May 20th – London

I had planned to go down to London on Saturday 21st May, to a memorabilia event in Westminster, but at the last minute decided to go down a day earlier, and stay over in cheap accommodation. I’ve decided to blog about each day separately, to allow me more room to elaborate on events.

There was nothing special going on for me on the Friday, so I started at the usual BBC studios. Here, after being elbowed several times in the face by some tosspot more intent on pushing me than in getting anything signed by the Hollywood actress he was there for, I met Richard Ashcroft from The Verve. He is a lovely fella, and not as dour as his image suggests.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

Staying around the BBC, I next met up with The Hairy Bikers, shortly followed by singer Craig David.

Hairy Bikers

The Hairy Bikers – Si King & Dave Myers

Craig David

Craig David

Next I went down to the Arts Theatre, near Leicester Square, where a new play was due to start tonight. It turned out that while I was waiting for the cast to arrive, they were already in the theatre doing last minute rehearsals. Fortunately for me, most of them left the building around teatime, so I managed to get two that I wanted; EastEnders and Star Wars actor Steve John Shepherd, and comedy actress Sarah Alexander.

Steve John Shepherd

Steve John Shepherd

Sarah Alexander

Sarah Alexander

I might try again some time for Steve, when he’s looking more awake!!

I also bumped into the lovely Rosina Moore whilst I waited for Sarah. I had nothing for her to sign, but it’s always great to see her.

Rosina Moore

Rosina Moore

The friend I’d met up with earlier was planning on going to the Royal Court Theatre after their evening performance, but I had a different plan. The next play at that venue could very well be rehearsing there, and if we went to get the current cast arriving, then we may see that cast leaving for the day. So off we went to Sloane Square.

We’d been there a little while, waiting for the cast to arrive. However, exactly like at the Arts Theatre, the cast were already in, doing some last minute work on the play. We knew this when the lovely Ian Gelder popped out for a short break. He helpfully informed us that the whole cast were in, so we knew now where to look for them.

Ian Gelder

Ian Gelder

Alas, none of the rest of that cast which we wanted did come out. But, I was right about the other thing. Doctor Who actor Matt Smith was in rehearsing for the next play, and he came out and was lovely. So, it was well worth while coming to this theatre when we did, despite not getting the cast we were initially after.

Matt Smith

Matt Smith

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May 8th & 9th – London

 

It’s the weekend of the BAFTA Television Awards in London, and this year I was having an overnight stay on Sunday, to take advantage of the late finish of the event.

I’d booked a twin room at a hostel about a half hour bus ride away. Only £29, shared between myself and a friend. But it was going to be a long Sunday before we got anywhere near our digs, so here’s what happened.

Saturday May 7th – 10.35pm I caught a bus from my house to Leeds, had a late McSupper, and awaited the 1am Megabus to London. This got me into Victoria Station soon after 6am, but thankfully I had slept most of the way.

The first stop was the Royal Festival Hall, where the event would be taking place later in the day. The routine is that you queue for a numbered wristband in the morning, and then return in the afternoon and get into position alongside the red carpet. And that’s what I did. At around 8am we got our wristbands, and then left for a look at local TV & Radio stations, for any famous faces.

I only met a couple that I wanted anything from. I got a photo with Piers Morgan at the Sunday Brunch studio, and Michael Ball signed his single from Eurovision 1992, “One Step Out of Time”. It came second to an Ireland win that year.

 

Back at the Royal Festival Hall for the main event. It’s a very long day, and the Sun’s heat was absolutely sweltering. It seemed like an age before we got to our red carpet positions, and then another long wait until anything happened. You get a relatively free hand at picking a place to stand, but if it’s not at the barrier itself, then you’ll be hard-pressed to get anything. We saw a spot, took it, and hoped for the best.

Before the red carpet arrivals we had to suffer a few camera crews and TV outfits getting crowd shots, and then the official intro by Graham Norton and Elle King, where we were encouraged to holler and whoop, as she sang a song with no relevance to the proceedings whatsoever.

The first person I saw arrive was comedy writer Laurence Marks, who co-wrote Birds of a Feather and one of my favourite sitcoms “Goodnight Sweetheart”. I was chuffed to get his autograph. Stupidly though, I didn’t get a photo, AND I’d completely forgotten that I had a Goodnight Sweetheart book in my bag. What am I like?

The following hour or so was a non-stop parade of famous faces. I managed to have little chats with some of them, and a couple I got autographs from but no photo; Amanda Holden & Alesha Dixon.

