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Sidmouth Manor Pavilion Theatre - An Inspector Calls (with James Pellow)

Folks who know me very well often say, kindly I think, that I should get out more. I’m a grumpy old sod at the best of times and in the ...

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Did I ever tell you I once met Superman?

Been around I have. Mainly because of my thirty six years in horseracing. Working for a chairman (Woodrow Wyatt) at the tote. A man who knew everyone. Explains why I once had lunch with Bernard Levin, twice met Prince Michael of Kent  – nice man who never forgot a face – and had tea at York races with Robin Cook. Leading labour politician for the ignorant. He wasn’t, but those who ain’t heard of him might be. I also avoided shaking hands with Margaret Thatcher at Ascot, delved fingers in chips with Lord George Wigg (Harold Wilson’s Postmaster General), and chatted with the Old Duke of Devonshire when he sold off some of his Canalettos. All true, as was my non horseracing brushes with the famous, most notably spending a day with Alan Ayckbourn in Scarborough as he rehearsed a first production of Confusions, and a week with Bob Hoskins in a health farm. I didn’t go with him, merely met him there, but we had lots of fun. Great chap and not snobby. But eclipsing them all, and the only one that may one day impress my grandson, was that I once met Superman. Christopher Reeves. At Towcester racecourse. I adjudicated on a horseracing competition in which someone won a car. A prize of at least £10,000 and, for some reason, the powers that be thought I was the right chap to scrutinise it. Superman (Christopher Reeves) was the man who presented the prize. So I met him. So polite and unassuming. He queued up at a tote window to place a bet on one of the races and caused a stir  on both sides of the window. I felt very sad when I read of his horse riding accident which paralysed him. It could not have been too long after his visit to Towcester. That wasn’t mentioned in the paper. As another film actor would say, ‘Not a lot of people know that.’ They do now.

This leads me on to other things a lot of people don’t know, mainly what I have been doing or looking forward to over Christmas. But somehow ‘How I met Superman’ reads much better than ‘Roy Hall’s Christmas activities.’ If it doesn’t you must be a sad and nosey lot. I saw Harpenden High Street Players ‘Tons of Money’, good directorial debut from Lewis Cox and excellent performance from Nicola Preston, took in St Andrews latest ‘Christmas is a Coming’, and screamed like mad when my 20/1 shot, Captain Chris, nearly won the King George V1 Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Pity nobody told the favourite, Long Run, he couldn’t possibly get back up on the line after such a gruelling race. Juicy winnings snatched from my greedy grasp. On the telly I enjoyed a riveting drama on Joyce Hatto (google her) by Victoria Wood and revelled in the last episode of Homeland. Not usually into such things but this gripped throughout. Claire Danes was amazing in a cast which batted very long. And now, as the festive trimmings return to the loft and snow settles on pot holed streets and roads, I wallow in the Archers Radio Four tryst of Paul and Lillian (Matt will win out in my opinion) and anticipate future local theatrical offerings. None will excite like meeting Superman but, hopefully, the following old favourites will tickle a few of my jading senses.  Given a blog that my severest critic, her indoors, says is merely a filler those whisky laced senses clearly need uplifting. Perhaps I should call Superman. Happy New Year. Roy Hall


Key For Two – Dunstable Rep
 Fri 18th January – Saturday 26th January Little Theatre, High Street South

Calendar Girls – Wheathampstead Dramatic Society
Wednesday February 13th - Saturday February 17th
Tickets £8.00
01582 629594 for details

And further ahead

The Female of the Species – Dunstable Rep   Fri 15th March – Saturday 23rd March

An Ideal Husband – High Street Players (Harpenden)   Wednesday 10th April – Friday 12th April

Into The Woods – St Andrews Players Wednesday 22nd May – Saturday 25th May (St Andrews Church – Luton)

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