Thursday, 27 September 2012

In the presence of greatness with Joanna Lumley, sweetie darling...mwahhh

Sweetie....Darling....mwah, mwah, pass the bolly Pats.....

Ok, I know, cheesy, but after spending the morning with the legendary Joanna Lumley, what other way would there be to launch into today’s entry.

Joanna, yes, we are now on first-name terms, was heading the launch of YouView, a relatively new television viewing platform.

It comes in the form of a TV box, like a Freeview box, but with tons more functionality, access to years of archives and loads of other benefits.

Broadband provider TalkTalk are involved in this project, and yesterday laid on an event to celebrate the latest evolution in television.

But, back to the main purpose of this entry - Joanna Lumley, star of Ab Fab, The Avengers, and a plethora of other television classics.

Our meeting was just as you would expect, in fact it could have come straight out of a scene from Absolutely Fabulous.

“Sweetie, you look fabulous,” she said as we shook hands and exchanged air kisses.

I wasn’t really expecting that. Of course I had primed myself to ask her for one of her famous Ab Fab anecdotes, but it came without provocation.

I laughed and said “Thank you, but not as good as you”.  She chuckled.

I know it sounds gushing to go on about how “nice” celebs are when you meet them,  but she really was.

“Hello, I’m Joanna.” - Like I needed telling.

And of course there is that voice, that gentle, velvet tone that has become one of her many trademarks.

Today’s event, as well as to launch YouView, celebrated television through the ages, and the studio had been mocked up to recreate famous moments through the years.

There was the Monty Python dead parrot sketch, The first Big Brother, and if you remember that far back, Den Watts serving his wife Angie with divorce papers at Christmas (EastEnders).

And there were a couple of my favourites in there.

Fellow Fawlty Towers fans will remember that scene from “Gourmet Night” when Basil, at the end of his tether with his car breaking down, takes to it with a branch.

The actual car had been done up and brought to the studio – and so I thought, I might as well have a go.

I seem to remember Basil lifting one leg up as he gave the vehicle a “Damn good thrashing”.

I am not sure how much like the original my attempt was.

Ms Lumley wielding the stick, which I have to point out, was not the original from the show was much better. And she managed some more impressive face pulling than me, but then she is a trained actress!

Anyone remember the “wrong chandelier” scene from Only Fools and Horses?

Another of my favourites, and one of my new found buddy’s it would seem.

In this scene Del Boy and Rodney prepare to catch a priceless chandelier in a sheet as  the hapless Grandad unscrews it from the floor above.

Of course, it is the wrong one, and the real one ends up crashing on the floor into a million pieces.

Well the set was there today, as was a family scene from the seventies, complete with kitsch wallpaper, carpet and mum and kids in retro garb.

Who would ever think I would be sat, reading a copy of Sandie to a six year old while being served pineapple and cheese on cocktail sticks?

I actually like them, but when it comes to comics, I prefer the Beano myself.

Back to Joanna, and I have to admit to a guilty secret, I spent much of the 90s glued to Ab Fab. 

Even now I giggle when I see an airport luggage conveyer. It brings back memories of the wonderful Patsy Stone clambering on one in Morrocco – I can’t remember why she did that.

 “I am a huge fan of yours,” I slathered as we shared our time together, “so it is a bit of a labour of love coming to meet you today.” - although I was not lying, It's Patsy for God's sake.

“Darling, wonderful,” she replied, in that voice, and with that smile.

And here is Joanna's "thrashing" in full:


  1. Great you met the wonderful British entertainer Joanna Lumley. Happy you enjoyed yourself

  2. Joanna Lumley is a beautiful, classy lady, I've always admired her, for her talent and the way she isn't afraid to fight for what she believes in. How lovely that you were able to meet her.