Over the weekend, a friend in the television industry managed at the last minute to wangle us both tickets for the BAFTA preview screening of the 10-year reunion episode of This Life at their rather plush headquarters at 195 Piccadilly. I was excited, having been a big This Life fan back in the day; the final episode is one of the few television ‘events’ I have ever been able to feel ‘involved’ with (though it wasn’t helped by an 80-something great aunt being camped in the living room, loudly tutting at the lashings of drug abuse, fruity language and bum sex on show) (I mean on the television).
We found ourselves milling at the bar next to Milly; me pondering not just how many times in my life I’ll find myself in an exclusive Piccadilly club but also how many times I’d find myself being served free beer in an exclusive Piccadilly club, my friend seemingly looking more distracted, clutching his man bag and casting around amongst the occasionally familiar faces.
“Drink faster,” I urge him, “at any minute they might want to stop giving us booze for free.”
“I’m on the lookout,” he mutters, “I’ve got a couple of pitches in my bag, should I see anyone… you know, important.”
“Okay then,” I tell him. “Tell me about these ideas of yours whilst I try and get another one down me before the screening starts.”
He swears me to secrecy, but I think I can reveal one involved Stephen Fry and coriander. Soon afterwards we are called through to the screening theatre. “Endowed by Stephen Fry” reads the brass plate on the seat in front of us.
“Now that’s a bloody sign if ever I’ve seen one,” I say, craning over the back of my own seat to see who provided my seating. I am a bit disappointed to see it is Jeremy Thomas, and can't derive any higher meaning from it.
After the screening, the cast come on stage for a Q&A, but none of them prove themselves to be particularly adept speakers. I do at least get to overcome my dislike of Jack Davenport, which has arisen more as a result of the characters he has played than anything else (I was more than happy to abandon Pirates of the Caribbean twenty minutes in to escape his James Norrington). He revealed himself to actually be more of a toff of the bumbling kind rather than anything more sinister, almost in a Boris Johnson mould (especially with his new ‘thatched’ look).
A few more free beers, and I then headed on to a party, but everyone there was about 3 years younger than me and, having been about 12-years-old when This Life was originally screened, couldn’t really muster much enthusiasm or memory for it.
5 weeks ago