Infra digs

Near death experiences, rising stars and cut-throat dopplegangers

This article is taken from the May 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

Equity demands producers of “large-scale UK tours” now intervene and personally secure suitable lodgings for performers up and down the land, after shining a light on “inadequate” arrangements in 2023. One cannot help hankering for more resourceful days, when mere word of mouth (normally at Crewe station) ensured any travelling player worth his salt had workable knowledge of the hospitable, lousy or sexually advantageous from Penzance to Aberdeen.

Australian matinee idol Guy Pearce was forced to run for the hills after briefly daring to question the logic of irate trans folk regarding castings. A brief glance at Mr Pearce’s drag queen appearance in long-ago movie hit The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, confirms he proved a considerably more fetching young lady than most of his current critics.

Reflecting on the film careers of Messrs Cumberbatch and Freeman since his increasingly self-indulgent BBC series ended six years ago, the ubiquitous Mr Gatiss now mischievously concludes: “The success of Sherlock made Benedict into a big star and Martin into an even bigger star.” Miaow!

Belated congratulations to the dashing Doctor Alladi, these days seemingly in charge of the coffers over at the war-torn Actors’ Benevolent Fund. As the battle smoke clears, I see he promises to be “nuanced and comprehensive” when addressing the needs of those deserving recipients among us. Should there remain any unhelpful confusion over my own position (I may have playfully sided with his adversaries at the height of internal hostilities), I now wish to firmly place on record my unqualified support for the good doctor in these exciting years ahead!

Bemoaning the sorry decline in co-star shagging during modern-day movie shoots, Hugh Grant recalls: “In the old days, by the end of the second week, you were all getting drunk in the evening, having dinner and falling in love with each other.”

Mr Grant goes on to blame dreary nocturnal obsessions with Twitter and the like for this pathetic state of affairs. Those among us of a certain vintage, still discreetly endeavouring to preserve some semblance of the “old ways” while working on location, soon find ourselves tragically lacking in both stamina and willing participants!

No lovejoy lost

One-time housewives’ favourite Ian McShane, long California-based, reportedly cut a bizarre and unpleasant figure during a recent London film premiere when ranting about the state of England. Having experienced this man’s rages first hand (I was unjustly deemed the guilty party following our clash on the set of Jesus of Nazareth in 1976), it comes as little surprise to learn this old leopard hasn’t changed its spots.

Meanwhile, credit to Radio 3’s Michael Berkeley for sensibly steering TV Jesus/Robert Powell away from talk of countless lady conquests of yesteryear — or as Mr Powell so cheerfully put it on the airwaves: “Enjoying the sweet shop”.

A man of more carefree times, dear Robert, who bagged the blonde from Pan’s People in 1974, seemed quaintly oblivious to the career- threatening hazards that come with hot-blooded heterosexual boasts all these decades on. 

Having made headlines after fashionably declaring her new name was Suzy, celebrity transgenderist Miss Izzard continues to confuse eager-to-please journalists. No sooner had supportive commentators got used to embracing the official name change on the airwaves and in newspaper write-ups, than up again popped Suzy promoting a “one-woman” West End run of Great Expectations at the Garrick … very definitely billed as starring EDDIE IZZARD.

Do keep up, everyone!

Wheels of justice

Watching TV coverage of Gwyneth Paltrow’s ski-crash courtroom battle with her septuagenarian accuser, I wondered whether it was high time one’s own harrowing experience received the spotlight it surely deserves?

Regular readers might recall the events of last May, when, following a splendid night with old co-stars in Haymarket, I narrowly missed being mowed down by a passing motorcyclist bearing a striking resemblance to Jeremy Irons.

Later checking MailOnline on his phone, the nephew helpfully confirmed Jeremy had indeed been pictured in the vicinity riding this beastly contraption, with fragrant spouse Ms Cusack alluringly seated on the back. Having initially imagined nearby bin bags had successfully cushioned my resulting fall (after a surprisingly agile body swerve), this formerly sprightly seventy-something hasn’t been quite the “same” since. 

While a once-impeccable memory now regularly turns fuzzy during a sociable evening, the nephew will concur his uncle’s “irritability” only appears to have got worse in these subsequent months. 

Naturally, one dreads to imagine the impact on a professional life, expected to have been flourishing with endless character actor roles, but instead contending with a largely fallow 2023 — not least after an audition recently described by the agent as “disastrous”.

Should Mr Irons and associates have the good grace to respond to my repeated correspondence, an adequate financial agreement might still be reached — before I’m instead obliged to very publicly pursue the matter. While Gwyneth walked away an innocent woman in America, one would hope English justice takes a dimmer view of self-absorbed Jeremy.

Bowing out as Succession’s Logan Roy, Brian Cox cockily claims he’s more than happy to see the back of the character.

But surely this doesn’t also mark the end of Coxy’s little sideline? At the time of writing, Brian continues to eagerly appear for fans via video, bellowing his sweary TV alter ego’s catchphrase for a tasteful £551.

Making hay on the corporate circuit, Mr Ingle, a “professional King Charles III lookalike”, takes unseemly aim at elderly female royal impersonators no longer in work since the passing of our late monarch. “None of these Queens had any talent,” he announces to the press.

One must never underestimate what a cut-throat world this most peculiar of trades truly is … 

Naked truth

After recently making tentative inquiries regarding retraining as an “intimacy coordinator” (deducing it must be the one stage and screen profession guaranteed to bear fruit in these enlightened times), Puritans have prevailed. Eventually finding myself confronted by the most convoluted of online application forms, blatantly designed to befuddle/disgrace any baby boomer hoping to “give something back” in later life, one had to accept this most intriguing of rackets is very much the closed shop!

Hats off to Sir Patrick Stewart for sensibly giving short shrift to The Brandreth after the latter predictably bounded towards him, intent on striking up a rapport following a chance sighting outside a television studio. If only fellow ancient thespians, long hoodwinked by this beaming vampire, had the good sense to follow Patrick’s example.

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