Growing up I was DEFINITELY going to be an actor, but only after following my older brother into Lacrosse (as a Goalie, to guarantee a game), and having solid rubber balls purposely hurled at me in the rain every weekend had lost lustre. I attended a Saturday Morning “Drama School” at The Club Theatre in Altrincham, South Manchester. We were a mixed group of of 10 to 16-year-olds, split into Junior and Senior groups under the strict but loving tutelage of the ever raven-haired, although progressively frail, Vicky Lane. Mrs Lane lovingly moulded our unfocused gaggle of young attention seekers into relatively disciplined actors for two annual performances that even got a mention in the Sale & Altrincham Messenger!
It was during my tenure at the Club Theatre I developed the biggest friendship of my life (Alex), with whom I formed my first band, and my Theatre acting career peaked and rescinded. One year, for our summer performances I was cast into the supporting lead in the junior group for a performance of a play with a title that had something to do with a Woodcutter and maybe a Fairy King, played by Alex. I played an elderly Germanic fool, but completely failed to learn my lines and was prompted through the entire thing in front a very, VERY patient audience. For the Senior performance, the same evening, I starred in “The Boy Dudgeon” (by Ray Jenkins) in the eponymous title role as a damaged teen, jailed for coshing an old woman to death to steal her handbag. It was an intense undertaking for a 15-year-old, peaking with me smashing a glass ashtray onstage, and trying not to blind the front row, regardless of how grateful that may have made them, but it was quite good, and I even learned all my lines! My Mum didn’t like me very much when I was rehearsing because my attempt at ‘method acting’ made me a bit weird and uncharacteristically menacing.
The peak of my Screen acting career came a bit earlier when I was 14 on BBC kids’ show “Why Don’t You?”, a show about a group of children inexplicably living without adult supervision, making stuff, and presenting that stuff to camera. I think I mostly got the gig because of my braced buckteeth and the ridiculous nasal drone of my voice as some sort of diversity trade-off. With all 15 shows of our series shot over 6 months, and screened daily across 3 weeks, if you listened carefully you could maybe hear my front teeth slamming together as the days passed.
At 18 I “helped” “launch” the career of British bombshell Alex Kingston into the stratosphere. After much encouragement from my Mother I booked a day as an extra for the ITV period dramatisation of “Moll Flanders”. My scenes were set in Newgate Prison, and I was i the mix as miscellaneous gen-pop. My glittering performance, with a dirty face, rice in my long hair for lice, and blackened braced teeth, involved a variety of activities. My performance embraced simulated sex on a staircase, as my co-copulant’s real-life boyfriend was chained to a wall nearby, and that of a blurry face in the back of shot as Moll was birthed into her life of crime, vice, and survival.
The pinnacle of my day came as Moll was lead into Newgate for the first time and brought to a halt in front of me as she was scolded for her immoral ways by an individual of prison authority. My job at that moment was to make sweet hand love to Ms Kingston’s heaving, ample bosom, over the clothes, of course, I was always a consummate professional. I can only assume, despite the apology-laden introduction to my ‘fondlee’, which she took very well, the sexual chemistry of my digital booby touching was too much for the terrestrial television standards of the time. For the entire duration of the fondlage (barring the approach, and recession, of my nose into, and out of frame) the editor clearly thought it was better for the viewer to watch a writhing pile of rats in the corner! As I say, I strongly suspect the pure sensual allure of my performance to have subverted the rating of the overall show to something more specialist; typically masked by a modesty curtain. It might have had something to do with my braces showing and throwing out the whole pre-orthodontic technology era, but I’m sticking to my story. The fact that the very next year Ms Kingston was in ER, within twelve months of being subjected to my magical touch is no coincidence, I made that happen, with my saucy touch!
She never did call.