Hello how are you? I am well. Well apart from the ribs I damaged playing football last week (I know – At my Age?) . Me and Theo Walcott alike although he’s a bit nippier than me and he was coughing up blood.
So Summers gone and with it , the time for dancing in the street. I’ve been writing for most of it. Another “Glitterball” re-write and Neil and I decided to lose three of the main characters from this first episode to make it pacier and allow it to breathe a little. We have a big storyline planned for them in another episode so it will all work better for the changes. We’re doing a table read at ITV in November so are thinking hard now about getting the casting right.
I’ve just this week finished a re-write of “Magnolia” which I mentioned in my last blog and its reading really well so fingers crossed for that. Mike Hodgkinson and I have been writing a sit-com set in a charity shop which is called “Chazzing” which is the buzz word for a Charity Shop Crawl. We wrote a scaled down ten minute version limited to three characters for BBC’s “Turn up The Talent” live showcase and in retrospect it probably wasn’t a good idea. Chazzing has many visual gags as you can imagine if you are a Charity Shop aficionado and the BBC showcase was aimed at dialogue driven drama and comedy and all our props made it look and feel clunky. Add to that a lack of preparation with only time for three read throughs with the cast who only met a couple of hours before performance and ten minutes blocking it out on stage and it’s not surprising that we struggled a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it worked okay and we got loads of laughs which, considering we performed first before the audience were properly warmed up was very reassuring to us as it confirmed that it is a funny piece with loads of potential. We must crack on now with a full half hour episode.
I filmed “Pointless” recently having never seen the show previously! It was nice catching up with Richard Osman who used to be Exec Producer on “8 out of 10 Cats” and is one of the nicest (and funniest) blokes you’ll ever meet. I very nearly made a total fool of myself in the very first round highlighting my lack of knowledge about contemporary “Pop” music but redeemed myself later. I partnered Jane McDonald who is such a brilliant person and great company and we had a laugh – eventually.
I filmed “Comedy World Cup” and big thrill meeting David Tennant who hosted incredibly well.
On a personal note my wife and recently travelled to Alicante for a holiday by Train (I’m a bit of a Train nut) so Preston > London > Paris, Night in Paris in Hotel St Michel – I recommend- Evening after , Paris > Barcelona on the sleeper – Great fun , lovely dining room and bar , Barcelona > Tarragona – stayed at Hotel Ciutat , very nice and explored the old town and Roman remains including a magnificent amphitheatre on the beach and an impressive Mansion House . The old town round the Cathedral is beautiful. It was fiesta time – St Tecla so an added bonus – one of the biggest and best fiestas we’ve been to. All going swimmingly well , until ……………………….. . Next day I’d booked Tarragona to Alicante on the Euromed Express – 3hrs 50min – one stop in Valencia. No I hadn’t. The only glitch in my internet booking marathon. The time on the web page must be defaulted at 12.00 and on this one occasion it had found the next train after that. There were three Euromeds before the 12.57 which was actually the stopper - 5hrs 20min. Cock-up, but the worst was yet to come. After three hours and six stops we arrived in Valencia and I realised for some reason that I couldn’t recall where the passports, travel documents and money was. I asked my wife and she remembered that I’d put them in the room-safe at the hotel in Tarragona. So that’s where they’ll be then! Mad panic to get off the train before it sets off again. She says “I’ll go and stand on the platform with my leg in the door so it won’t shut, you get the bags and coats and books and computer and … everything”. Sounds like a plan, I chased after her with the first load just in time to see her open the door on the wrong side and prepare to jump out. “STOP!” I screamed, just in time. A minute later and the train pulled away leaving us looking like two abandoned orphans on an empty platform, all our belongings strewn around us. Back to Tarragona then in a blind panic. Everything was well when we arrived three and a half hours later – all documents and cash still in the safe and we stayed another night and the Fiesta finale was incredible so all’s well that ends well.
Helping me relax I’ve been reading a lot and devoured six or seven Harlan Coban and Lee Childs books. I absolutely cannot believe that they’ve cast Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher – totally unbelievable – outrageous to all fans of the ex-military policeman created by Childs. I’m also reading “Funnybone” by John Gradwell which is a quirky, funny and enlightening “biography” of 96 year old former music hall comedian “Frankie Funnybone”.
I went for a fantastic curry at Naga in Abbey Village last night then on to the Horse and Hounds to watch “Blue Savannah” for the third time. She is a fantastic talent, a wonderful singer with a great personality and incredible range, From Bat out of Hell, through the Beatles and Chuck Berry to Nessun Dorma – yes seriously. There are clips of her on YouTube but they don’t do her justice – she is phenomenal and deserves a bigger stage and a wider audience . Seriously good. If you get chance to see her, don’t hesitate. I believe she’s Midlands based but I wouldn’t take that as gospel.