Attenborough, Richard. Entirely Up to You, Darling

Richard Attenborough

Richard Attenborough – Entirely Up to You, Darling, is an autobiography co-authored with Diana Hawkins. This is the life story of a truly remarkable person, an actor, a director, and generally, a wonderful all round humanitarian. He was the last of the true British geniuses of our time and I can think of none today -- apart from his brother -- that even remotely matches his calibre.

His achievements and awards, which would require another book to list, came through his sheer brilliance and hard work, and this has earned him the respect of all the people throughout the world. In places such as India, you will find people who genuinely revere him and say that for once they came across a Westerner who was truly extraordinary. They have no explanation for it. He is remarkable and out of the ordinary.

If there were such a thing as the Jedi, then Sir Richard Attenborough would truly be a man with the force, and a man of light. So how could I pass up the opportunity to read about one of the greatest living legends and geniuses of our time? Like everyone else, I am a busy person, but if I had a few hours of my life to give, then giving it to this book is very easily time best spent.

The phrase entirely up to you, darling, is something his mother said when both brothers had to make a decision. In this instance, it was a very important decision, whether to allow Irene and Helga to stay with them in their family home. Irene and Helga were sisters who were fleeing Nazi Germany just before war broke out.

I believe this was actually a test of their moral compass and the parents already knew what the answer from the boys would be. Their answer was an indication that they were good seeds, brought up well right from an early age.

Of course, Richard Attenborough is an excellent writer, and the book reads very well as I had already expected. There were no surprises here. The book starts with the background story to the making of the film Gandhi, and right from the start, it is captivating. On page 11, he writes about his recollections at age eight of seeing Mahatma Gandhi on newsreels. I found that fascinating. Mahatma Gandhi is a well know figure in many educated circles in UK and I found it immensely interesting reading about how his passion for making the film grew.

Generally, a Westerner would not give a fig about some Indian in a loincloth carrying a walking stick. However, as I had suspected, Sir Richard is no ordinary Westerner, he is a highly educated intellectual. If you read this book, you will learn that he loves travelling, art – such as Stanley Spencer paintings, culture, literature, and much more. He is a man who loves life! Moreover, he has achieved and lived far more than any mortal living today!

Something out of nothing

It seems to me that the real genius of a person is to be able to make or create something useful out of nothing. It is the age-old problem, which the Universe is trying to solve.

One of the greatest successes in his career was the epic film Gandhi. This film received nominations for 11 Oscars. It is amazing to think that he carried that film on his own. He did not receive a single cent from Hollywood, and it nearly brought him into bankruptcy. However, he was single minded, and continued with his passion and belief. It was that same moral compass that he had as a child that kept him on the straight path. He literally created something out of nothing and that is the genius of the man.

The 1982 Academy Awards

In retrospect, if you were to look at the runners up in the 1982 academy awards, the other nominees for the best film category consisted of ET, Missing, Tootsie, and The Verdict. There was really no competition there. :-) It was just a smoke screen!

Granted, that Steven Spielberg is a great director, however he had a budget of millions to make ET, therefore, when one of us Brits comes up with an epic film, on a shoestring budget, that is like making something out of nothing.

The interesting thing is that if in life you make something worthwhile, people will remember it and many people are still writing about Gandhi and Sir Richard.

Interestingly, those people associated with Sir Richard became famous. That is one of the great things about people of light, because they raise others. Stuart Craig won best art direction. Billy Williams and Ronnie Taylor won best cinematography. Jack Briley won best original screenplay. Ben Kingsley won best actor. John Mollo and Bhanu Attaiya won in the best costume designer category. Sir Richard won in the best director category. At one time, Sir Anthony Hopkins was going to play the lead role of Gandhi, and you can read this part of the story in his biography.


The book contains five pages listing all the appointments and awards from 1947 to 2001. Knighthoods, Honoraries, and almost anything I could think of. However, there was always one thing missing… and now it is fixed. He is in the prestigious Peter Vis Book list! :-)

This book is captivating, it is enthralling, and it is inspiring. I found it very educational. I certainly learnt a lot just from reading this book. This is a wonderful example of a wonderful human being, which everyone should strive to be like.


TitleEntirely Up to You, Darling
AuthorsSir Richard Attenborough and Diana Hawkins
ISBN Number978 0 091 79708 9
Date first Published2008
CopyrightRichard Attenborough, Diana Hawkins
AvailabilityAmazon and all good online bookstores