Two sides of the fame game

We were lucky enough to interview Barry Humphries on his farewell tour last week.

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It was an absolutely delightful experience, but it struck me how far removed from ordinary life these artists must live.

I know it's hard to believe, but despite John and I clearly having reached the dizzy heights of celebrity status, underneath all the hype and diva demands (which equates to a pot of tea and the odd roll and sausage) we live a very ordinary existence.

I once had a conversation with the late Richard Whitely, host of Countdown, and he told me he was off to exercise his face, not something you would perhaps think of when working out your conundrum of a Wednesday afternoon, but apparently it was great for the complexion.

I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Susan Sarandon of Thelma and Louise fame some years ago and she told me one of her greatest loves was a game of table tennis.

Morrissey guitarist Johnny Marr, when asked if he was going to have a 'right old knees' up at an awards ceremony, told me he was looking forward to having a pot of tea and taking his shoes off.

When Jackie Collins popped into Smooth Radio HQ she wanted to blag a picture with little old me for her webpage and apparently did the same with absolutely anyone she met.

If I'm honest I have found this knowledge a little disappointing. I want my celebrities to live extraordinary lives. Dom Perignon, 500ft yachts, the works. I do not want to see Les Dennis packing his shopping into the back of his Polo.

Still, I will never forget the day Barry Humphries offered me a choccie biscuit and requested a cup of camomile tea - if that's showbiz then I'll take it.

Well I must say I've never been witness to such a spectacular feat of name dropping as we've just had from Sharon; six celebrities in the space of just a few paragraphs, outstanding.

Shaz is right though, the upper echelons of the world of the wealthy and famous, do appear to live a life very far removed from ours.

But do they really? Let me indulge in a wee bit of name dropping of my own.

You would think for example, that Sir Cliff Richard would be a stranger to the delights of the weekly supermarket shop, but no. I used to see him often in Tesco or Waitrose or wherever in Wimbledon where he lived.

I couldn't resist a look in his basket expecting caviar and Champagne, but there was bread, cheese and washing powder like everyone else.

A young Barbara Dickson starred in a very successful show called John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert. I remember her telling me that she was always quite pleased when the applause at the end of the show didn't go on too long, because all she wanted to do was get off quick and catch the half past 10 bus home. If there were too many encores, she'd struggle to make the 11.15.

When I was young, I swear this is true, if I'd been working late, I'd go into a little cafe near the London Palladium. At that time there were usually two performances a night, one at 6.15 and one at half past eight. Well, every night, between houses, this cafe would be filled with dancing girls - all spangly leotards, feather plumes and full stage make up - tucking in to egg and chips and mugs of tea. Nobody batted an eyelid.

So, maybe no matter how glamorous they seem, even the rich and famous have to put the bins out.

Arts and Entertainment

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