This article is taken from the November issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering three issue for just £5.
Hearts must go out to English rose Kate Winslet after a recent announcement she’s now “grappling” with the regret of working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski — despite having previously defended her decision. Although the pair have long been deemed persona non grata by many in the business, the actress had proudly clarified in 2017 that she’d found collaborating with both men “incredible” and “extraordinary”.
While lesser stars than Kate might be prone to subsequently jumping on career-preserving bandwagons when it feels the moment’s right, one cannot begin to imagine just how profound the courageous Ms Winslet’s pain must suddenly be.
Let us all do our patriotic duty and get behind Captain Sir Tom Moore’s stated wish that he be portrayed by fellow national treasure Sir Michael Caine in a planned movie biopic. The sound of Michael attempting Captain Tom’s Yorkshire vowels would be worth the cinema ticket alone.
Though prepared to aid the cause of struggling artistes when appropriate, one had to draw the line when it was recently suggested I join fellow pantomime dames marching on Parliament Square.
Having subsequently witnessed the rather sorry-looking rabble that participated on the day, it’s fair to conclude my instincts did not fail. Besides, if that Christmas pudding Dame Biggins couldn’t be bothered to turn up, why on earth should I?
As I write, the Theatre Royal, Windsor has been promoting its Covid-safety conscious panto Cinderella, due to star none other than Basil Brush and Britt Ekland. I trust tensions won’t come to a head between these showbiz giants of yesteryear? Troublesome types have already been going around Windsor claiming Basil enjoys “bigger billing”.
A recent encounter with a humourless female student from RADA saw me roundly condemned after innocently quoting the now apparently “fascist” playwright George Bernard Shaw. The furious girl in question assured me she and her pals would be “removing” his name from their theatre forthwith. Ever since this regrettable incident, I confess one’s troubled slumber has regularly occupied a disturbing autumnal world — roughly combining 1605 and 2021 — where I’m tortured by young puritanical types, demanding I renounce everything I’ve ever shamefully enjoyed. In a clear nod to this time of year, the said nightmare concludes with my ragged form being carted off in a wheelbarrow towards the local blaze on Bonfire Night, clutching The Best of Noël Coward and a box set of Hi-de-Hi!
Brush with the law
Having spotted last month’s column item concerning one’s brief clash on the set of a TV drama, the increasingly anxious agent insists I acknowledge the young man armed with a two-metre stick was responsibly carrying out his duty to keep actors socially distanced.
She adds that the boy in question has since been “talking to a lawyer” after claiming I responded to his efforts by “striking him with a broom”, as well as (mistakenly) alleging yours truly displayed signs of “intoxication at 10.20 am”.
It’s felt a brief apology on these pages might now go some way to resolving the regrettable episode. Not least, my representative adds, because this character actor wouldn’t want, in any way, to jeopardise a “potentially recurring role” on Sunday night television.
While claiming to have this client’s best interests at heart, the said agent comes up hopelessly short regarding another pressing matter. Despite my having repeatedly demanded she investigate rumours I’ve been unjustifiably placed on the “actors’ blacklist” over at The Archers, I now annoyingly discover she’s got nowhere.
Surely the BBC’s ongoing silence on the matter speaks volumes?
Something to forget
Mention in last month’s column of our ill-fated 1989 TV sitcom Something’s Up!, prompted fellow surviving cast members to suggest an online reunion via “Zoom”.
Having eventually managed to put reservations to one side, I cautiously agreed. When the day arrived, it was inevitably only a matter of time before conversation turned to “why the show must be revived”, modern comedy being in crisis, and Rodney Bewes being a gossip and a troublemaker (God rest his soul).
Alas, following a befuddled read-through of the original pilot script by those present — myself and a glamorously-preserved former screen wife being notable exceptions — it was safe to conclude the majority present would be foolish to re-enter the fray.
Undeterred by the small-minded response that greeted my long planned stage production Oliver Cromwell: The Musical, I’m thrilled to report one’s debut novel should soon be hitting the shelves. I, of course, must add that any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. A synopsis:
Only The Liars Remain
by Romeo Coates
After a small but pleasing role in 1981’s TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, great things are predicted for handsome young actor Ronald Coles, who by general consensus has the world at his feet. Having long loyally encouraged his less talented pal, the well-connected Nigel Rivers, Coles braces himself for stardom with trademark humility. Matters take a sinister turn, however, when Coles suddenly finds all manner of invisible obstacles blocking his road to deserved commercial success — made all the more unbearable when the career of the now treacherous Rivers flourishes, not least after landing the toff part in an Oscar-winning British film.
Fast forward decades later, when an older and wiser Coles at last resolves to seek out those murky figures responsible for one of the most shocking showbiz conspiracies of all. In a scene not directly lifted from — but admittedly reminiscent of — Holmes and Moriarty’s meeting at the Reichenbach Falls, it seems Coles and Rivers must do deadly battle one last time …
Dear Radio Times
I was frankly appalled by your recent so-called “poll” — widely reported by the press — maliciously claiming my good friend Peter Davidson was the worst ever Doctor Who. Such misleading “polls” do not merit publication, and only harm the morale of hard-working actors, undeservedly finding themselves on the receiving end of such nonsense.
PS Everyone knows Colin Baker was the worst, closely followed by Sylvester McCoy and that angry northern chap they miscast in 2004.
How brave of oddball former 007 George Lazenby to try and rewrite the famously strained showbiz history between himself and late Bond girl co-star Dame Diana Rigg, so shortly after her passing. One could distinctly hear Diana’s ghost cackling away with delight as poor old George attempted to make his case.
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