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Calling all homeowners, the Jabbing Actor


TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He describes an unexpected new role.

I HAD just completed a delivery of palusami and cassava puddings to the Holiday Inn in Brentford, at the behest of a family from the Solomon Islands who had recently arrived on a beach in the vicinity of Hastings, when I received an urgent call from my agent, Irene. 

It seems that the Home Office can no longer find suitable accommodation for young people from foreign parts who seek succour in this country. They now require help from those with spare rooms to house the new arrivals.

To encourage the take-up of this initiative, the government has commissioned a television advert. It shows a typical middle-aged suburban couple whose children have fled the nest, and who joyfully greet the arrival of a young man from Tirana.

My co-star was Sylvia, a dear friend. She is an actor of colour whom I first met when she played a nurse in Casualty. In that episode, I had just been unearthed from the debris of an abattoir following a gas explosion. It required me to be covered from head to toe in offal; not a desirable role for a vegan such as I.

Like me, Sylvia has for many years been on the brink of stardom. Rather than reaching the pinnacle of Mount Olympus by travelling the winding and rutted road of crisis acting, she has honed her skills in television adverts for stairlifts, support stockings and sanitary towels.

I have to say that this part stretched my talents to the limit. Since childhood I have given my life to the noble profession and have eschewed relationships of all types lest they interfere with the calling of Thespis. I remember only too well the treasured words of dear, dear Dame Judi when she came to Rada to present the Bob Hoskins Award for the Best Menacing Glance: ‘My dear boy, let Calliope be your mother, and Melpomene your mistress. Do be a sweetie and bring me another pink fondant fancy.’ 

I believe the filming went well. On the seventh take I dredged the darkest recesses of my souls to summon the muses. In an unrivalled display of emotion, I offered pathos to show profound sadness on the departure of our youngest daughter, logos to reassure Sylvia that all would be well, and ethos to show immense virtue on the arrival of Abdyl, our guest from the Adriatic. 

One is hesitant to blow one’s own trumpet, but the last time such passion was evinced on the screen was when dear Dickie Attenborough was confronted by an enormous monster of some sort in Jurassic Park

Of course, I was heavily disguised for the role as nothing must interfere with the high standards and anonymity required of me as the crisis actor par excellence. However, it is in the nature of Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite to stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood and bend up every spirit to its full height when the wellbeing of the nation is at stake.

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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