Will Mellor

Will Mellor

Tess Daly

Tess Daly

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Diane Morgan

Diane Morgan

Lee Mack

Lee Mack

Greg Davies

Greg Davies

Jack Davenport

Jack Davenport

Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon

Anton Lesser

Anton Lesser

Adam Richman

Adam Richman

Bian Cox 2

Professor Brian Cox

Chanel Cresswell

Chanel Cresswell

Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville

Professor Green

Professor Green

Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham

 

As soon as the arrivals were over, I went for a short sit-down with another friend, and discussed the day. Then I headed straight for the hostel, to check-in and dump my bags, before returning to the Festival Hall for the ‘outs’.

We didn’t rush, indeed we overshot our bus-stop, but still made it back in plenty of time. On previous occasions I’ve had to miss most of the guests leaving, in order to catch a coach home, but this year was much better. I managed to get several people that I’d seen arriving, but was unable to get at that time.

Michelle Gomez

Michelle Gomez

Shane Meadows

Shane Meadows

Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald

Samia Ghadie

Samia Ghadie

Terence Beesley

Terence Beesley

Then it was back to the hostel, and straight off to sleep.

Monday morning was pretty much a no-plan day. We left the hostel at 10am, caught a bus to Waterloo, then to Cambridge Circus, where we had an early McLunch, then we walked to BBC Broadcasting House / Western House to see what we could see.

We saw comedian Jack Dee arriving at about 1.30pm, but I thought I recognised the woman he was with. Sure enough, when they left half an hour later, I could confirm that it was comedy actress and producer Brenda Gilhooly. Better known for her ditzy page 3 girl character Gayle Tuesday.

Brenda Gilhooly

Brenda Gilhooly

At about 3.30pm guests for the Patrick Kielty show started to arrive. His show was already broadcasting, so we’d almost assumed that his scheduled guests for today had been pre-recorded, which is a common situation. Alas, no they hadn’t. American film and TV actor Jeffrey Tambor was greeted by several ‘collectors’ wanting autographs and photos. As his PA was rushing him in, I just got an autograph, with the intention of getting a photo when he left. Not long after this, Natalie, Melanie and Nicole from the All Saints turned up. Nicole was on her phone and went straight in, but Mel and Nat signed autographs and posed for us.

Melanie Blatt and Natalie Appleton

Half Saints –  Melanie Blatt & Natalie Appleton

Several minutes after this, Shaznay arrived and joined the other girls in the Radio 2 lobby. Here we could see them meet with Jeffrey Tambor as he was preparing to leave. His PA came out to organise their car, and told us that Jeffrey wouldn’t be able to stop for us. The trouble was, that Jeffrey had other ideas. He spent ages chatting and posing with the All Saints, and then when he came out, I congratulated him on his BAFTA win, and asked for a photo. The PA was already trying to rush him along, but Jeffrey just shook his head, said he was a mean man, and happily posed for photos with me and my friend, as well as sign some DVD covers for another mate who’d turned up. I felt sorry for the PA, but soon got over that feeling.

Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor

A short while later, just after the wonderful sunshine had made way for heavy rain, the All Saints came to the door. A couple of collectors rudely pushed ahead of us, but it was okay. Due to the weather, the girls asked us to come inside, where we completed our autograph sets, and got a full group photo.

All Saints

All Saints – Melanie Blatt, Natalie Appleton, Shaznay Lewis, Nicole Appleton.

After this we sought shelter and a cuppa, before heading to the West End to start our stage door assault. We only had one plan for catching somebody arriving at a theatre. A couple of weeks ago the BBC announced that actress Pearl Mackie would be the new Doctor Who companion, and as she is currently in theatre, at the Gielgud, I wanted to get her before it became hard work.

We waited outside the stage door, hoping to catch her arrive, when surprisingly, at about 6.30pm she came OUT of the stage door to see US. It was a lovely thing for her to do, and she was so nice about it.

Pearl Mackie

Pearl Mackie

After tea, we went to the Donmar Warehouse, as it currently houses a rather short play “Elegy”, and so finishes long before the other theatres. Here I got a photo with Nina Sosanya. I’d seen her in The Vote, here at the Donmar, but hadn’t managed to get a photo at that time.

Nina Sosanya

Nina Sosanya

Next, we went to Trafalgar Studios to meet David Benson. I’d met him several times before, but I wanted him to sign my “Goodnight Sweetheart” book, as he played Noel Coward in later episodes of the sitcom. He was as charming as ever, even when two other people waiting at the stage door presented him with “The Maids” flyers to sign. Trafalgar Studios houses TWO theatres. The all-female cast of “The Maids” are in one, and David is in the other. They seemed puzzled when he declared that he wasn’t in “The Maids”.

