I’ve got to that point in life where, when the celebrities are revealed to great fanfare, I have no idea who they are. When I can be bothered, which isn’t very often, I ask who they are and the answer falls into several categories. Firstly, that guy in that thing that I’ve never seen and will never see. Secondly, that woman who was more outrageous than that other woman in that thing I’ve never seen and will never see. Thirdly, that person who used to be good at that thing for a while and can no longer do that thing but needs to make a living somehow.
But even I, who thinks there should be a thing where celebrities are dropped into the Amazon Rain Forest only to discover there are no cameras, even I, have had my share of celebrity encounters. And I must say they’re of a higher calibre than Brett/Brooke from The Only Big Bachelor Is Made In The Jungle.
There follows a list (with some explanations for my American friends).
Lenny Henry (Comedian, Presenter, Fundraiser) – Reading Town Centre. To be honest it was Karen that saw him and by the time she’d subtly tried to alert me, he was halfway down the street, so I only glimpsed the back of his head.
Tony Robinson (Actor/Baldrick from Blackadder) – A Primary School in Reading. He came to tell stories to the children at a school I was working at. Lovely man. I showed him to the toilet. He said thank you. I said, no, thank you.
Linda Robson (Actor/ the blonde one from Birds of a Feather) – Waterstones Bookshop in Reading. She was there to switch on the Christmas Lights and bumped into me on the stairs (she is now an entry in the Beal’s Book of Grudges, vol. 3)
Michael Parkinson (Broadcaster) and Tom Baker (Actor/4th Dr. Who) – back streets of London (separate occasions). We think they were going to their respective clubs. Michael looked grumpy. Tom had a very long scarf on, which pleased me.
Nigel Planer (Actor/ Neil from The Young Ones) – South Bank, London. He stared at me. I did look a bit like the character he played back then, so no hard feelings.
Howard Stern (Radio Personality/ Shock Jock) – Atlanta International Airport. I saw him crossing the concourse. I was tired. Not interested.
Jenna Elfman & Mimi Kennedy (Actors/ Dharma & Greg) – near Union Square, San Francisco. Dharma and her Mum were filming a scene. I was hungry. Not interested.
Robert Redford (Actor/ Butch Cassidy) – Streets of Vancouver. Shooting some film I’ll never see, but I swear our eyes met for a moment. Special.
Maxine Peake (Actor) – St. Anne’s Square, Manchester. I’m from Manchester, she’s from Manchester, what are the odds? Great actress though. Legend.
Peter Hook (Musician/ Joy Division/ New Order) – Starbucks in Manchester. I’m from Manchester, he’s from Manchester, what are the odds? Great musician though. Legend.
And my favourite celebrity encounter of all time…
Bamber Gascoigne (Television Presenter/ University Challenge) – Trafalgar Square, London. About to cross the road to go to the National Portrait Gallery. Hear the squeal of tires. Turn and lock eyes with Bamber, who is sitting in the smallest Fiat I’ve ever seen. His knees appear to be by his ears. He waves Apologetically. We smile and cross the road. Epic.