An excerpt from 'Educating Auntie' where Sir Bill Cotton receives just the acclamation he needed...
CAPTION: BBC TELEVISION CENTRE, 1978.
Bill is laid back on his black leather chair with a photo of Morecambe and Wise in his hand as he takes a deep sigh. He retrieves a cigar from his shirt pocket and lights it before putting in his mouth.
All of a sudden there is a knock on the door.
It’s always open
The door opens and Tommy Steele’s head appears from behind it.
There he is! The heart and soul of the BBC.
Bill puts his head down and puffs on his cigar.
I don’t feel much like the heart soul anymore Tom.
Steele slowly walks up to Bills desk with a concerned look on his face.
Bill puffs on his cigar and lifts his head up and sits up on his seat before taking a deep breath.
Do you remember when we started in the business? We were so alive and eager about what we could achieve.
Well, some were more alive than others.
And then you realise that it’s not about what you can achieve it’s more about what people let you do. That is if they don’t let you down.
Steele looks around the room for inspiration as Bill takes his glasses off and wipes his face with a handkerchief.
I remember when you told me I would top the bill at the London Palladium. And I didn’t believe you.
Bill laughs through his anger.
I always was a good optimist
And guess what? It came true. You were right. And I bet I’m not the only person who can say that about Bill Cotton.
Nice words Tom.
The door opens and reveals a runner with a microphone attached to his head. Bill and Steele look at the runner.
5 minutes until sound check Mr.Steele.
Steele nods as the runner closes the door behind her. He stands up and pushes the chair into the desk before catching Bills eyes.
Look. I better go. But don’t you ever think you’re a failure. Just look around you, the BBC... It wouldn’t be the same without you at the helm.
Steele turns to leave and opens the door. Bill stands up and stares at his back.
Steele turns around as he opens the door.
Thank you. I really needed to hear that.
An excerpt from 'Adapted' from the chapter 'Window Shopping'. Here, I am discussing how I feel at times the general public see disability.
You may still be wondering why indeed I decided to embark on this book. You might also be wondering why I didn’t give up on such a shit idea but that is beside the point. Well, the idea occurred to me whilst on a short break visiting my sister in what was her then hometown of Worcester. I strongly recall being wheeled through a large shopping outlet and suddenly becoming aware that I was in fact the subject of great fascination among passers-by. In that instant I realised every person had probably created an image in their own mind of what my life was like and how I lived it. That was just a snapshot of my everyday life and it was my ambition from then on to create this social artefact which would reverse that specific stereotype.
This feeling prompted me to realise that it didn't just happen when I was away from my home town, it actually happened every time I stepped foot outside my own front door. It is very difficult to establish what it is that makes such a fascination in strangers even to this day when diversity and disability are both hot topics among political agenda. Since the rise of political correctness during the early 1980's arguably the subject of disability and diversity have both become somewhat of a taboo both in the world of media and general conversation and has only been broken down by the rise of high profile events such as the London 2012 Paralympics. Hopefully this will become a major contributor to the acceptance of disability in mainstream society and will go a long way to removing prejudices' in the psyche of the masses.
Despite Britain as a whole becoming more accepting in their attitude towards disability it is only when one encounters a stranger and witnesses their behaviour towards someone like me that I realise there is still a great deal of misconception and prejudice regarding disability today. Whenever I am in the centre of my local shopping town I can always be sure that there will be a person who thinks they are doing a good deed in coming over to me and either holding my hand or patting me on the head, or even greeting me with a patronising statement. This social interaction has always baffled me since I was in my infancy as to why people feel the need to approach me in this way. The interaction is always followed by an acknowledgement to who ever is accompanying me with the phrase; “you’re doing a great job”. The ironic thing is afterwards that my chaperone could take me into a dark alley and beat seven shades of shit out of me but nevertheless to the stranger they are doing a great job.
An excerpt from 'Following the Money: The Story of the British Theatrical Agent'. This is the introduction to the documentary, setting the scene for what is to come.
Bruce Forsyth, Norman Wisdom, Morecambe and Wise, Spike Milligan, Frankie Howerd, Eric Sykes, Cilla Black; just some of the biggest names to arise out of the 1950's and 60’s. Yet whilst these stars were shining brighter than the sky they were involved in another sort of revolution.
Almost since the birth of ancient forms of entertainment, performers and exhibitionists have always required a benign, selfless representative to take care of financial and business matters allowing the entertainer to shine. If this relationship is not carefully maintained it can even cause the end of the career of the most accomplished entertainer. Since the birth of entertainment agents and producers have made careers for some of our best loved faces on television, but what became of the significant figures behind the stars? And how did the success of their clients shape their own careers? This is the story of the rise and fall of the British theatrical agent.