Goodnight Sweetheart x5

Goodnight Sweetheart book signed by David Benson, Elizabeth Carling, Dervla Kirwan, Emma Amos and Christopher Ettridge.

Next we went to Jermyn Street Theatre, where a decent cast are currently in a ply. I only needed a couple of them, so I was happy to get Vicky Binns and Keith Parry.

Vicky Binns

Vicky Binns

Keith Parry

Keith Parry

That was pretty much it for me. We made our way over to the Wyndham’s / Noel Coward stage door area (they back on to one another) as my friend wanted some cast from there, and it was the only place we had time to reach. A big bonus for my friend was that Benedict Cumberbatch had been at the Wyndham’s and he was able to get a photo with him as he left the stage door.

All that was left to do was have a nice sit down, before heading to the Coach Station, and catching the coach home.

A very tiring two days, but worth every minute. I had great fun.

May 5th – Manchester

 

 

After a long tiring day yesterday all I wanted to do today was relax. But no. A while ago, I’d arranged to meet a friend in Manchester this evening, so away I went.

Obviously, if I was going all that way, it made sense to see what autographing opportunities there would be, and there certainly was. The Royal Exchange Theatre had an early evening performance of King Lear, which finished at around 8.30pm, so we arranged to meet there.

It was a bit hectic, and I missed a couple of people I wanted, mostly due to the various exits in the building, but I managed to get four that I’m happy about. One of them in particular.

First up was Thomas Coombes, recently seen on TV as Mr Edward Hyde in “Jekyll & Hyde”. We had a brief chat about Lear, and compared it to one I’d seen with Barrie Rutter in Leeds. Two quite different productions.

 

Thomas Coombes

Thomas Coombes

I’d already seen two others that I wanted, but they were in the bar area, with guests, so I left them be, whilst keeping an eye on them.

Next out of the artistes door was Harry Potter actor Alfred Enoch. I’d already met him in London for an autograph, so I just got a photo this time.

Alfred Enoch

Alfred Enoch

Very soon after this, one of the actors in the bar started getting ready to leave, and after he’d said goodbye to his guests, he headed for the door. I asked him for an autograph and he kindly obliged, then I asked if I could get a photo with him, and luckily he obliged once again. My mate also got a picture, so that was good.

He was the star of the play. No, not my mate, I mean Rising Damp and Death in Paradise actor, Don Warrington.

Don Warrington

Don Warrington

The other actor who was in the bar, was still with his guest, but the bar was starting to close so I very humbly and apologetically approached their table. Thankfully, he was just finishing off his meeting, and couldn’t have been nicer. Putting me at my ease as I continually apologised for the interruption. I hate doing that, but always judge each case individually, and never force myself onto an actor.

This was Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones actor Miltos Yerolemou.

Miltos Yerolemou

Miltos Yerolemou

After this, my friends and I left and went for a nice few drinks (cola – driving – don’t be a mug) and a jolly old catch-up.

If the M62 hadn’t been closed on my way home it would have been a perfect evening. But I got back safe and sound eventually.

May 4th 2016 – London

I had a lovely day in London yesterday. I’d already planned to see a play, so I was on to a winner from the off.
Before the matinee I met UK Eurovision hopefuls Joe & Jake. Nice lads, who deserve to do well in the contest.
Joe & Jake

Joe & Jake

The play I saw was “Mrs Henderson Presents”, at the Noel Coward Theatre, and I loved it. Proper musical numbers, witty dialogue, and plenty of nakedness. What’s not to like?
Whilst I was praising the cast, and getting my programme signed afterwards, I managed to catch Blofeld’s Guard Nari Blair Mangat, who is in the play at the Wyndham’s Theatre next-door.
Nari Blair Mangat

Nari Blair Mangat

On my way to the BBC for my second planned highlight of the day, I bumped into Carolyn Pickles on Oxford Street. Sometimes in London, you see a famous face and just let them walk on by, but if that face was employed at Sun Hill Police Station then that ain’t gonna happen. I’m very glad I stopped her too. We had a lovely chat about Bradford, and family, and other things, but not The Bill, strangely. A nice extra highlight.
Carolyn Pickles

