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Tuesday 15th May 2018

5649/18669

A furious bit of last minute writing (I even tried to start episode 4 on the train, in the hope I’d somehow be able to squeeze it out in 45 minutes) and then over to Ladbroke Grove, for the excruciating experience of hearing professional actors having to read one’s mistake-ridden and occasionally awful first draft scripts. 
The female members of the cast were all working and unable to come (so we had different actors playing their parts) but the male ones were all available. Equality, it seems, has gone too far. When’s International Men’s Day?
And I was only partially mortified by my scripts. There’s some good stuff in there and a couple of them aren’t too far off. Hardly anything didn’t work at all. Only a bit where I tried to squeeze in a stand up routine, which is usually a bad idea. 
It’s a rare privilege to get a sitcom produced and I am very much looking forward to the bit where I’ve done all the scripts and can get on with enjoying recording it. Though I felt the writer had neglected my character somewhat. The dick.
I have often commented on the irony of the people writing all those films about how family is more important than work, must be neglecting their families to complete the heavy workload necessary in producing a film. And here I am, kept away from my own family because I’ve written a sitcom that’s a little love letter to the family. I got back to find the family enjoying the evening sunshine. My daughter ran to hug me (very out of character) and my son whooped and chortled and smiled at my appearance. The dog also went crazy. I guess absence makes the hearts grow fonder. So they must all fucking adore me.
 I had a glass of prosecco and played “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” I used to love this game as a child and Phoebe adores it too, though it feels like there’s something missing from the game. Like a way you can get caught out in the middle of the game. But I may just be confusing it with grandmother’s footsteps.
These kids are a tonic. And I needed some gin.
So after bath time and stories I had a couple of drinks and we watched some Netflix. The Dick Van Dyke Show is up there now and I was curious to see what the star of the best TV show ever, Diagnosis Murder, was doing 57 years ago. Unsurprisingly it seemed old-fashioned both in comedy and social attitudes, but there were some nice laughs, even if the plot was as simplistic and patronising as “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” Ironically one of the characters made a crack about nepotism in TV shows, which must surely smart DVD if he happens to watch it now. Not until Mrs Brown’s Boys was someone prepared to give as many jobs to people related to him.
When I watch old shows I love to see who is still alive and who’s dead and there’s a remarkable survival rate for the team behind this show. Dick is still alive as is creator Carl Reiner. I predicted the child in the show would be dead by now, but he’s still going and only 12 years older than me, which seems impossible. Mary Tyler Moore only died recently, as did Rose Marie, who I was interested to see was given many funny lines and possibly more to do than Dick Van Dyke (certainly more punchlines), so although the storyline cloyed a little in terms of its sexism, it was good to see a funny woman more than holding her own and being given a major role. Wikipedia informed me that Rose Marie’s active years as a performer were 1926-2017.  An incredible 91 years. She was 3 when she first performed and was working up until her death.  Read the rest of the entry too. A very remarkable woman. I had 50 years of my life to find out about her, but only properly became aware of her six months after she was gone. I feel we could have had something together.
This led to us watching an odd show where Carol Burnett had problems solved by some precocious children.  Lisa Kudrow was a guest and my favourite moment (and I don’t really understand why they left this on) was when Lisa was leaving to applause and one of the kids asked, “What’s Friends?” and Lisa had to return to explain it was a TV show. Seemed weird to leave this in, but it was funny.


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