Pramface: A blossoming bromance
"The meeting is on Wednesday. They want you to read for the part of Keith. I'll email you the details over now," chirped the chirpy voice of my agent.
I checked my email. "Keith: Late 30s, Jamie's Dad, practical and working class." I looked again. Yep, it definitely said "late 30s." A year out of drama school and suddenly I've aged nearly 20 years.
Maybe my photo needed changing? Maybe poor diet and an apathetical approach to exercise had bumped my casting bracket up a generation? Maybe there was an administrative error? Please let it be an administrative error!
I called my agent back. "It was a balls up. He’s 16/17 and is a bit of an oddball. You’re good at oddballs."
And that was it. That was my first introduction to Mike.
The audition was at the BBC Television Centre; a majestical doughnut-shaped palace of tellydom! As a boy I’d spend Saturday mornings in my jim-jams watching Live and Kicking with a breakfast platter of cereal and pop tarts before me. As the pinball whirled around Television Centre in the opening credits I would ready myself for the imminent three and half hours of killer entertainment.
In the lift up to the audition, I was told I would be reading with the actor playing Jamie.
"Oh, I said, "Who is that?"
"His name is Sean Verey. They cast him a couple of weeks ago," she replied. Oh.
The previous summer Sean and I had filmed together on a little known comedy called Shelfstackers for BBC Switch. We were famously unable to make it through a scene without corpsing. To the uninitiated, 'corpsing' is when you unintentionally and uncontrollably laugh and ruin a take. It is a bizarre sensation that is nearly impossible to stop once you've started.
At the time we put our unprofessional behavior down to our 'onscreen chemistry.' But the reality was we were immature boys with short attention spans and a penchant to try and make the other laugh.
In the audition, Sean and I were on our best behaviour. Other than a rather long-winded anecdote with no punch line, the audition seemingly went well because a week later I got the call to say the part was mine.
Soon myself and the rest of the cast found ourselves in Edinburgh, home of heartwarming documentary Trainspotting. After a quick - and I'm pretty sure rigged - game of rock, paper, scissors, Sean had triumphantly bagged the big room in the flat, complete with an uninterrupted castle view and its very own chaise longue.
Our first all-night shoot required me and Sean to 'sleep' in a Volvo with the odd bit of whispered dialogue. Easy enough you'd think. But each take we’d corpse longer and harder than the previous. As we sprawled out in the car giggling like schoolgirls, heaters on, the entire crew stood outside in the biting cold. Eventually, after many apologies we nailed it on about take 27.
I've visited Scotland many times and have never failed to be bowled over by this unutterably lovely, whimsical land. So on days off, I would take in what delights were on offer - stunning architecture, markets, picturesque walks, a Loch Ness Monster exhibition in all new "4-D"! If I remember rightly the fourth dimension was 'time.'
I hope I've managed to convey how much fun was had, although what I've offered up is mainly a document about the blossoming 'bromance' between myself and Sean. Even so, filming Pramface was more pleasurable then a strawberry pavlova laced with chocolate. I hope you're enjoying it!
Pramface continues every Thursday at 9pm.