Carolyn Pickles

On Tuesday night The One Show had announced that Ian Ogilvy would be on their show, so that was one easy decision to make. Ian was lovely. He came out of the studio saying that he’d have to be quick, because he had places to be. He then proceeded to sign autographs, pose for photos, discuss his book, and the touring play he’s directed, without a hint of being rushed. A true star, and if I may say so, a saint.
Ian Ogilvy

Ian Ogilvy

Singer Lianne La Havas was also on the show, so I said hi to her too.
Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas

That was three highlights in one day. Plenty enough for me.
Oh, go on then, one more.
It was my last chance to try and meet Hollywood actress Glenn Close, who has been in Sunset Boulevard, at the Coliseum. So, after meeting Tom Edden at the Duke of York’s theatre opposite, despite the HUGE crowds waiting for Kit Harrington, I went to the Coliseum stage door, and joined the assembled masses there. Whilst waiting for Glenn, I managed to get actor Mark Goldthorp, who’s appeared in several Sarah Jane Adventures. He was nice.
So, around 40 minutes after the show ended, the street by the stage door was full of people waiting to see Glenn Close. I was lucky to be in the enclosure near the door, but three people back from the railing. As soon as Ms Close came out, she started signing autographs at the side I was stood, so I reached my book over the shoulders of those in front (without getting in their way) and hoped for the best. I could barely see the top of Glenn’s head, but I suddenly felt pressure on my book. I held still for a moment, until the feeling passed (!), and then retrieved my book to see it had indeed been signed by this wonderful actress.
All that, and both my Megabuses arrived at their destinations on time (despite a breakdown and bus change on the way home). That was £2 well spent.

January 23rd 2015 – London

Tonight was the press night for the play, “My Night With Reg” at the Apollo Theatre, near Piccadilly Circus. This play was a transfer from the Donmar Warehouse, so I wasn’t expecting much from it, as this was technically a second press night for the play.

Well I couldn’t have been more wrong. I got there just after 6pm, the usual time for celebrities to arrive, and I was very surprised to see that I was the only autograph collector there. There was a short red carpet to the main door, with a rope barrier at either side. Behind one rope were several press photographers, and behind the other was me. I know a couple of the press guys, so I asked if I’d missed anything, and I hadn’t. Graham Norton was just arriving, so I took my position and waited.

Whilst there were no HUGE stars here tonight, there were a lot of people I liked, so I got a nice selection of autographs and photographs from them, both as they arrived and after the performance. John Partridge and Harriet Walter, were two that I just got autographs from, and the rest I got photos (and autographs where I didn’t already have them)

Christine Hamilton

Christine Hamilton

Neil Hamilton

Neil Hamilton

Clive Rowe

Clive Rowe

Samuel Barnett

Samuel Barnett

Andrew Hayden Smith

Andrew Hayden Smith

Paul Chahidi

Paul Chahidi

Michelle Collins

Michelle Collins

David Bamber

David Bamber

Michael Cashman

Michael Cashman

Amongst the other people there, were Tracy-Ann Oberman, Miranda Hart, Sarah Hadland, John Sessions, Catherine Rabett, and Adrian Lukis. In fact, Adrian had been the ‘victim’ in last night’s Death in Paradise, so I congratulated him on his corpse-acting, and he very graciously thanked me.

Whilst the performance was on, I popped up to the BBC, where they broadcast The One Show live each night. The guest was Jeremy Paxman, who I’ve met previously, so I got a photo with co-host Chris Evans just as he left the music stage outside the studio.

Chris Evans

Chris Evans

The hands around his neck are just the sound man removing his microphone, and not a critic of Mr Evans.

After this I went to the Trafalgar Studios, as they were just across the road from where the Press night after party was, and got some photos with some cast members there. the weather was now terribly wet, so it was hard to see who people were as they left the stage door, and it was far too risky to get my autograph book out. One of the plays here stars James McAvoy, and he always gets a large crowd of fans (mostly female) waiting to meet him. It was really nice to watch as he came out and signed and posed for every single person there, without any security or film star quirkiness.

I was very happy to get my pictures with three lovely ladies.

Serena Evans

Serena Evans

Kathryn Drysdale

Kathryn Drysdale

Emily Bruni

Emily Bruni

And then home. It was just a short visit, but a happy one.

January 12th 2015 – London

Before I get to my short London visit, I went to St George’s Hall in Bradford last Friday (9th January) to get a photo with a comedian, and get another one to sign a book of his. “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” tour was in town, and I’ve already met the six members of the current team; Sandi Toksvig, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Colin Sell, Jeremy Hardy and Tim Brooke-Taylor. For some reason I’d never got a photo with Jeremy before, and I’d just bought Tim’s cricketing book in a charity shop for 50p.

