Last week I was at London’s ExCel for Grand Designs Live, the TV show, which was filmed alongside the exhibition of the same name. Obviously I was there for work; to get photos of The House That Kevin Built and any other exclusive content for the website that I could find.
It turned out that that included trying to get celebs to comment on property-related stuff. So when I wasn’t dolled up in hi-vis jacket, hard hat and steel toe capped boots, clambering around a building site with my camera, I was hanging out in the green room, getting shy around people off the telly. A very, very random week.
I’ve realised that I’m not very good at talking to celebrities for the same reason that I’m not very good at science fiction. I just can’t … pretend. I can’t call them “the talent” like other telly people do. I can’t join in with the conversations about how amaaazing people look (unless they really do). I suppose I should try harder, but I just want to treat them like normal people, even though a lot of them think they’re not.
So it makes sense, then, that I got on fine with Dave Gorman (who I do actually think is great) because I could giggle with him about the naming of the “flick off for Britain” campaign and what was on the telly, like I would with anyone. But I found it impossible to even look at Kim-from-Kim-and-Aggie, especially after hearing her tell someone “no dear, I don’t talk about my personal life. It’s very private to me”. This is the woman whose autobiography, “The Story of My Brutal Childhood” was serialised in the Daily Mail, for goodness sake.
Being around “the talent” on a daily basis was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. I saw Denise Van Outen’s bottom, for starters. I don’t make a habit of looking at other girls’ bottoms, but she had to get mic’ed up in front of me, and there it was. (It’s teeny tiny – like the rest of her – and absolutely perfectly formed.) I heard Paul from The Salon telling some people that he was responsible for inventing the phrase “back, sack and crack”. I went to the loo and found Debra Stephenson (ex Corrie) getting changed into the most fabulous dressing-up dress I’d ever seen. “It’s not mine,” she said. “I’m going to a ball”.
Phil and Kirstie were lovely and exactly like they are on the telly. Seriously. We interviewed them and they sat closely, agreeing on everything (“we’re going to get one of those for our house,” “oh yes, we’re so going to get one of those too…”) and finishing each other’s sentences. After the interview, he went shopping and she shouted jokey admonishments after him, giggling when he rolled his eyes in mock sufferance. They genuinely appeared to be best friends, which must quite a feat for two people who spend so much time working together in the public eye.
Finally: yes, The Beeny was pregnant. Really, really pregnant. And just to confuddle my brain even further, it’s apparently only her third.