“Throw nothing away. Save everything”.
That piece of advice given to Sir Patrick Stewart more than 20 years ago by his Star Trek co-star Brent Spiner means dozens of scripts and call sheets from the cult television show have been saved from the recycling bin.
Sir Patrick, who has a house in the Dales, has just finished collating his entire collection of paperwork from seven series of Star Trek: The Next Generation and is currently pondering what to do with them.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald during a visit to Skipton last week, the actor explained the importance of saving old scripts.
He was speaking during a visit to the exhibition of a rare First Folio of Shakespeare’s works at the Craven Museum.
The Folio is one of only 49 in the UK and one of only four on public display anywhere in the world. For decades it went unrecorded, wrongly classified, languishing in a safe. Once it was discovered, a special display was created, with Sir Patrick providing a commentary. However, hundreds of First Folios remain missing – something that surprises Sir Patrick - and to the frustration of millions of Shakespeare fans, none of the Bard’s original manuscripts have ever been discovered. It is feared they were all thrown away or lost, before their importance was realised.
Sir Patrick said: “There are approximately 500 copies [of the First Folio] missing from the published list. There could be one anywhere, just as there was one here in Skipton. They were significant volumes and one it’s a little surprising that such a small percentage of them still exist.
“The one thing that would make me terrifically happy – and of course plenty of other people too – would be if we could find just one page of manuscript before I die.
“Where did they go? Was it like when I started filming Star Trek the Next Generation, at my first day of filming we were getting new pages every day… rewrites, rewrites. They came for seven years. Rewrites were the bane of my existence. And every new rewrite was a different coloured page. Sometimes we would work our way through all the colours and start again and work through them.
“I was sitting on the set next to an actor I’d only just met, Brent Spiner, who became one of my dearest friends – he played Data, the android.
“I was collating the scripts, getting new pages, taking the old pages out and tossing them in the recycling bin and Brent said: ‘Don’t do that. Throw nothing away. Save everything’.
“The end result is we have just finished collating my complete collection of 178 original scripts with all the different coloured pages, and the call sheets for every day and I’m deciding now what to do with them.”
Read much more from our extensive interview with Patrick Stewart in the print editions of the Craven Herald on Thursday, October 6, and Thursday, October 13. There will also be further exclusive online content in future days.