Sunday, 25 May 2014

One foot in Harlow with Richard Wilson

Spent a very pleasurably day in Harlow on Friday being interviewed by the great Richard Wilson for his new ITV series Going For a Drive With Richard Wilson, on air this autumn. In the show Wilson drives classic cars around the UK following the old Shell guides for motorists. He’s now come to film in Essex and after trips to Saffron Walden and Colchester he arrived in Harlow in a Jaguar. A couple of chancers from Yates Wine Lodge asked if they could sit in the driving seat, only to be rebuffed by the TV crew on insurance grounds. A very Essex moment

Richard interviewed the man who runs the pet shop market stall (pictured) and then we sat on a bench talking about my book The Joy of Essex. We discussed the history of Harlow mentioning the UK’s first tower block The Lawn and the impressive collection of highbrow sculptures by the likes of Henry Moore, before moving on to the history of the Essex Man stereotype and why Essex, with its castles, Roman walls, forts and bigger coastline than Cornwall should be on many more tourist itineraries.

As we filmed Wilson revealed that the one bit of advice he gives all actors is “listen”. We also got on to Doctor Who when I congratulated him on his role as a doctor in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. He revealed that he’s friends with David Tennant, who is a real fan because his house is full of old dvds of Doctor Who, and that he knows Peter Capaldi too and he’s also a real fan of the show. Wilson dealt with several requests for pictures with Harlow locals with much charm and even offered to send my daughters a picture (and when they realised he’s Gaius in Merlin they were truly impressed.) Talking about Essex and Doctor Who in one afternoon. Doesn’t get any better than this.

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