Jeremy Hardy

Jeremy Hardy

Tim Brooke-Taylor 6

Sandi Toksvig October 9th 2012 Kings Hall, Ilkley

Sandi Toksvig
October 9th 2012
Kings Hall, Ilkley

Graeme Garden October 10th 2013 St George's Hall, Bradford

Graeme Garden
October 10th 2013
St George’s Hall, Bradford

Barry Cryer June 17th 2014 St George's Hall, Bradford

Barry Cryer
June 17th 2014
St George’s Hall, Bradford

Colin Sell June 17th 2014 St George's Hall, Bradford

Colin Sell
June 17th 2014
St George’s Hall, Bradford

Tim Brooke-Taylor June 17th 2014 St George's Hall, Bradford

Tim Brooke-Taylor
June 17th 2014
St George’s Hall, Bradford

So, onto London. I only left Leeds at 12.30pm, and after a slight delay on the coach trip, I arrived into a very rainy West End just in time for the arrivals at the Playhouse Theatre press night. The play is a version of “Women on the Berge of a Nervous Breakdown” by Pedro Almodovar. He was there, as were a few of the usual faces that attend a lot of these things. Nobody really stood out, apart from Nigel Harman’s partner, who’s name I couldn’t recall. It was too rainy to get autographs anyway, so I made a mental note to identify her and get her after the play ended.
After getting nothing there, I went to BAFTA on Piccadilly, where a new TV show was being previewed. Sadly, I had to get back to the press night before most of the party here came out, but I did manage to get a photo with Mark Bonnar, for my Dr Who collection.

Mark Bonnar

Mark Bonnar

Back at the theatre I got an autograph from Pedro, and from the lovely Lucy Liemann, as well as a photograph. Thankfully I remembered her name. She was happy to sign, whilst everybody else mobbed Nigel.

Lucy Liemann

Lucy Liemann

Due to the rain, which showed no signs of stopping, the obvious choice of stage door to get anybody leaving from was the nicely covered National Theatre, which was very nearby too.
There were a few I wanted from the Olivier cast, but not all of them came out of that door while I was there. I was very happy to get two new ones for my The Bill collection, and another photo for my Dr Who.

Pal Aron

Pal Aron

Thusitha Jayasundera

Thusitha Jayasundera

Chook Sibtain

Chook Sibtain

Pal Aron readily agreed with me about the unjust axing of The Bill. He still sees the likes of Simon Rouse, and was so angry that many of his friends were just thrown out of a job with very little warning, and no real reason.

The star of the play is Meera Syal, and when she left, actress Susan Brown was with her. I’d very recently watched all four seasons of Game of Thrones, as Sky Atlantic showed the 40 episodes over 12 days at Christmas, and while some other people were getting pictures with Meera, I went over to Susan and told her how wonderful it had been to see her in that TV programme.
“Hello Susan. I’ve just watched all four seasons…. blah blah blah (like what I’ve just written already). It was so lovely to see you in that……. even when they chopped your head off.”
She laughed, “Oh goodness me, yes. Sticking my head on a pole like that.”
“It was shocking. That’s no way for them to behave.”
She is such a nice lady, and I was disappointed to find out that on this very night, they’d killed her off in Broadchurch as well. Although perhaps not as brutally.

Susan Brown May 21st 2014 Noel Coward Theatre, London

Susan Brown
May 21st 2014
Noel Coward Theatre, London

And that was it. A short and sweet visit to London. It was worth it just for the Pedro Almodovar autograph, but it was lovely seeing old friends again, both famous and not.

January 6th 2015 – New Year, new commitment to keep up with the blog.

I know…… I’ve been very remiss in my blogging for the past few months, but I’m here now, so I’ll start again and hopefully catch up over time.

I set off for London bright (or rather dark) and early from Bradford on the ever-wonderful Megabus, arriving at Victoria Coach Station at about 10.30am. There were a couple of non-West End venues that I specifically wanted to visit, and both had matinee performances. The first one, “Cinderella” in Wimbledon, started at 1.30pm, and the other was “Beauty and the Beast” in Windsor, starting at 1pm. So careful planning was required. Ideally I could get one cast arriving, and the other cast after the matinee, although there is no guarantee that cast members will leave the theatre between shows.

As Wimbledon was the nearest, it made sense to do that one first, and I arrived there at about 11.20. A couple of other collectors were there, so we had a New Year catch up and waited for the cast.

