, record, letter, text and email associated with him on both a personal and professional level. He does not need ‘The Author’ to tell him who he lived with and when; which type of conveyance he took to New York in 1960-odd, or who his parents and siblings are.
When we need a particular copy for mention, there’s no need to consult any of the online reference ‘sites frequented by ‘The Author’, since we already have those resources at our disposal.
Mr WYNGARDE and I would, nevertheless, like to thank ‘The Author’ and Wikipedia for motivating us to establish The Hellfire Club Blog as an antithesis to the kind of immoral practice displayed by online blogs and encyclopaedias.
Based on the number of people who now visit this Blog (approximately 27 persons per hour, according to WordPress figures), ‘Biographies’ such as the one discussed here have become irrelevant. Why bother reading threadbare, second hand accounts when you can get something far more extensive directly from the man himself!
Since posting the article entitled ‘Wiki-Freaks’ on this website in December 2017, the author of the Wikipedia piece has updated the comments as seen above to the following:
The fact that diligent and sourced research of the public record contradicts many aspects of Peter Wyngarde’s own account of his life is worthy of note here. These many contradictions and disputed facts are never addressed by the blogger. The tone of the blog post is that the subject is entitled to not tell the truth about things if he wants to, and that this Wikipedia article is wrong, even cruel, to rely on evidence rather than PR.
Funnily enough, when my research does corroborate the subject’s version of events, which it often does, the blogger does seem happy enough to cite these particular “personal family documents” and to take the credit for finding them! Sah10406 (talk) 10:45, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Again he insists that I’m attempting to “take credit” for his so-called “research”. Oh, pur-leez! Logging into Ancestry.com hardly qualifies as an exclusive, pioneering enquiry!
As I’ve stated previously, I have access to more original documentation relating to PETER WYNGARDE (of both a private and professional nature) than ‘The Author’ could ever hope to uncover in a lifetime, so he shouldn’t flatter himself so much. I have absolutely no need to reproduce or apply any of the scraps dug up by ‘The Author’ in easily-accessible online archives*.
“The tone of the blog post is that the subject is entitled to not tell the truth about things if he wants to, and that this Wikipedia article is wrong, even cruel, to rely on evidence rather than PR”.: It’s not for anyone else to dictate how much of his private business an individual must divulge to the public, nor should that person be obliged to ask “how high?” when some random stranger shouts “jump!”
And just to make the matter clearer for those who’re either unable or unwilling to accept it: Yes, it is cruel, and even immoral, to delve into and then publish deeply private material about an individual and his family without that person’s permission.
As already specified within this Blog: If ‘The Author’ is resolute in his belief that it’s the responsibility of strangers to decide how much of another person’s private life should be open to public scrutiny, then he should demonstrate the strength of his conviction by ceasing to hide behind a username. In that way, those who desire could carry out their own “research” into his private life, and subject both him and his family to the same intrusive examination that he’s chosen to inflict on Mr WYNGARDE.
*His so-called “research” hardly equates to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls!
Click here for: ‘Wiki-Freaks’ – A review of the Wikipedia ‘biography
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