TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’, Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He explains why he has turned down a lucrative opportunity.
FOR someone who has been at the top of his profession for as long as I have, I am not in the least bit surprised when confronted by life’s cruel vicissitudes. Today for example, I was summoned to deliver a selection of Albanian delicacies, including Fërgesë, Speca me Glizë, and Tavë Kosi, to some gentlemen who had recently arrived on the South Coast and were now residing at one of the better hotels in West London.
However, I was aghast to be told by the hotel receptionist that their new guests had already departed. She said they had been taken away in a large Mercedes and believed they were going to work in some sort of indoor horticultural enterprise.
There were however compensations. As the meals had already been paid for by the Home Office, they became acceptable fodder for my cats, Tallulah and Judi. Furthermore, my chagrin at being unable to complete my delivery was further diminished when I received a call from my agent, Irene.
The following day, and in eager anticipation, I journeyed to her diminutive office in Soho. On arrival, I was delighted to be told that she had received a slew of requirements for crisis actors.
My heart leapt. The petering out of the monkeypox outbreak was a severe disappointment not only for the pharmaceutical companies, but also for myself and the legion of my colleagues who were looking forward to being covered with prosthetic pustules before being instructed to wallow in agony. I had spent many hours perfecting looking into the camera with eyes so hollow and desperate they would terrify even the most sceptical member of the populace.
Sadly, the new roles that she proffered were not what I had in mind.
I was told that a well-funded international organisation, supported by an unnamed government department, wanted actors for roles such as sitting in the road to block the traffic, spilling milk on to the floor of shops, spray-painting buildings and climbing on to large structures. I was told that the remuneration was good and that arrests were highly unlikely.
In view of my age and my intolerance of lactose, the only role I felt I could perform with any degree of authenticity was that of a road blocker. Indeed, it was my sedentary role as a peasant in Les Miserables that led Russell Crowe to remark: ‘You Pommie bastards are good at sitting on your arse.’
Irene explained to me that I was to join some retired teachers, librarians and civil servants to form a human barricade in the vicinity of Oxford Street. The purpose of the blockade was to prevent the ice caps melting and the world becoming a giant puddle.
As I mulled over the offers whilst sipping a cup of tepid tea, I remembered the words of dear, dear Dame Judi when she came to RADA to present the Alastair Sim Award for the Best Use of Eyebrows: ‘My dear boy, the Golden Rule is to never, I repeat never, work with amateurs. They will always let you down. Be a darling and bring me another custard cream.’
I am as eager as the next man to heed the warnings of David Attenborough and the young lady expert from Sweden, but it was the infinite wisdom of Dame Judi, coupled with the likelihood of a recurrence of my sciatica and the thought of being hauled away by an angry taxi driver, that caused me to turn down the lucrative opportunity.
However, in my closing address to Irene, I made it clear that as we neared the new flu and/or Covid season, Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite was ready and willing to place himself before the British public to highlight the horror of those conditions, and to show to those who chose to ignore the advice of Professor Whitty that they were placing themselves in extreme peril.