VERITY LUSH: Wanted – one rat-faced, toothless, wizened actor

Was he chosen because he 'looked the part'? Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe
Was he chosen because he 'looked the part'? Wilfrid Brambell as Albert Steptoe

Money no object when lives may be at stake

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When watching TV, we assume actors have been chosen because they ‘look the part’.

A particularly unsavoury character, for example, might be chosen because they have a ratty little face, or are toothless, or a tad wizened.

However, what I don’t get is whether an advert goes out that requires a ‘ratty, toothless, wizened actor’, and whether some actors therefore look at that (or their agents do), and think, ‘Yup, that’s me! I’m hideous, I’ll go for it!’

I suppose they must do, for how else do these parts get filled?

It must be extremely hard being an actor because, aside from the continual rejection, I am imagining that all of your little foibles, or self-perceived weaknesses, or insecurities, are picked apart.

This is similar to my own profession, teaching.

Believe me when I say that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets past the eagle eye of the teenager. But at least I am not then put on national telly so everyone can see my various physical failings.

If you’re an actor, then there’s no kidding yourself that your backside is just a bit festively plump if you’re then cast as the ‘morbidly obese woman/man on train’.

There’s no deluding yourself that your eyes really don’t resemble Roger Rabbit’s, and your missing teeth aren’t that noticeable, and your knock knees are disguised by your straight-cut jeans, if you get a call requesting that you audition for the part of ‘bug-eyed teenager with no teeth and bandy legs’ because you’ll be ‘just perfect for it!’

You must either have a strong sense of self-esteem or a very thick skin, for these things to never bother you. Or, maybe you get over it as you get older. Most of us develop confidence (or at least a ‘who cares’ attitude) as we age.

So much better than that awful phase during your teens and/or twenties when you really believe everyone is staring and noticing the one-millimetre spot on your forehead.

So maybe it’s toughest when you’re a young actor, just starting out. Either way, it doesn’t sound like fun to me.

YOU CAN BE POSITIVE WITHOUT TRYING TO SELL SOMETHING

Part of my column last week gave a little shout out to local businesses and one independent business in particular.

Rather hilariously, one online reader commented that he’d started reading it, until it began to ‘sound like an advert’.

Such a pity when people would rather you only ever complain and never offer any praise, or point out the good things in the community that might be of use to others who live locally.

We are all too eager to have a moan but so reticent when it comes to making the effort to offer praise.

Such a shame that people would rather read a good rant all the time as opposed to anything positive without assuming you’re selling something.

I USED TO DANCE THERE – NOW IT’S A CO-OP!

I ran down to the seafront a couple of days ago, the first time I had been down near South Parade Pier in years.

It’s some distance from my house and I’ve never much reason to head that way, and it has certainly been through some changes in it’s time.

Where Fifth Avenue once stood, there is now a Co-op! A Co-op!

And who remembers the delightful Joanna’s? (floors, sticky, and so forth.) And the obscurely-named Intrepid Bun, the café on the corner? Or Lush, and Fanshawes?

The city is constantly evolving around us and some of those changes are for the better, but others – such as the total disintegration of North End – are appalling.