Cinderella

Cinderella

As I already have autographs and pictures with Wayne Sleep and Matthew Kelly, I was here today for Dallas star Linda Gray, and comedian Tim Vine. I’d met Tim before and he’d signed his DVD for me, but I wanted him in my autograph book, seeing as I was here already.

Wayne Sleep - March 18th 2014 Gielgud Theatre, London

Wayne Sleep – March 18th 2014
Gielgud Theatre, London

Matthew Kelly - June 20th 2012 Bradford Alhambra Theatre

Matthew Kelly – June 20th 2012
Bradford Alhambra Theatre

At about 11.45, Linda Grey’s car pulled up and I greeted her with a “Happy New Year”. She smiled back and returned the greeting. She was absolutely lovely. She signed my autograph book, and 3 pictures each for the others. Unfortunately, she had no make-up on, and so didn’t want to pose for any photos, but I was more than happy to have met her.

Very fortunately, the rain that had been threatening to come had stayed away until after Linda had entered the theatre, but then it started to get a bit drizzly. We saw Tim Vine go into the main foyer of the theatre, but assumed he was just picking something up before coming to the stage door. Thankfully, when somebody else arrived at the stage door, we could see him inside, and so I called out his name. He was more than happy to pop out for a minute and sign for us. I complimented him on his brief, but very welcome, return to the final episode of Not Going Out, and he grateful for the praise.

Tim Vine

Tim Vine

Luckily the rain wasn’t yet too bad, so I walked back to the train station and started my journey to Windsor. I was happy that from Victoria to Wimbledon, and then to Windsor is quite a straightforward route. The District Line takes you from Victoria to Wimbledon, then back to Earl’s Court, where the west bound Distict Line (it splits here) takes you to Ealing Broadway, and the National Railway takes you to Windsor, changing at Slough.

The Slough to Windsor railway has always amused me. It’s one track, with no stops between the two stations. It serves only to go backwards and forwards from Slough to Windsor to Slough to Windsor to Slough to Windsor, over and over again, all day. How it was ten minutes late today, I can’t begin to imagine !!!

Anyway, I got to Windsor at about 2.30pm, and had a spot of lunch in the McRestaurant opposite the castle. I’d left all the rain back in Wimbledon, and it was a lovely sunny day now. A lot of Carry On film locations are in Windsor, and it was nice to see these again, as I haven’t been here for several years. I remembered that several friends and I were among the first ever guests at the Travelodge here. I think they soon regretted having a 24 hour bar.
Windsor 1

Windsor 2

Windsor 3

Windsor 4

My main reason for this whole trip to London was to catch one cast member from Beauty and the Beast here in Windsor. Everything else would be a bonus, so here was the moment of truth. Will she come out after the matinee? Will she pose for a photograph? Will she be nice? Will she even be here?

YES……. to all four questions.

Sally Geeson, from Bless This House and two Carry On films (Girls and Abroad), came out of the theatre for just 5 minutes to pop to the shop. I have met her twice before, but never got a photo with her….. until now. She is so lovely. People I’d met earlier in the day had mentioned that she’d refused pictures due to her stage make-up and hair, but not this time. After a little brush with her hand, she was happy with how she looked. As was I.

Sally Geeson

Sally Geeson

Also in the cast was Harry Potter actress Georgina Leonidas, who came out shortly after Sally, and was just as friendly. In fact, while I was talking with her, Sally returned to the theatre and said how happy she was that I’d got to meet Georgina too.

Georgina Leonidas

Georgina Leonidas

Then it was back to London for my next scheduled stop. Last month I’d been for the cast of the play “Hope” at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square. I got most of them, but not Tommy Smith, star of The Sarah Jane Adventures on BBCTV. As the play finished this Saturday, I thought I’d try and get him arriving for the evening performance.

Nisha Nayar and Sharon Duncan-Brewster -  December 4th 2014 Royal Court Theatre, London

Nisha Nayar and Sharon Duncan-Brewster –
December 4th 2014
Royal Court Theatre, London

Rudi Dharmalingam -  December 4th 2014 Royal Court Theatre, London

Rudi Dharmalingam –
December 4th 2014
Royal Court Theatre, London

Stella Gonet  -  December 4th 2014 Royal Court Theatre, London

Stella Gonet –
December 4th 2014
Royal Court Theatre, London

Now, I had heard that he arrives at the very last minute, but that wouldn’t suit my plan, so I had to hope that wasn’t his regular routine. Whilst I appreciate information from other people, I do have to remind myself that people’s habits can change daily, whether they are famous or not. It’s human nature. I was there at about 5.30pm, with the play starting at 7.45. Much earlier than I would normally be, but there was nowhere else to be, so I just had to wait. My next call was near Oxford Circus (two tube train rides), at about 7.30pm, so I had to leave here by 7 at the latest.

