A tribute to Lynda Bellingham

Lynda BellinghamBy Theatre Director Mark Everett

Today we woke up to the miserable news that Lynda Bellingham has passed away. Lynda was a wonderful actress and even more wonderful person: sassy, bold, loud, energetic and, above all, very, very funny.  She was one of those rare human beings who cannot help but bring joy to the world, and she will be sorely missed.

Lynda visited the old and new Marlowe Theatres several times, most recently in Calendar Girls (2012), and her presence filled the whole building. She was due to return at the end of September last year with the play A Passionate Woman. Lynda was advised not to commit to a national tour and she reluctantly pulled out, saying: “I’m devastated not to be able to honour my commitments to the play, but having toured many times before, I’m aware of the sheer stamina needed.”

Lynda’s death is a terrible loss. It’s also gut-wrenching that she will never grace our stage and entertain our audiences again. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

Beached: meet the cast

Beached. Image by Tim Stubbings.

We’re just eleven days away from the British premiere of Beached – the first play we’re creating at The Marlowe. The cast are busy rehearsing, sets are being constructed and we’re just excited to see it all come together, and for you to see it! We’re also thrilled to introduce you to our brilliant cast.

But first, a reminder of what it is: Beached tells the story of 18-year-old Arty, who, at 67 stone, is morbidly obese and the world’s fattest teenager. He is a young man literally going nowhere.

All this is set to change when a reality TV crew moves in to ruthlessly document Arty’s supposed transformation from bedridden walrus to trousered sophisticate. But with the cameras rolling, something totally unexpected happens: Arty falls in love.

Australian Melissa Bubnic has written such a charming and affecting play; what could feel heavy is dealt with powerfully but also comedically.

I remembered some outright funny lines when reading the play, but hearing the cast read the play aloud on the first day of rehearsals was something else. They brought out all the heart and wit: it was moving and it was funny. And that was just day one.

So, let’s meet the team…

James Dryden (Arty, Beached)



Playing Arty is James Dryden. His theatre credits include Teechers (Theatre Royal, Wakefield) and The History Boys (Mercury Theatre). His television work includes Father Brown and for film, his work includes Tulip Fever and Mr Turner.



Robin Weaver (JoJo in Beached)

Robin Weaver plays Arty’s mother, JoJo. You’re most likely to know her as Pamela Cooper (Simon’s mum) in The Inbetweeners, both the series and films. Robin’s also appeared on film in Last Chance Harvey, Magicians and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Television credits include Black Mirror, Trollied, Him and Her, Twenty Twelve, Rev, The Thick Of It, The Inbetweeners and The Catherine Tate Show. Robin has also performed at the National Theatre, Soho Theatre and so many more. Click here for full credits.


Alison O’ Donnell plays Arty’s care-worker-turned-love-inAlison O'Donnell (Louise in Beached)terest, Louise. She is known for playing DC Alison MacIntosh in the BBC series Shetland, and her theatre credits include Incognito (Bush Theatre), Boys (Headlong), Yerma (Gate Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre), My Romantic History (Bush/Sheffield Crucible), Eigengrau (Bush Theatre), Dolls (National Theatre of Scotland), and Lady Windermere’s Fan (Oran Mor).



Rhoda Ofori-Attah

Rhoda Ofori-Attah plays the producer of Shocking Fat Stories – the documentary telling Arty’s story. Her theatre credits include Letters Home (Grid Iron), Bread (Young Vic), Egusi Soup (Soho Theatre), A Doll’s House (Theatre Delicatessen), Otieno (Southwark Playhouse), Present Tense (Southwark Playhouse), Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), In Time (Almeida Theatre), Hackney! Who Asked You?, Against Your Own  (Arcola Theatre), Molnar Shorts (Finborough Theatre). Television credits include Inside Out South East, Grownups, and Rose and Maloney. Film credits include Tulip Fever and The Art of Defining Me.


Justin Audibert
is directed by Justin Audibert, a previous associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company and winner of the prestigious Leverhulme Bursary. You may well have seen Justin’s work here before as he directed Red Ladder Theatre Company’s Wrong ‘Un, which played here last month, and also The Jew Of Malta as part of our Marlowe450 anniversary season with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. View a list of Justin’s directing credits here.


