Two ego-bending experiences this summer as Agent L and I wondered whether we might between us nail a third consecutive Christmas commercial.
Attended what we knew to be a top secret Christmas casting for John Lewis/Waitrose. Pencilled, recalled, “heavy, heavy, heavy pencilled, darling”; the call from Sophie at Wardrobe for a fitting on Friday and then… silence. When I enquired by text of said Sophie, she vouchsafed that she was “so sorry, but they’ve gone with the other cast.” (‘Gone with.’ There’s a phrase. As in ‘the wind.’)
Perhaps you saw the ad: it was that one based on a school production of Bohemian Rhapsody. My part, the headmaster, was two split seconds in the semi-darkness. The commercial wasn’t for Christmas at all.
Then, for Amazon Alexa, a veritable roller-coaster of hope and despair: from pencil to recall to heavy pencil to off-pencil to back on (the same) pencil two days later to be rubbed out again eighteen hours after that. Someone having difficulties make up their mind, I wonder?
Casting Director Hannah Birkett
Finally (and to raised eyebrows and sighs of relief both at home and at Wintersons) I do land a genuine Christmas commercial for Currys PC World. After a summer of such egotistical trauma, daahling, I was ripe for type-casting by director Andreas Nilsson as a miserable old Scrooge character banging with his stick on the floor of his garret whilst carol singers cavort without in Dickensian glee. Asleep on the other side of the bed is my wife (Romanian, this time) oblivious to the din in her Currys sound-excluding headphones. All in the can after a mere three hours of filming plus supper, but two nights in Bucharest and meeting my old friend and former pupil Andreea during two half-days of rank tourism, it doesn’t get much better.