While I waiting there I spotted Maxine Peake and some other actresses that I recognised, one of whom was Christine Bottomley, I later discovered. It turns out that they are at the Royal Court next month, so I shall have to come back at some point.

It was fast approaching 6.45, and it was rather chilly, so I was on the verge of leaving when I was very pleased to see Tommy arriving. I called his name and he removed his headphones to answer me. He is such a nice guy. I told him how much I liked the Sarah Jane Adventures, and I said “it’s much better than Torchwood”. He was over the moon with that. “Oh, that’s brilliant. Thank you so much. That’s the greatest thing I could hear.” We agreed that Sarah Jane Adventures is so much more like Doctor Who than Torchwood ever was, and it was a perfect spinoff series. I took a moment to say how terrible it was that Liz Sladen had passed away. He was so pleased that he’d got to know her, and was very happy to have worked with her. I parted with him, saying “She left a wonderful legacy….. and you are part of that.” He smiled back at me, repeating “I am a part of that…. Thank you.”

Tommy Knight

Tommy Knight

It was now 6.50pm, so I had plenty of time to get to the BBC Broadcasting House, where they do the One Show, which finishes at 7.30. I normally catch the buses in London, because of the daily price cap. It’s about £3 cheaper than the price cap for using the Tube and buses, but since I’d had to already use the Tube for Wimbledon and Windsor, that wasn’t an issue, and meant I got there in plenty of time.

Two cast members from Death in Paradise were on the One Show; Kris Marshall, who I’d met once before and got an autograph from, and Sara Martins, who I’d never met.

They both came out together and were very charming and friendly with the four people waiting to meet them.

Kris Marshall

Kris Marshall

Sara Martins

Sara Martins

Amazingly, I’d successfully complete the first four tasks on my list, and there were only two more to go.

The Tristan Bates Theatre is a tiny venue just off Shaftesbury Avenue, and the lastest play there is being directed by former comedy actor Robert Gillespie. It was having just one preview night, which was tonight, before officially opening tomorrow, on the 7th of January. As a director of a play doesn’t necessarily have any input after the opening night (I know some do, but there’s no guarantee of that) then tonight was my only chance to hopefully meet him.
The play was due to end at about 9.30pm, which meant I could also fit in a theatre before the end of the night. I hadn’t selected which one yet. That would depend on how late Robert showed his face.
At just about 10pm, I saw Robert Gillespie greet a friend in the foyer, so I moved nearer to the building so that I was ready to catch him whichever way he went after his chat. It was still very chilly. So, when the conversation was seemingly coming to an end, I went inside, and waited a couple more minutes. He finished his chat, and I approached him. I pointed out that I will be seeing the play, a double bill of Bernard Shaw plays, later in the month but I really wanted to meet him so I’d had to come today, for the reason I mentioned before. He was very nice, and happily signed an autograph for me.

Robert Gillespie

Robert Gillespie

As it was now 10.05, and was right near Cambridge Circus, I decided that the Donmar Warehouse was perfect for my last call.
Here I got five autographs, and three photos. Katherine Kelly was so sorry not to do a picture, but she had conjunctivitis. She was really nice though, and very friendly…. and I didn’t ask Nick Cavaliere for a photo.
The other three were lovely too. Mark Penfold, from Wire in the Blood was shocked that I wanted a photo with him, but cheerfully obliged. I had met Rosalie Craig before, when she was in Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh in Manchester a couple of years ago, and she was pleased to remember that time. The male star of the play, Hadley Fraser, also obliged with an autograph and photo, and then he and Rosalie exchanged Happy New Year’s with me before they left.

Mark Penfold

Mark Penfold

Rosalie Craig

Rosalie Craig

Hadley Fraser

Hadley Fraser

It was a great day, and a great start to the New Year. I’d have been happy just to meet Sally Geeson again, so I’m extremely pleased to have met so many more people as well.

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As I haven’t been blogging for a few months, here is a video of all the people I got photos with during 2014. There’s no soundtrack, so feel free to play your own music as you watch. Thank you.

September 6th 2014 – A Quick catch-up

 

Hi. Sorry I haven’t blogged anything for a little while. My previous computer packed up, and by the time I’d replaced it, and got it back to how it should be, I kind of forgot what I was doing.