So, here are our team all together, from left to right: Robin Weaver (JoJo), James Dryden (Arty), Justin Audibert (director), Alison O’Donnell (Louise) and Rhoda Ofori-Attah (Producer).

Cast in rehearsals

Look out for behind-the-scenes blogposts and interviews with the cast and creatives over the next few weeks!

Beached is at The Marlowe Studio from Tuesday 28 October to Saturday 1 November, and at Soho Theatre (Soho Upstairs) from Tuesday 4 to Sunday 23 November. The production contains adult themes and language.

An introduction to the Philharmonia Orchestra

Philharmonia Orchestra / Esa-Pekka Salonen, 6 March 2013

We are the Philharmonia Orchestra and we would like to introduce you to who we are and what we do. Founded in the 1940s by record label EMI as a recording orchestra, we have now moved on a long way and are one of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, with a notorious recording history as well as international live performance acclaim.

You may not have heard of the Philharmonia Orchestra but you may well have heard us. We’re often on the radio, and are the musicians playing the soundtracks to films such as Thor: The Dark World (2013), Iron Man III (2013) and Hercules (2014), and video games such as Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. We also have a number of residencies across the UK, in London, Leicester, Bedford, Basingstoke, The Three Choirs Festival and, of course, Canterbury, for which we are very excited to be bringing a fantastic new 14/15 season starting this month.

This Saturday 11 October, it’s the Philharmonia Orchestra’s first concert of the season at The Marlowe Theatre. 2014 marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, and so appropriately, the Philharmonia are commemorating in their own unique way, showcasing post-war pieces by three of the most well-known and treasured British composers.

Each of these composers were personally affected by war, whether they were involved in battle or not, and channel these experiences into their music. Vaughan Williams was a stretcher bearer during the Great War, exposing him to horrific sights of injured service men amongst other things. Elgar, although not serving active duty, remembers hearing the eerie sounds of canons from across the channel in France.

From The Marlowe stage we travel across the channel to Bruges to perform this concert on the same day in 1914 that Bruges was occupied by the Germans.

Onto the night’s music…Elgar’s mesmerising Cello Concerto was written just after the First World War and is still one of Elgar’s most performed and celebrated pieces. He poured the emotion of the after effects of the war into his music. Elgar knew that the gravity of the Great War would have an everlasting effect, which inspired a somewhat different musical language for his compositional style.

Famously performed and recorded by the cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, the intensity and emotional context of the Cello Concerto is fully exerted by her playing.  Alisa Weilerstein, who listened to these recordings as a child and is often described as the modern Jacqueline Du Pré, is a rising star who has a growing international reputation far beyond her years.

Speaking about the Elgar Cello Concerto, Alisa says “no matter how many times you return to it, there is always something new to discover”.  A review of her performance in May 2010 at The Sheldonian, Oxford, really gives a sense of how emotionally heart-wrenching her playing is: “Alisa Weilerstein gave the most technically complete and emotionally devastating performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto that I have ever heard live, with an [Berlin Philharmonic] orchestral accompaniment she can only have thought possible in her wildest dreams…”The Guardian, May 2010.

Hear Alisa Weilerstein talking about Elgar’s Cello Concerto:

Ralph Vaughan Williams’ 3rd Symphony, Pastoral, is a master class of emotional and musical genius. This piece was Vaughan William’s attempt at confronting the horrors of the First World War. Although named as Pastoral, it is far from the idyllic scene one might imagine. Composed from the memory of Vaughan William’s personal experience in the Great War whilst in France, he depicts an almost ‘anti-pastoral’ symphony. All four movements are fairly slow, sometimes being described as the four seasons, however melancholy at that, and the fourth serving as a sort of Requiem for the First World War.

At the age of 42 when enlisting in 1914, he joined the Army Medical Corps where he received basic training as well as also having enough time to form a band, which he conducted. It wasn’t until 1916 that he was deployed to France. Although the war took up the majority of his time, on his return he picked up straight from where he left off, being offered work and commissions.

Here is a short video about Vaughan Williams experience of the war and how it affected his music:

Last up, chronologically at least, is the Four Sea Interludes’ from Benjamin Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes, which was also the piece that reopened Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London after the Second World War. The interludes act as scene changes and musical soliloquies for the opera, however, Britten later decided that they could be performed in their own right, making slight changes so they can stand on their own.

