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I could not stomach a stranger’s remark
1:00pm Sunday 15th July 2012 in Look Who's Talking
If you are in the public eye, it is undoubtedly true that you can be perfectly pleasant most of the time but if you let things wind you up for a brief instant, that is the moment that will be remembered forever by those present.
So I always take with a grain of healthy scepticism any rumours of a particular actor’s unpleasantness as I have found that most of the time that they are not as bad as their reputation would suggest. There are exceptions, as in any walk of life, and some people simply struggle to acknowledge that we may not want to grovel at their feet or accede to their every whim. And their names I will save for my autobiography should I ever write one.
I was intrigued to read last week the reminiscences of the recently retired Wimbledon racket stringer (there’s a wonderful job for the panellists to unravel on the old ‘What’s My Line’ TV show of the 50s and 60s – remember the wonderfully irascible Gilbert Harding?). I was, I admit, unsurprised to learn that the Williams sisters were the only tennis stars who, when asked to sign a charity fundraising item, declined to do so, saying they were ‘too busy.’ It reminded me of the time I encountered a tearful and very well known BBC newsreader who had just been unceremoniously dispatched with two brief words by Katherine Hepburn, when she asked for her to sign a similar charity item backstage at The Royal Variety Show.
Both the newsreader and I will forever remember that (possibly not only) example of the great star’s disdain.
It’s funny how these events seem to coincide with charitable occasions. There is out there a woman who will forever remember me for telling her that she had a big bottom.
It was not a gratuitous observation. She, a complete stranger, had just advanced up to me with her family at a fundraising event in Banbury and without pausing to say ‘Hello’, patted me vigorously on the stomach, intoning the words ‘My goodness, you’ve put on a lot of weight since you were Doctor Who, haven’t you?’ The words were bad enough, but the enormity of the molestation of my abdomen provoked my perhaps unkind response. I think both statements were true however. But in a polite society perhaps neither need have been uttered.
I rest my case.