Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Where Hugh Grant went wrong, by the Jabbing Actor


TCW Defending Freedom has heard once again from Britain’s leading crisis thespian, the ‘Jabbing Actor’ Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite. He offers his advice to those who are asked for interviews at awards ceremonies.

IT HAS long been my ambition to ensure that the exacting skills required of the crisis actor should be preserved and nurtured to ensure that they flourish in the fertile minds of a new generation of thespians. It is to fulfil this dream that I am thrilled to report, exclusively for TCW Defending Freedom, the foundation of the Brentford Academy for Crisis Actors (BACA).

The course fee is a trifle, a mere £2,000 (cash only). Students will be invited to enrich their skills in the Bernard Lee Room at Brentford Library every Wednesday evening over a six-week period. 

Graduates of the demanding course will be awarded a prestigious BACAlaureate.

Modules will include: plaintiveness, heavy breathing techniques, pleading eye expressions and demeanour at awards ceremonies.

The importance of this last skill was underlined by the recent interview at the Oscars of the wonderful Hugh Grant.

Hugh was addressed by a flibbertigibbet American lady, an ingénue whose line of questioning betrayed the mere passing acquaintance her nation’s actors have with the art of Thespis.

Her questions were far and away beyond the borders of inanity. However, dear Hugh’s answers fell somewhat short of the standards we have come to expect from such a distinguished board-treader. Indeed, one might have thought in view of his previous encounters with ladies of colour in public places that our greatest screen lothario since Terry-Thomas would have deported himself with more aplomb.

For example, to the question ‘What are you wearing?’ Hugh could muster only ‘My suit’. He could surely have thanked his tailor with a name check and a recommendation. What are awards ceremonies for if not a chance to elicit free goods from artisans and tradespeople?

Asked if there were any particular projects he was rooting for, the dear man replied, ‘No one in particular.’ Again, Hugh failed to score an open goal by not mentioning some ladies with whom he wished to ingratiate himself for future endeavours of an artistic nature.

There can be no doubt that the day is coming when Erasmus Demosthenes Hepplewhite will grace the red carpet to accept an award that he so richly deserves. When he does you will have the opportunity to observe comprehensive and quintessential replies to questions no matter how obtuse and asinine they may be. 

Until that day arrives, I shall for ever cherish the words of dear, dear Dame Judi when she came to Rada to present the Donald Pleasence Award for the Most Penetrating Stare. ‘Dear boy, sometimes life can feel like a cold pancake. But always believe in your ability to add a dash of lemon. Be a darling and see if you can find me a tube of Pringles; cheese and onion if they have them.’

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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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