 

I appreciate people reading my blogs, and I promise to do some writing this week and get everything up to date.

 

 

Thank you.

June 20th (& 12th) – Leeds

As tomorrow is the last day of Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, I decided to go along there tonight and try to meet the cast. There were also a couple from the other play, Betty Blue Eyes, who I hadn’t met yet, and I knew that a mate would be there too, so I’d be in good company.
I arrived nice and early, and had a catch up with my mate. We decided to loiter near the top of the steps that go from the foyer to the bar. This is because the the cast from the Courtyard Theatre can leave by either the backstage door or the auditorium door, and this spot gives good cover for both.
Sure enough the main star, Reece Dinsdale, left through the auditorium, but went straight to the bar to meet friends. He said he’d be with us shortly as he just had to see to his party who didn’t know one another.
While we waited we got actor Simon Roberts, and then Reece came to us, signed our books and posed for pictures. He was very apologetic about being so rushed, but it was really nice of him to be so thoughtful for us as well as for his friends.

Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts

Reece Dinsdale

Reece Dinsdale

Next out was the lovely Kate Anthony, who spoke about her role in Coronation Street as she signed my friend’s multi-signed Corrie book.

Kate Anthony

Kate Anthony

We’d seen one of the other actors sat with his friend, so we politely waited for him. While we did that Marjorie Yates, whose autograph I got last week, went to the bar with her friend. We decided to try and get a photo with her before she got served. She happily obliged.

Marjorie Yates

Marjorie Yates

By now, Betty Blue Eyes had finished. I got two of the actors last week, Adam C Booth and Haydn Oakley, but there was a couple more that I wanted. Amy Booth-Steel was lovely, and Sally Mates was even lovelier.

Adam C Booth June 12th 2014 West Yorkshire Playhouse

Adam C Booth
June 12th 2014
West Yorkshire Playhouse

Amy Booth-Steel

Amy Booth-Steel

In fact, Sally asked me to follow her outside before she could sign for me, as she thought her taxi had gone without her. So we had a chat about the play as she rummaged in her bag for her phone to call the cab company. As she did this the cab arrived, so she asked it to wait a minute while she sorted me out.

Sally Mates

Sally Mates

When I got back inside, I didn’t have to wait too long before John Arthur finished his drink and started to leave. He very kindly stopped to oblige us, before dashing off.

John Arthur

John Arthur

It’s unusual to get a full house from two plays on the same night, but it’s nice when it happens.

June 17th – Bradford

Tonight at St George’s Hall in Bradford, the team from I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue were recording the final two editions for the next series of their radio show. Tickets sold out within an hour of going on sale, but yesterday I saw they’d released the restricted view seats, so I got myself one of those. My thinking was, as it’s a radio show recording, a restricted “view” is perfectly acceptable.
As it was, my view was hardly restricted at all, and I had a fantastic time listening to the masters at work.
The line up tonight was the usual, Jack Dee chairing, Colin Sell at the piano, producer Jon Naismith, and the teams of Graeme Garden & Barry Cryer, and Tim Brooke-Taylor with guest panellist Andy Hamilton.
I have already met all these guys before, but I had one of Barry’s books to get signed and I wanted photos with Barry, Colin and Tim. I’d already got photos with Graeme, Andy and Jack, so I didn’t need to bother them again.
Thankfully, I got Barry out of the way as he arrived at the theatre, and then got the other two as they left, after spending three delightful hours in their company.

Barry Cryer

Barry Cryer

Colin Sell

Colin Sell

Tim Brooke-Taylor

Tim Brooke-Taylor

Andy Hamilton Oxford Street, London March 18th 2013

Andy Hamilton
Oxford Street, London
March 18th 2013

Jack Dee Leeds Grand Theatre June 6th 2013

Jack Dee
Leeds Grand Theatre
June 6th 2013

Graeme Garden St George's Hall, Bradford October 10th 2013

Graeme Garden
St George’s Hall, Bradford
October 10th 2013

I love ‘Clue’ and one of my prized possessions is a copy of The Almost Totally Complete ISIHAC book which I got signed by the team in April 2008, at the Lowry in Salford, just a couple of weeks before Humph sadly passed away.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Humphrey Lyttelton Colin Sell and Tim Brooke-Taylor

I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue
Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Humphrey Lyttelton
Colin Sell and Tim Brooke-Taylor

For anyone interested, the broadcast dates for the Bradford shows are at the end of July and the beginning of August. Check the Radio Times* for details.

(*other listings magazines are available….. and a damn sight cheaper)