Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Who needs Hollywood?

I like to tell people I went to school at Hogwarts. It’s not actually very far from the truth – my Latin room was but a stone’s throw from the cinematic version. Sometimes, my mind wandering from Caecilius or Pliny, I would gaze through the glass and see a Roman soldier walking up the road. I’d blink and shake my head, then reality would return. Obviously, someone was filming at the castle again.

I met my first famous person standing in front of the castle. At the time, I had no idea who Brian Blessed was. To me, he was great bear of a man wearing a crown. I knew who Rowan Atkinson was, though; I’d seen him on Not the Nine O’ Clock News. The filming of The Black Adder added further texture to my first term at high school.

The following summer, it was the turn of Robin of Sherwood. Michael Praed gave me his autograph: he wrote like a girl. But that was the only girlie thing about him; he made my teenage hormones quite giddy. Shortly afterwards, he decamped to Dynasty and I knew I’d been in the presence of greatness.

Northumberland’s castles have starred in numerous films and TV dramas. Alnwick also made an appearance in Disney’s The Spaceman and King Arthur when I was small, and more recently, featured in Elizabeth. Bamburgh – my favourite castle – was also a location in Elizabeth.

The county’s cinematic successes are nothing new: when my mum was young, they filmed Beckett at Bamburgh. It starred Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton. Elizabeth Taylor was there with Burton and she gave Mum her autograph. Burton, however, refused because he was “busy”. I have never liked the man.

Our Friends in the North was shown when I was living in Norfolk. It made me dreadfully homesick. Daniel Craig played the drunken bum Geordie; unfortunately that means that, tight swimming trunks or not, I can never consider him to be a sex symbol.

23 comments:

Lizzie said...

Careful, now, M&M, you don't want to go fuelling too many fantasies....

Drunk Mummy said...

Too late.....The mention of Michael Praed has sent me back to adolescence. I think he was the utimate young girl's "non threatening male" fantasy figure - all brooding good looks, and not too much facial hair.

Anonymous said...

Was he the one bouncing around with that blonde girl in a 'telly tec' drama in London ? Or was that some American bloke ?

Anonymous said...

Richard Burton 'busy' ? In his defence can I say that all Welshman are grumpy - don't take it personally any more than you would a dog barking at you. It's just how we are..

But do make sure you catch 'Venus' with Peter O'Toole - I agree we could happily live without Hollywood if all films were up to that great standard.

The Grocer said...

My first and last celeb autographs, John le Mesurier and Kenneth More lunching at the Anglers Arms Weldon Bridge about 1977 whilst making The Spaceman & King Arthur. They still do a good lunch at The Anglers Arms.

Anonymous said...

More fame for Northumberland..

http://travel.guardian.co.uk/article/2007/may/02/top10.walkingholidays

Let us hope there aren't too many grockles up there this weekend..

Mopsa said...

Ooooh. Autographs. Spike Milligan's was the best I've ever seen - more curlicues than an wrought iron gate in Wilmslow.

Brom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brom said...

Anon: Not all Welshmen are grumpy! It really get's me mad when people say that about us. Even if you are one of us. Now I'm really wound up.

An interesting post all round... as usual Mutterings.

Also interesting that I got an email from an American colleague today with a very obvious reference to that fact that I wear so called "Speedos" when I'm over that side of the pond when apparently it's not the done thing.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Do you say Grockles up north too? (anon 1725) We used to say it down south in Torquay...

The Secretary said...

Daniel Craig not a sex symbol ........you take that back right now!

ziggi said...

the chap who played one of the endless detectives (not morse or frost) biggish chap . . .???

Heck . . .

Wexford! That's the chap. (just call me George)

He lives in the next village and in 'our' pub!

ziggi said...

allegedly!

st said...

You chose the classic castle. Yet there are many, equally as stunning in Northumberland.But it's the best on the coast.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

Spot in about Daniel Craig, M&M! I always think of him as Geordie and cannot therefore see him as sexy at all. I'm pleased I'm not the only one.

As a child we holidayed in Northumberland several times. It is beautiful, no doubt about it. The white beaches with a (rare) hot sun beating down on them are reminiscent of the Caribbean and Bamburgh Castle is the sort of castle where all my dreams took place as a child. Enchanting and enchanted.

