I caught Stanley Park, a pilot, on BBC3, the other night. I don't have time to sit flicking through vacuous TV channels, but Stanley Park had something, I'd heard the story before!
A few years ago I Ivy'd with a slew of talented youth, the class of 2007 probably. They were either in History Boys West End or wanted to be. Among the noise of so much talent, energy, and beauty someone told a story he said he was going to turn into a play.
I am old enough to have heard that assertion too many times. I've made it myself. I've sung numbers from instant Musicals that got nowhere, the energy of the idea dissipated by early exposure. But this was different, this tale had something, and I listened.
It was a bittersweet story with some pretty nasty repercussions, but nonetheless it stuck.
It was, as I recall, the story of him falling for his best mates older brother, and then discovering that in fact, his best mates older brother was gay, what are the chances. It was a bittersweet story with some pretty nasty repercussions, but nonetheless it stuck. I
Join the dots, you can fill in the rest. It was this tale that was now pumping my flat screen on BBC3. And it wasn't half bad. I know
that critical comparisons with Skins were made but then we didn't all watch Skins. (I was afraid that the thought police might break down my door for doing so at 57 years old.)
The lesson here is blunt. Leo Richardson, the writer, had tenacity. He had AN idea and he clung to his belief in that idea. He constantly nurtured and developed the idea. He told the tale to anyone who would listen.
He told it hundreds of times and always with the same energy and brio. Leo was developing a career out of his story. He was making a future for himself. Telling his tale. He also worked at it. He did write the play. It was work-shopped at the NT Studio, and went on to the West End, or the fringes at least. And then turns up as a pilot on the BBC.
Okay yes, it was an interesting story, but not that unusual. Many of us may have equally enthralling stories BUT will we believe in
them enough to say so like Leo? Do you believe in your tale? In yourself sufficiently to know you are interesting? Not a carbon of
your favourite, and not simply committed to success but worth the attention?
It can take many years to settle on your story, to know and accept yourself well enough to tell your tale. A little success early on can
help to crystallise this but you still have to be able to recognise it.
Someone had spotted my ‘camp wit' and wanted to put it on the telly. No thank you!
When I was much younger I was offered an opportunity. A BBC Producer liked my energy and particularly my ‘camp wit'. This terrified me! Someone had spotted my ‘camp wit' and wanted to put it on the telly. No thank you! I walked away from the opportunity
because back then I was unhappy with my tale.
Happy with my tale these days I've invited Leo back to the Ivy to congratulate him, he's too busy… If it's a good idea, I'll ask him
again… and again…