Ed Parnell's Cunning Plan

I been here and there with receding hair…

Mcphereson Letters, Bills and The Bill

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This morning I received by way of the postman (who was in Eastenders) a letter from British Gas. I know, the part you are intrigued by – my erstwhile eastendian mail deliverance officer towit the indentity of. Well, after a brief discussion which started with him denying what we both knew quite fervantly to an admission of the facts (and the swearing inbetween) I was sworn by said postie not to divulge his name for professional reasons. But I did praise his later work as a gangland documentary maker.

The letter, such as it was, was regarding an underpayment I am ‘supposed’ to have made regarding my consumption of gas and electricity. I of course dispute this, and it is here that acting comes into it’s own. Whereas an ordinary person would not have the tools to make a case with such a powerful foe, an actor is ideally placed to maximise human emotion and reaction to a point where a considerable saving can be reached. I remember seeing darling Thora Hurd once get an entire cruet set from Harrods by simply wailing loudly whilst spinning on the floor knocking things over. As we left, cellars and dispensers in hand, we laughed at how we had outwitted the humble assistant, her manager and the security people and nabbed what Thora called ‘A tidy haul’. While I think about this I also recall the lovely late Alan Rickman getting a two for one discount in the Harvester simply by manipulating his eyebrows in a sinister way. He did in fact in the end pay for two though because he had another portion on the same terms. I miss Alan greatly, I can’t believe it has been so long since I saw him, and longer since one of those three a.m. Phone calls (he changed his number).

Back to British Gas. I have always found electricity to be a mysterious thing. You can’t see it, smell it, feel it but it’s there. A lot like the acting in Hollyoaks. I sometimes think it would be good to do a series on BBC 2 about things which have no substance, and when I have put this idea forward I am flattered people consider me to be the ideal presenter. I rang their customer helpline, which is euphemistically called ‘Customer Services’. The voiceover telling me my call is important I find impertinent, given as how they have anticipated I and my fellow ‘customers’ would be on hold and therefore commissioned a voiceover to underline just how important we are. She interrupts the Vivaldi with such rudeness had she been at one of my shows I would surely have had her removed before she’d even thought about advising me that I may find solace and solution in the website they so ably provide. I am put off by computers and this Internal Web because of a mistype I once made for Hotmail. This was not the sort of service I desired, and there was many a blush in the library that day, I can tell you.

There is nothing wrong with things being online. I am not adverse to technology. I have a microwave. But I fear many jobs will eventually be replaced by these Al Gore rhythms. I have no idea what they are but I think eventually they will replace live theatre. It will be people sat at home, watching actors sat in their homes doing performances, mark my words. And they lose the essential thing that the theatre is all about. The only plus side as far as I can make out is that the audience will have to clear up their own rotting fruit from behind the screen. But that is of little comfort. Actors need the approval and adoration of their audiences there, in the flesh. We can’t rely on tape recordings of tumultuous applause to be triggered to make us feel good. We’re not all Michael Winner. We need people to adore us in person, and if possible tell all their friends to come and adore us too, be it matinee or evening performance.

I’ll tell you who is good with these computery things though; Biggins. He is a master with them. They are like second nature. To watch those podgy fingers dance a ballet over the keyboard is a joy to watch. He did offer to let me have a go on his laptop, but I totally misunderstood him and we don’t talk much now.

Still on hold…

I often think of the times yonder when there was a shop you could go into for such things. You would speak to Terry or Elaine or Yvette and they would listen to your problem and sort it out. It was more personal then, and the gamut of angry or frustrated customers in the showroom would give you so much material for a performance. A glance here. A frustrated thump on a Tumble dryer there. If you were lucky there would be a right to-do and Police would attend and there was all the ingredients for a character piece in the Bill. I miss The Bill. As people may remember, I was Denny Snorkels, a local vicar trying to reintegrate recently released thugs, druggies and murderers into the area with little or no success. The character was sad and lonely and unfulfilled, and I was sadder and lonelier and even more unfulfilled when he was found dead in a Dumpster in only his second episode. I did suggest a spin off, Snorkels of the Dead, where he comes back Jesus-like to continue his work saving lost souls. I told the producer and the Welsh bloke with the big nose and both said they needed to think about it, I haven’t heard anything since so fingers crossed. The Bill were a rum lot, really. Very dedicated to their work. When I was leaving, I suggested perhaps we should all go out and have a few drinks and a Chinese to celebrate new opportunities for me, but no one had even thought of this, such was their focus on the show. What could have been a leaving party to really remember ended up as White Lightening and a packet of pringles whilst gazing at Ceefax through a Rumblelows window.

Still on hold….

Now I think about it there was no real investigation into Snorkels demise. I think one of the DCIs mentioned it but I don’t think they really looked into it. Now that is a plot hole. Maybe I should call them and mention it.

Posted By Ed to Mcphereson on 4/19/2017 10:17:00 am


Written by edparnell

April 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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