“The couple met when they were both students at RSADA and married when Cumming was 20. Alan and Hilary embarked upon a life of theatrical respectability. They moved to Crouch End, got a house with a big garden and began thinking about children.
‘I was in a relationship that I thought was going to last forever,’ he says. ‘Being one of those cardigan-wearing actors that are on BBC dramas a lot and do seasons at the National.’
Cumming began winning theatrical awards. He wrote and directed a short film starring his wife. People dubbed them the new Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. By 1993, he was playing Hamlet at the Donmar warehouse. Hilary played Ophelia.
Playing Hamlet took a massive emotional toll on Cumming, he eventually had a nervous breakdown and his marriage began to fall a part.
When he left his wife, Cumming moved into a flat in Islington. He painted the walls bright yellow, installed a set of daffodil-shaped lamps and started playing Ker Plunk on the living-room carpet.”