How do you react when you see a famous person?
Do you stare?
Rush over and ask for an autograph?
Or do you side glance them — then studiously pretend you’ve no idea who they are; that their fame and popularity are of no interest?
I definitely used to fall into the latter camp.
When we lived in London — and Marlow — we’d regularly see famous people.
Ulrika Jonsson or John Hannah wandering down the high street; Nigella coming out of the tube. David Walliams collecting photos in Boots; Kate Moss (wearing Hunter’s) in our little branch of Sainsbury’s, bellowing:
‘Have you got any streaky bacon???’
But anyway — I digress — back to celebrities.
Mostly, I’d avert my eyes and pretend I’d no idea who they were.
Until a few years ago.
The Night Manager was on TV at the time and my friends and I had been discussing the merits of Tom Hiddlestone.
I was so overcome with fan-girl excitement, that I made my way over to her (hand firmly gripping a glass of gin for courage), and said;
‘Hello — excuse me — I just wanted to say…..
I think you’re fabulous.
Erm. That’s it.
Sorry to bother you.’
It was crippling.
She was mortally embarrassed.
As was I.
I just backed away — feeling like I wanted the ground to swallow me up
(and she probably did too).
What I Wanted To Say…
In a parallel universe, what I should have said was:
‘You are my very favourite British actress.’
(That probably would have been better than ‘I think you’re fabulous’).
In fact, Olivia Colman had been my fave actor for ages.
I first remember seeing her on ‘Mitchell and Webb’ back in 2001. Then, over the years, she’d pop up on various TV shows and I’d always say
‘Ohhhh — I really like her!’
Green Wing, Beautiful People on BBC2 (anyone else watch that?? I LOVED it!!!), then more recently on Broadchurch and Les Misérables. She’s done so much.
No fanfare or celebrity.
Just quietly and humbly plugging away.
She’s not starry, or lovie. She doesn’t have a botoxed forehead or lip fillers, hair extensions or size 0 dresses.
She’s just so normal.
And an absolutely brilliant actress.
And she’s British!!
Waking up to the news this morning that she’s scooped the BAFTA — with a very strong possibility that she’ll win an Oscar for her performance in ‘The Favourite’ — I feel a real sense of pride.
It’s so nice to see my favourite doing so well.
I just wish our encounter hadn’t been quite so awkward.
That I’d been a little bit more eloquent when I met her.
But — all things considered — her recent successes kind of make it a little bit better, that I made a real tit of myself in front of her.
Because how many Oscar nominated actors can you say you’ve embarrassed yourself in front of?!