During the Second World War, Britten and his life partner, Peter Pears, spent their time between Canada and the United States, and it was here he wrote his most famous work Sinfonia da Requiem (1940). Although not actively involved in the war, once it had been won, Britten accompanied Yeheudi Menuhin playing for survivors at a concentration camp.

Towards the end of his life, he told Peter Pears that “the experience coloured everything he had written subsequently”. As John Bridcut says, “if you’re a newcomer to Britten, there is nowhere better to begin than here, but the Sea Interludes are not cheap cuts. You will find they haunt you for the rest of your life.”

Our anniversary & millionth customer: Mark Everett reflects

Words: Amy Jane Smith, Marketing Officer

Mark Everett, Theatre Director at The Marlowe.

Mark Everett, Theatre Director.

Today marks the third anniversary of our theatre opening, and this date also closely coincides with an even more exciting milestone: our millionth customer.

I caught up with our Theatre Director Mark Everett to find out how he feels when he recalls the last three wonderful but hectic years.

He describes a sense of “amazement. It’s bizarre to think back on that time over three years ago – the anticipation and anxiety of opening this new theatre and how far we’ve come since then.”

“Really, we’ve achieved most of what we set out to do and then some. The idea of being able to host Glyndebourne was almost totemic in building the new theatre. We’re now one of their regular venues on their limited tours – which is a real mark of success but also stability. The big producers seem to love coming here, and so we’re proud to be able to present the best touring shows. We have a wonderful, varied programme right through 2016.”

“The other end of the spectrum, but equally exciting, is the work coming into (and now also out of) The Marlowe Studio. It’s an absolute joy housing this new venue, presenting the best new plays, contemporary theatre and comedy. Anyone who has enjoyed a show in the space will know that there’s a different energy to it – the intimacy of it being such a small space (150 seats) lends a sense of exclusivity: you feel like you’re part of something really special.”

And how about the thought of one million customers?

“Well, how do you process that one? It’s a number that feels intangible, too big to process, but this isn’t a statistic that we’re patting ourselves on the back for. It’s overwhelming and of course it feels great, but more than anything it’s humbling, and makes us so appreciate our audiences: quite literally, we’d be nothing without them. It’s also strong evidence that love of theatre is alive and well. I may be biased, but there really is nothing quite like a night of live entertainment – and this number just goes to prove that.”

While our audience numbers grow, so do staff numbers. Mark recalls a changing team and atmosphere around the building:

“On re-opening, we had some staff members from the previous theatre but a mostly new team – some of whom were even new to the theatre industry. All of us, regardless of levels of experience, had to learn and learn fast – with the new theatre being a whole new entity with its own challenges and opportunities. We’ve been through a lot together and I couldn’t wish for a better team, of which there are now over 150 of us. Our staff members have built up a superb level of expertise – it’s great to feel so settled and safe with a brilliant, innovative team.”

Personally I was so glad to begin my theatre career here as Arts Marketing Trainee. The scheme is still going and going strong.

“Absolutely. It’s a credit to the theatre to have the traineeships run so well. Our most recent “graduates” as it were have gone straight onto jobs at the Donmar Warehouse, Soho Theatre and Finborough Theatre – with previous trainees now enjoying advanced careers at the National Theatre, on tour with Blood Brothers and Wicked, amongst other esteemed companies. This kind of full-time paid training job is rare in this industry but is so important to us, to nurture these young people and help them begin their careers. We can now confidently call ourselves a learning organisation – and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”

How about the shows themselves – what would your top three productions from the last three years be?

“Oh that’s a tough one. Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake would have to be up there. It’s a stunning production but it’s also one there’s no way we could have hosted in the previous theatre – so that was a real proud moment, and felt like a personal journey. Porgy And Bess was a massive production that felt really special, then in the Studio this year’s Marlowe450 season was fantastic. To work with this young, fresh company [Fourth Monkey] to mark Marlowe’s 450th anniversary felt important and exciting.”

And how about shows yet to come? What are you most excited for?

“I can’t wait for the return of Cirque Eloize with Cirkopolis – anyone who saw their previous production here in 2011 will know just how fantastic they are. Also Kneehigh Theatre’s Rebecca – a company I can’t stop raving about. It’s not just in the Studio that we have cutting edge work – these are one of the best touring companies around. Though in the Studio The Paper Birds are back with Blind. I saw and loved Thirsty last year, and missed the debut of this piece in April so will be booking to see it here in October.”

