Okay, so I slightly failed at posting again within a week. But it's been 8 days, which I have now dubbed a 'Beatles week' (1000 internets to you if you know why!)
My Dad mentioned that he was blogging about his contribution to the BBC Films-produced TV series, Murder Rooms. It was created by David Pirie, and my Dad wrote the episode entitled The Kingdom of Bones - see his blog post on the subject here.
The show was a beautifully-shot exploration of Conan Doyle's earlier years with his mentor, Dr Joseph Bell. Charles Edwards and Ian Richardson starred, and they brought an interesting and warm portrayal of the relationship that probably inspired the Holmes and Watson dynamic in Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes material. It had the benefit of lush BBC Films production values, despite being made for television broadcast.
So, you may be asking yourself while pouring another large bucket of gin, why the hell is Ellen wittering on about this too since her Dad's already done it? Well, I was lucky enough to bag a small acting role in the episode, and I thought I'd share a few memories of the experience...
I was a teenager. My character was Annie, a grubby little scamp who was the daughter of a travelling circus owner and showman played excellently by Warwick Davies. I remember that Warwick was lovely; to the extent that he didn't punch me in the face on the one highly embarrassing occasion that I forgot my ONE LINE during rehearsal. (The line was two words; 'Yes, Dad!' - I still vaguely want to punch myself in the face for forgetting it!)
'Annie' and her little sister also got to sing a weird little song about a 'brokenhearted milkman' for Conan Doyle, as payment for their father's haemorrhoid treatment. Yup, hers was a glamorous life indeed!
To accurately portray a grubby little urchin (NO IT DID NOT COME NATURALLY!) I was ordered to refrain from washing my hair for the duration of filming. This horrified me, as I go borderline-psychotic if I feel that my hair might be remotely unclean. But (rampant line-forgetting aside) I was determined to be a pro, so grinned and bore it. I had taken a brief hiatus from dyeing the hair a variety of violent shades of red, so it was actually an acceptable-for-Victoriana brownish colour at that time.
I was taken for a costume-fitting in an enormous, awesome warehouse somewhere near the offices of the Henson creature workshop in London, and subjected to a vicious but highly authentic Victorian corset. I spent the majority of my 'down-time' on set leaning like an awkward, greasy ironing board against various doorways, trying to find a way to get comfortable in this instrument of torture. As is the norm on location, it was constantly bloody freezing even indoors, so I was forced to ignore the fact that I didn't like to drink tea and guzzled several litres of the stuff to keep warm. This presented the additional problem of figuring out how to navigate the act of toiletting while dressed in a wire cage/corset, several million petticoats and some giant bloomers (they're very thorough, these professional costumiers). Suffice it to say, I pretty much had to throw everything over my head and hope for the best. Yaay showbiz!
Despite all of this, I had a bloody fantastic time. I shall do some more remembering and blog further on this subject very soon...