A Routine Reward

I don't think I could ever cope with going into an office and doing the same job day after day. Getting the same train every morning, having the same start time, the same finish time, and working with the same people every day. I admire people who do that. I have to say that I am sometimes jealous of the security it brings. Just as when one is visiting a foreign clime on holiday, there is a certain comfortable familiarity about going somewhere you been before. 
We've just come back from a beautiful week away in Turkey to a place we last visited ten years ago. We expected it to have changed and indeed it had. And yet there was enough familiarity for us to feel immediately welcomed. To surround us with a little bit of a comfort blanket from which to explore what was different for better or worse. 
Sometimes our working lives change. Things that we rely on disappear and we’re forced to accept new circumstances. Just as in our work in the rehearsal room, change is nearly always for …

Early to Rise

On mornings when I’m filming, early starts are almost de rigeur. You wait in the previous night to receive a text message from the second assistant director as to what time your car, or as is increasingly likely these days your shared transport, will be arriving. You take a moment or two to marvel at whose decision it is that it will take over 75 minutes to get from where you live in south-east London to Wimbledon at 6 AM and you set your alarm for an early start.
On other days, I don’t see those hours in the morning. Yet often they are hours when I might have woken and be lying in bed trying to snatch an additional sixty minutes of shuteye.
Given the change in my domestic arrangements of late, I have at least three mornings each week when I wake at home alone. There is no reason then for me to go back to bed should I stir during these early hours.
In fact one morning a couple of weeks ago I did go straight into the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea at 6:30 AM and without turnin…

A Name on the Box

I remember with huge excitement first time I was going to be on the television.  My appearance on the box of dreams in the corner of the living room  as a 14 year old boy was when I won a competition on the children's television programme Magpie (the ITV version of Blue Peter) to interview Diana Rigg. I had submitted three questions I would like to ask her, and so accompanied by my mother, a day out to the studio involved an early morning train from Rotherham, a chauffeur driven car from St Pancras to the Thames television  Studios in Teddington. a casual meeting with the renowned Edward Woodward (then very famous as Callan) in the canteen, a new purple shirt specially bought for the occasion from Sexy Rexy's in Rotherham, and an appearance on live television interviewing Diana Rigg.

This was before the age of the video recorder so I've never really had the chance to see it. It made the headlines, well the third page of the Sheffield Star anyway, in that time ran out befor…

A Change is as good as a rest.

I'm having a much busier year than I suspected as looking at the date of the last post in my blog, I find it's over a month ago. It's good to know. We are often busier than we feel and yet, in a week which has consisted of delicious catch up lunches, a boys evening out   and a trip to the theatre, leisure has held the upper hand for the last seven days.

"A change is as good as a rest"- one of those phrases I can hear ringing out in the Yorkshire tones of my mother. Working as a shopkeeper in Thrybergh, Rotherham, in the two shops my parents had attached to our house, my mother had little chance for a rest. Yet she was rather good at making sure variety was the spice of her life. Different interests, and never one to settle into a routine.

2018 has brought changes to my life. Adding another notch to the birthday stick earlier this month, I well know one just shouldn't carry on doing what one does for the sake of it. My wonderful partner became a leading direct…

Hope and Glory

Sometimes Christmas comes early. It certainly did at the end of last year for me. I was asked to be Patron of the remarkable Hope Theatre in Islington. Evidently, according to the dictionary, patronage is a gift I give, but on this occasion, I feel I am definitely the lucky recipient.
Sometimes one uses a word without a full understanding of its meaning. Obsequious is one that comes to mind. Checking the definition of patron, it’s not one who patronises. That means talk down to you, but I’ll assume you know that. Something I would hope I’m never guilty of in this column, but probably am in life.
Evidently patronage is something one bestows. Sadly, the Claytons of South Yorkshire have no coat of arms, so the Hope won’t be getting a thespian rampant over its doors just yet. But what should it receive as a result of its generous offer for me to be its patron?
Support, in all forms that I can manage. Patrons mercifully are not expected to write a blank cheque, but they should be visible figu…

Small Steps

So here it is once again - 1st January. You got through last night. You dealt with the feelings of regret and omission. You've replaced them with thoughts of hope and achievement. I can't remember a first day of January that actually did dawn bright and clear, so here in the grey overcast light of south-east London, it's not difficult to look at the enormity of what lies ahead, known to the world as 2018, and not feel a little daunted.

Aficionados of Gilbert and Sullivan will know that Koko, the Lord High Executioner in "The Mikado" was well known for saying that he had a little list. His list consisted of people he rather thought should be approaching the executioner's block. Even I think that might be a little too radical for the morning of January 1st, so I'm sat here doing a little list of tasks I will achieve in this first week. Nothing too ambitious, nothing too adventurous, just a list of small jobs so that as from tomorrow, the first working day …

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

It's that time of year when one is talking "last job before Christmas" and work seems to lack importance in comparison to arranging Amazon deliveries and working out things to tell your family when they ask "Why are you not in East Enders as yet?" Many of this years drama graduates will do more acting in the Christmas season during the family game of charades than they have yet managed professionally.

Yet because the mind is occupied with other things, everything seems a little easier. Put it bluntly. If you are not working now, there is probably little hope that you will until mid January. Castings are getting a little thin on the ground, and the only reason you'll be called in for anything is for projects being planned for the New Year. If you're not out there sprinkling your fairy dust over the regions, then you are coping with the hustle and bustle of prepping for Christmas.

Funny how once the mind is full of things to do, the lack of work can seem …