AMID suspicions that the Government is recruiting actors to play unvaccinated hospitalised Covid-19 patients, Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite tells TCW of his recent audition for a part in an NHS information film.
‘To be honest I thought I was a shoo-in for the role. I got my first part in Casualty when I was ten (badly burnt by a firework) and since then I have been in the show for a drug overdose, a hiatus hernia and rabies. Not only that, I was once mauled by an escaped puma in Holby City.
‘My agent, Irene, called me as I was delivering a ham-and-pineapple pizza with garlic bread to an isolating family in Pinner. I hadn’t heard from her since more than a year ago when she contacted me about auditioning for the part of Stumpy in Babes in the Wood in Chippenham. I think she had been impressed by my widely praised performance as the butcher’s assistant in episode four, series 18 of Midsomer Murders (the one where the vicar’s mute cousin sought revenge on the local garage owner’s son who was accused of fitting a defective crankshaft to the vicar’s wife’s Austin-Healey which led to the suspicious death by drowning of the nephew of the local landowner’s illegitimate daughter’s stepbrother’s third wife, Maxine, with whom the cousin was secretly in love).
‘Irene told me that she was contacted by someone from the Home Office, she wouldn’t give a name, who wanted someone to take part in a government information film about the NHS. Naturally I jumped at the chance. I have always been a fervent admirer of our wonderful health service, and my Twitter account proudly displays their rainbow emoji alongside that of the EU flag and a blue heart.
‘I was told that the role was that of a distressed patient but not much more, and I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to attend the audition at the BBC Roath Lock Studios in Cardiff.
‘I found it rather odd that on arrival I was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act and was told never to talk to anyone about the film. I am talking to you because I am so peeved!
‘For the audition I had to lie on a hospital bed, sweating and panting, with an oxygen mask over my face. Between pants, I had to tell an interviewer that all this would never have happened if I hadn’t listened to crackpots urging me not to have the Covid-19 inoculations.
‘I thought I had done rather well, and every time Tristram, the director, said “More desperation, darling!” I responded as taught by none other than dear, dear Dame Judi when she visited RADA during my time there, to run a masterclass on Desperation for Crisis Actors. “Young man, your panting is exquisite”, I will never forget her saying.
‘Imagine my surprise when Irene rang me to say I hadn’t been given the part because my panting did not quite reach the level of desperation required, and that the part had been given to a person of colour who had never even met Dame Judi. I shall never, ever, work with Tristram again, and the things I could tell you about that man!
‘For now it’s back to being a Deliveroo slave to the multitudes in Pinner required to self isolate, but it can only be a matter of time before Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite becomes a name as much revered by future generations as is that of our flame bearer Thespis, or indeed, the inimitable Dame Judi.’