“Of course the show we’re all most excited for has to be Beached. It’s the first play we are producing, which is premiering in The Marlowe Studio in October for a week before transferring to the Soho Theatre. It’s the sum of so much hard work, much of which is still to come, but also only the beginning of our journey into the world of producing.”

The creative projects department has also grown considerably over the past few years, right?

“Oh, beyond belief. We started out with The Marlowe Youth Theatre, adult acting and pre-school classes running out of The Marlowe Studio. We’ve since added a class for 5-7yrs (Minis), and also The Marlowe Literary Department led by our Marlowe Literary Associate Simon Mendes da Costa. We’ve been able to offer script feedback, and writing workshops through this. The classes expanded to the point where they had to take up a new home – with us taking on a new space in the form of The Marlowe Lab at Pound Lane.”

“Our creative projects team have taken us from just giving classes, to linking up with national companies, local communities, and putting on full-scale productions. We’re about to enter into our third National Theatre Connections play – both with our own youth theatre taking part and hosting the South East’s festival. Then there’s mid-year writing showcases and festivals such as Modern Heresies, Canterbury Children’s Festival, and of course our community production.”

“Last year saw our creative classes work together to produce and perform The Garden Of England – a stunning celebration of our rich and diverse heritage, with the performance taking place across our grounds and in The Marlowe Studio. There was such an atmosphere about the place. For a first project of its kind here, it was hugely ambitious and successful – the participants loved getting to perform in a professional theatre. Our next community production, The Rights Of Others, will take place in July – and I’m sure it’ll be even bigger and better.”

Any final thoughts?

“Just thank you – to the companies who visit us with wonderful shows and the producers that bring them, to the team here at The Marlowe and to you – our brilliant, supportive audience. We look forward to seeing you again soon.”

Small Plans: making a serious point doesn’t always have to be done in a serious way

Small Plans at The Marlowe Studio.

Small Plans at The Marlowe Studio.

By Alex Mitchell, Director

When I was first given Small Plans over a year and a half ago, I had no idea how far this 17-page monologue would go, from landing on my desk in early 2013 to touring the country. It has been an absolute joy from the moment I read past the first word.

The reason being is that it is dealing with issues of people, it’s not trying to solve the credit crunch, or re-evaluate your relationship, or tell you to switch to soy. It is a heartfelt, brutally honest story about sometimes, when at a crisis point, you might realise you have absolutely no idea what to do; and that’s okay.

One thing that we all wanted to ensure from our first coffee-soaked meetings, whilst trying to plan the first version of Small Plans (that showcased in a disused office in October 2013), was to make sure the humour was not lost from the script. Katy’s journey as a character is not always filled with happiness, rainbows, or kittens; however, it is rooted with a sharp, unbiased, and honest humour of her own unfortunate predicament.

This honest and macabre humour is the driving force of Small Plans, something that we wanted to make sure was shown throughout. Which led us to the realisation that serious issues sometimes do not have to be shown in a serious way. That some of the most thought-provoking and relatable films, TV shows and theatre, that we enjoy, is also probably the most entertaining – this what we wanted to achieve.

Katy is not a nice person, I wouldn’t even go as far to say she is a good person; however, she is still a person – a person who laughs, cries, and dances awfully when she’s had too much to drink; just like anybody else. She is someone who does not try to complain about the awful things that happen to her, she just tries to see if she can even come close to understanding why; failing that, she just tries to accept that it happened and move on – just like everybody else.

Everyday tragedy is ripe; however, comedy is also – it is the trials and tribulations of the day-to-day. Seeing in the story that sometimes the big plans don’t go to plan, and that it’s the small plans that make it all worthwhile, made us realise that sometimes there is nothing wrong with making your point whilst making people laugh, or at the very least smile!

Small Plans is at The Marlowe Studio on Saturday 4 October, 8pm. Click here to view an album of production photos. Find Silent Uproar Productions on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

A glimpse into To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill A Mockingbird. Photo by Johan Persson (previous cast).

Photo by Johan Persson (previous cast).

