I spent September 2013 working on a film produced by Ealing Studios, which I’ll write more extensively about when it gets released. What I got out of it was an interesting taster of the film industry, a bunch of great photos and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Will Poulter and Alma Jodorowsky – but MOST importantly I managed to snaffle an IMDB credit. A huge victory because, as I always say, if the internet doesn’t recognise that it happened it clearly did not happen. I refused to drop the ball on this one; a friend acted as pianist hand double for the lead actress of the recently released Belle and received no credit recognition at all, despite a filming process rather less rewarding than scoffing complimentary lunches and occasionally papping Cara Delevigne in-between takes. So whilst revelling in my newfound showbiz fame and perusing this site full of my equals, I happened to stumble across my dad’s very incomplete IMDB page. Although he passed away two and a half years ago, during his film editing days he worked on a whole spread of projects, ranging from Inspector Morse to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to being Stanley Kubrick’s assistant for some unspecified amount of time. (Apparently he wasn’t very nice. Shocker.) But the credit that caught my attention and stirred up a long-forgotten memory was the rather less glamorous ITV series Bramwell, a show about a female doctor in 19th century London played by Jemma Redgrave, and all the challenges she faced.
My dad stopped working to look after me when I was about 8 or 9 (and our trusted nanny moved back to Ireland), but the industry being the STRESSFUL PLACE that I now recognise it to be, in the years preceding his work would sometimes come home with him. I must have been about 5 when one day I wandered into the sitting room to find him playing a soundless clip of a little girl crying on a loop. He told me that they hadn’t managed to get audio for this particular scene and that actors and crew members alike had been fruitlessly trying to provide the sound of a little girl wailing for days, and would I like to have a go? No, of course I would not like to have a go; I am five (or six, or something – whatever) and that is far too old to be voicing crying little girls, don’t be ridiculous. “But plenty of women much older than you have been trying to get this soundbite, couldn’t you please have a go and just see how it turns out?” No, absolutely not. “Go on, it’s really not that hard just give it a try, don’t be a spoilsport”, and so on and so on until I got so frustrated and enraged, as would happen time and time again in conversations with my father over the next decade, that I burst into tears, lamented how he could possibly be so awful, and stormed up to my room to curse the bloody mute little girl in peace. When I deigned to descend, the little girl was no longer mute but wailing incoherently in between hiccups of “nooooooo” that sounded very strangely familiar.
I don’t know if my father deliberately worked me up into a hysterical rage in order record the results, or just happened to have his equipment on whilst having a conversation with his daughter. I don’t suppose I shall ever know. I’m not sure whether I even made it into the final version – but having now experienced the pressure of both the tight-schedule film set and the over-stressed editing suite I can confidently say that I would almost certainly make my only child cry in order to stick to a deadline. So I look forward to seeing both my photography and my blurred figure as an extra in the background of several scenes in Kids In Love, but will also be sure to remember that it is not my first taste of showbiz glamour.
And tempted as I am to add Bramwell to my IMDB page, I’m not so sure that I got a credit.