The only thing I disliked about Northumberland was the smell of Hexham Cattle Market. It gave me a headache, just too much pooh.

dulwichmum said...

I am with the secretary on this - Daniel Craig is totally yummy! I remember Michael Praed and his flicky hair like it was yesterday - ahhh Robin, and then he did Dynasty, and was a prince of somewhere and rather girly I remember. Thanks for that - it took me right back...

Anonymous said...

brom - you may be right, maybe it is just my family that are grumpy..

Grockles is a southern word, but I feel it is such a good one that it deserves wider usage. There is a Welsh version - Saeson.

Never followed Dynasty I'm afraid, but caught up when Joan Collins was touring her one woman show - I don't know what she's on, but I sure as heck need some of it. Still going strong {I won't tell you her age - you can look it up if you want, and be as shocked as I was] but she has recently married a 40 something chappie...

Something about being as old as the man that you feel - and she can do the splits as well. Go girl, go !

mutterings and meanderings said...

Lizzie, Drunk Mummy & Dulwich Mummy, I had myself forgotten about the divine Mr Praed until I started thinking about this post. He really was rather yummy ..

Anon, I think you mean the bloke from Dempsey & Makepiece - he was an American actor who was married to the Glynis Barber woman in real life.

And I cannot forgive Mr Burton for being nasty to my Mum. We are like the Mafia - upset one of us, you upset all of us ...

Grocer, I have never been to Weldon Bridge.

Mopsa, I have a pretty curly signature myself - wonder if I'll ever be sufficiently famous to be asked for an autograph ..

Thankyou Brom, now don't fight with Anon. We want a nice, friendly comments box! You'll have to publish a piccie of yourself in your speedos...

Pig, my mate and I used to call them that in the 80s - I understood it was a Cornish word? I won't tell you what I call them now ...

Secretary - no, no, no, in the manner of Amy Winehouse...

Ziggi, I bet you have a low crime rate!

St, it's my local... and the best in the world as far as I'm concerned...

IBM, thankyou! At last, someone else talking sense about Mr Craig...

Dulwich Mum ... see comment to the secretary re: Daniel Craig!!

Anon, I hate to ruin your fantasies but it's down to lighting, wigs and piles of foundation (allegedly) ...

dulwichmum said...

Dear Anonymous,

I sat at the next table to Joan Collins at Caprice once, and I must say she looked amazing! She wore more make-up than a drag artist, an obvious wig, and I kid you not - one of those traditional (like your grandma wore) 18 hour girdle thingies - the straps were obvious. She dresses for the camera. Good for her - she looks great in magazines, but up close she looks like a drag queen.

Gill said...

Touroids was what we used to call those buses of sightseers when I was young.

mountainear said...

The village we lived in for a while in Oxfordshire had a bit of 'star quality'itself, being chocolate box pretty and unlike Joan Collins didn't need to rely on artifice to be so damned attractive.

It was so damned attractive that coach loads of American tourists passed through on their circuit of Stratford, Oxford and London. (This was in the days when they could a) afford the UK and b) weren't afraid to come to somewhere so close to the Middle East) On one memorable occasion the bus actually stopped and the coach party alighted on the village green. As the passengers left the coach the driver handed each a bread roll so they could feed the half dozen ducks that lived on the village pond.

We local yokels gawped in amazement. The ducks were eaten by a fox shortly afterwards.

Anonymous said...

mountainear - It wasn't Watlington was it - I seem to recall it being featured in one of those Ealing films.

dulwich - I shall be having sleepless nights now worrying about that poor hubby of Joan Collins and the shock he gets when he gets home to her of an evening...

mountainear said...

Anonymous: No, not Watlington - Wroxton St Mary, just outside Banbury. There was the UK campus of N. Jersey's Fairleigh Dickenson University in the village too (as well as a duck pond!!). The students spiced up life for us in more ways than one but none-the-less we called it Fairly Ridiculous University and thought we Brits definately had the intellectual and moral high ground. Still do actually.

Apologies M&M for going off at a tangent.