I had become an actress at the age of 11, and in 1975 made the leap into adult roles in a TV series about student nurses called Angels.
The following year, when I was 19, we were filming the second series and, as usual, my fan mail was forwarded to me from my agent’s office. I was young then, and I suppose I didn’t think about the enormity of what he was saying — I was more beguiled by the content of his letters than I was about whatever offences he might or might not have committed in the past.
One letter in particular caught my eye, written on prison-issue notepaper in immaculate handwriting from Anthony Alexandrowicz (always known as Alex), who said he was a fan of Angels and asked for a picture of me. Telling me this so early in our correspondence was such a huge risk to take. He explained that there had been an incident some years earlier in which a man armed with a knife broke into a house and one of the occupants, a woman, was stabbed in the ensuing scuffle. Some hours later, the police found Alex sleeping rough, questioned him, and put pressure on him to admit to the burglary, allegedly telling him that if he didn’t, his Ukrainian father might be deported.
Some years earlier, he had visited the Soviet embassy in London to try to trace his father’s relatives.
The Bistro Garden was first opened by Carolyn Niklas Pappas, the daughter of famed restaurateur Kurt Niklas (who founded the enormously popular celebrity hotspots Bistro and the original Bistro Garden in Beverly Hills) and her husband Gregory Pappas in 1990.