Grasping the nettle

Romeo runs into legal difficulties …

This article is taken from the December/January 2022 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issue for just £10.

Hounded by the Hare

Shame on the lily livered oaf “upstairs” at the BBC who dared to reject Sir David Hare’s Covid play, on the flimsy basis the viewing public don’t necessarily need to be reminded how awful the plague and Boris have been.

Suffice to say, Sir David was not amused and has since been telling anyone who’ll listen that BBC drama’s going to the dogs, obsessing over lowly crime shows — or presumably anything else the bird from Line of Duty agrees to turn her hand to.

Surely yet another tragic day in this ailing corporation’s history, when it starts rebuffing the endeavours of long acclaimed socialist writers, who’ve always known — better than anyone else — exactly what licence fee payers must be made to watch.

Basking in tv success in his elderly years, Dundee thespian Brian Cox would like former co star Ian McKellen to know he’s been feeling a terrible sense of guilt since being obliged to deliver a critical assessment of the latter’s acting.

While happy to bad mouth others in the trade, Brian’s since clarified in the media that he likes and admires Ian, and remains anxious their friendship isn’t adversely affected by those recent, unflattering, much publicised words he wrote to spice up a lucrative new memoir. Remarks, that I again must stress, he now remains so very, very worried about.

That said, now pesky guilt’s out of the way and on the record, Brian would also like to reiterate in the very same regretful newspaper interviews that he does of course still consider our beloved Gandalf to be an insatiable show pony, whose “grandiose” performances are “missing heart.” But he so wishes he wasn’t having to say all this! 

Readers will recall me previously warning The Crown’s creator Peter Morgan about the hazards of getting romantically entangled with publicity ruthless heiresses while in the middle of writing a hit TV series. Troublesome ex squeeze Ms Khan has since been trying to cause Peter all manner of difficulty. A lesson learned.

Just as I was attempting to embrace the idea of Christmas festivities, a night’s slumber was disrupted by a grisly apparition, who I soon realised to be my long dead former agent.

This sorry ghoul’s nonsensical wailing went on far too long, before I eventually found myself whisked away to the Tunisian set of Jesus of Nazareth in 1975. Now accompanied by a cheery spirit resembling late French House proprietor Gaston Berlemont, I was soon to learn my dismissal as a minor disciple proved more damaging to one’s professional standing than ever before realised — despite the offending brawl with Judas Iscariot co star Ian McShane being entirely of his making.

While a subsequent journey to the dreary “present”, escorted by a humourless female casting director, confirmed suspicions the résumé had recently been treated with casual disregard by the folk at Midsomer Murders and Peaky Blinders, considerably worse news lay ahead. 

Joined by the most chilling phantom of all, I landed in my very own living room in the year 2043, now inhabited by a decadent rake I soon identified to be the impudent nephew in middle age. Glancing at my dusty photograph hanging off the wall, the young floozy in his company inquired who it was, only for the lascivious rogue to dismissively describe me as a “dead actor she wouldn’t have heard of.”

Naturally, the moral of the tale at this time of year is that a man finally sees the errors of his ways, before going on to lead an entirely better sort of life. With this in mind, I shall be disinheriting that treacherous blighter at the soonest opportunity…

Memo to the current — or should I say, temporary — agent: having cost your client lucrative pantomime work elsewhere by falling for a series of hoax emails about a bogus role opposite Ed Balls in Nottingham, can you at least have the decency to clarify it was your error to my distant relations in the East Midlands.

Seeing as they were previously repeatedly assured by yours truly that Ed and I would be entertaining them over Christmas, I’m now unfairly deemed a tragic fantasist in that part of the world. 

Sir Michael Caine maintains a now annual tradition which sees him announce his “retirement” to the media — only to subsequently claim he’s been misquoted. Jaded observers of Michael’s career in recent years will concur he’s been guilty of approximately eleven fake retirements to date.

Daytime telly favourite

Nigel Havers says he’s sometimes mistaken for Oscar winner and fellow one time pretty boy Jeremy Irons, even insisting he dares to cheekily sign autographs as the latter. Only the mean spirited would note the gulf long separating Nigel and Jeremy’s respective careers.

Grasping the nettle

To the young upstart eagerly publicising plans for a Bergerac “reboot” — hold your horses, Sonny Jim!

My resourceful late Uncle Rupert, a “mover and shaker” in Jersey based show business if ever there was, led a consortium boldly acquiring the said TV rights shortly after the original programme’s demise — the majority share of which, has since been left to me.

Having spent the resulting decades attempting in vain to get a new John Nettles/Bergerac vehicle off the ground (admittedly with next to no enthusiasm from Nettles himself), I find it extraordinary that you should now ride roughshod over the very guardian of this beloved TV franchise. 

After consulting on the matter with the family’s longtime lawyer, rest assured you shall be hearing from us forthwith!

Note to Editor: please insert urgent bergerac clarification before we go to press.

Dear Lovely Bergerac People. What a silly clod I’ve been! Following my previous playful remarks, that may have also arrived in your office in the form of a legal letter, that decrepit fool of a “lawyer” has belatedly clarified we do not technically own the rights to your Bergerac, after all. 

Turns out Uncle Rupert (a chancer of some infamy who disappeared in 1993), only in fact purchased the rights to a “Bergerac inspired” remake, specifically set on the Bulgarian island of St Cyril.

I hope you’ll appreciate any unnecessary unpleasantness would have been avoided had we more closely looked at the small print this end — most crucially, the word “Bulgaria” rather than “Jersey”. Humblest apologies, kindest regards, and break a leg.

*Should you need a roguish character actor of a “certain age”(!), my agent’s also taken the liberty of sending you my résumé.

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