TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He describes a surprising role in a forthcoming public information film.
IN ONE’S profession, one is never totally surprised by what Mistress Fate flings in one’s path, but one has to report that the role that she recently bestowed upon one was highly unusual.
Irene, my agent, caught me as I was delivering numerous portions of Yassa Dieun to a group of young men from Senegal who were seeking refuge in this country from riot-torn France. She told me that I was to report with all haste to the BBC’s Television Centre to take part in a public information film being prepared in anticipation of a forthcoming event.
I have explained before that my inhabitation of an Imperial Dalek (ID7 to be precise) brought me high praise from the greatest Time Lord of them all, His Excellency Tom Baker. Thereafter, I was seen as a natural choice for supporting roles in any sci-if endeavour thought worthy of production. In view of the context I was, however, intrigued to find that this role was indeed to portray an alien.
For the part I was costumed in a heavy green latex suit to appear as one of outer space’s most frightful creatures. I was required to stand with three other aliens deporting an intimidating posture in front of a large green screen. (I should add that, with all due respect for my fellow aliens, my posture and snarl were far and away the most intimidating.)
Dear sweet Benny Cumberbatch played the part of the Alien-in-Chief. Benny confided that to take the role he had interrupted his portrayal of the eponymous heroine in a new transgender version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. For this production he purported to be the commander of a fleet of starships from the constellation Canes Venatici in the Eye of Sauron galaxy. Befitting someone of his stature, he looked resplendent in a suit of yellow slime, setting off a gold masked helmet adorned with an array of fins.
It was clear that this was an important production.
In the strange ethereal voice that Benny can effortlessly conjure, he intoned this grave warning to the world: ‘Greetings, earthlings. Ve haff given you varnings. Unless you submit to ze one-vorld government led by our representative, Herr Schwab, our starships vill continue zeir trail of destruction.’
Although the filming was over in no time at all, it took a while for Costume to extricate me from my alien accoutrements, and before I left I had the chance to peek at the rushes. They showed strange circular UFOs destroying various famous landmarks as we aliens snarled and dear Benny spoke his grave warning.
The cast were sworn to secrecy, but it matters not to me as I have no idea what this film is all about. However, as ever, I take comfort from the words of dear, dear Dame Judi. I recall that when she came to Rada to present the James Corden Award for the Most Repulsive Interaction, she took me to one side to say, ‘Dear boy, although you missed out again, do remember that sometimes the flimsiest of shoots produces the most beautiful rose. Be a treasure and fetch me some halloumi and a can of Vimto.’
So when the Emergency Alert sounds on your phone at 3pm tomorrow and sinister aliens appear on your screen, please look out for the hideous creature with the fearsome glare behind Benny Cumberbatch’s left shoulder, and keep in mind that when the nation is required to be terrified as per the latest instruction from a shady international organisation, Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite is ever ready to play his part to ensure that the terror is amplified for your safety.