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The Jabbing Actor: My country needs me

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TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. As World War Three approaches he describes his role in helping the nation prepare for the coming conflict.

WHILE I was cycling back to my flat last week, a profound thought revealed itself. It was after I had delivered several portions of renga renga to a group of young men from Burundi, who had recently arrived on our shores having traversed the killing fields of France and Italy. Perhaps it was their endeavour that caused me to become enlightened about the true worth of the crisis actor. 

It is common knowledge that many inadequate types aspire to tread the boards of the Globe as the tragic Lear, or pine for a tawdry inscribed star on Hollywood Boulevard. But surely those parts and accolades are reserved for pompous egoists. There can be no doubt that it is we humble crisis actors, we band of brothers, sisters and others, who have the power to achieve the transformation in society required by our producers.

I write this as a prelude to describing my most recent role. Like you, I had expected that Mr Gates’s new and terrifying Disease X would, by now, have made its appearance. I had spent hours perfecting my deathly stare and haunted eyes, ready to frighten the living daylights out of the impressionable and vacuous. However, much to my surprise I received a call from my agent Irene to prepare urgently for an entirely different performance. 

I was told to report to the car park of Sainsbury’s in Turnham Green. There I was to adopt the mien of a black-cab driver from Mile End. I was interviewed by reporters from the BBC and Sky News.  My mission was to encourage young men to enlist into the armed forces to confront the bombs, mines and drones of the beastly Putin when they are sent to fight over some godforsaken field in Eastern Europe. 

Of course I played my part with aplomb and few would have detected that my Cockney accent was anything other than authentic. ‘Yes guv’nor, we need ter give them Russians a proper lesson, we do. If we don’t do nuffin, we’ll all be munchin’ on cabbage soon, Gawd ’elp us!’ was a remark of which I was particularly proud.

Can you imagine how futile it would have been for my esteemed friend and colleague, darling Benny Cumberbatch, to have played that role? For all his theatrical prowess I believe few types from the working class would risk becoming cannon fodder had he spoken those words in his clipped Harrovian accent. Nor do I believe that the legion of newly arrived intrepid young men from Africa and Asia would take up arms in response to his meticulously honed diction.

Yes, it really is the case that we crisis actors, the ‘poor bloody infantry’ of the acting profession, are the ones who really make a difference. I shall never forget the consoling words of dear, dear Dame Judi when I had failed to win RADA’s Hugh Grant Award for Foppishness: ‘Dear boy, do take heart, even the deepest ocean begins with a tiny drip. Be a sweetie and fetch me a mojito and some Polo mints.’

Make no mistake, when the balloon goes up, Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite will be first in line to help the authorities foment a seething frenzy of hatred against those who dare to compel us to drive Ladas, eat cabbage and drink cheap vodka.

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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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