Following sell-out performances at London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, the  highly-acclaimed new production of To Kill A Mockingbird starts its tour with us at The Marlowe tomorrow night (Tuesday 16 September).

Press Officer Sarah Munday and Arts Marketing Trainee Lucie Blockley were lucky enough to catch it as it wound up its (second) season at the Open Air Theatre.

Lucie writes…

Sitting in the glaring afternoon sun at Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre, I felt a step closer to the hot Deep South summer unfolding onstage before me.

The weather was playing its part in creating a fitting atmosphere for the production, with the assistance of the greenery and soundscape of Regent’s Park as a backdrop.

The audience were transported into Depression-era Alabama through the narration of eight-year-old Scout, with the inventive use of setting and storytelling. The stage itself started as a clean slate, but quickly became a chalk-drawn map of Maycomb, evolving constantly with the story’s twists and turns.

By doing away with excessive trappings of costume and props, I was completely sucked into Scout’s world and the tragic events unfolding. Even whilst competing with the helicopters, thumping music and general racket of central London, the cast held a completely captivated audience in this fantastic adaptation.

Rehearsal photo: Arthur Franks as Jem, Connor Brundish as Dill and Ava Potter as Scout. Photo by Johan Persson.

Rehearsal photo: Arthur Franks as Jem, Connor Brundish as Dill and Ava Potter as Scout. Photo by Johan Persson.

Sarah writes…

I guess like most people, To Kill A Mockingbird was a classic I read at school, many years ago. Along with titles like The Catcher In The Rye, Wuthering Heights, and 1984, these amazing books have stayed with me all this time.

The mists of time may have clouded my mind, but minutes into the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s superb production of Mockingbird, the characters of Harper Lee’s novel came back to life!

With a sparse set, it was left to the excellent cast (with special mention to Daniel Betts as Atticus Finch, and Ava Potter – in her acting debut – as his daughter, Scout), and the words of the book, to tell the tale of racial injustice in America’s Deep South in the 1930s.

The small cast are planted amongst the audience at the start of play; the first we are aware of them is as each stand in turn to read from the pages.

Once on stage, each still clutching their copy of the book, they continue with the narration, interspersed with the words and actions of the characters they occasionally become (with the help of some very clever costume changes).

The books each actor carries play an important role until the very end: but I won’t spoil it here by telling you what happens!

As Lucie says, the production did have to battle against a busy London soundscape, but this provided small distraction (to the audience; most certainly not to the cast), which we won’t experience in the confines of The Marlowe Theatre.

Having said this, it will be interesting to see how Mockingbird transfers from the reasonably intimate setting of the Regent’s Park theatre, to our main auditorium. Either way, I urge you not to miss this mesmerising and deeply moving production.

To Kill A Mockingbird is at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury from Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 September. A limited number of discounted Discovery Tickets are available for anyone aged 16-26 years or full-time students (over 16 years).

The Marlowe meets…Sir Roger Moore

By Steve Pratt

Sir Roger Moore.

Sir Roger Moore is embarking on a UK-wide theatre tour, opening here Sunday 14 September, to talk about his life and career from stage to screen, from Pinewood to Hollywood. He talks about having fun, laughing at yourself and acting with your eyebrows then gets serious to talk about his work with UNICEF.

How to address Roger Moore? Certainly not Mr Moore as he’s a knight of the realm. Arise Sir Roger Moore. But he’s equally famous as James Bond from the 007 films, not forgetting Lord Brett Sinclair from The Persuaders and Simon Templar alias The Saint in TV hits. Those with long memories might add two more TV roles, the title character in Ivanhoe and Beau Maverick in the American western series Maverick.

Is there another actor who can claim to be known in quite so many and so varied roles on screens, big and small? Somehow he’s always remained himself – smooth, suave, amusing. It’s a part he plays to perfection and has kept him in work from early days as a young actor in weekly rep and a Hollywood contract player to movie stardom, holding a licence to kill as James Bond between 1973 and 1985.

At 86, he has much to talk about which makes An Evening With Roger Moore such a good idea. He toured the show in 2012 and 2013, and now has 12 new dates this autumn to towns and cities chosen, he jokes, because his wife Kristin wants to visit them.

Sir Roger is a great joker and prankster. Film sets, you gather, are never dull when he’s around. A nice line in self-deprecating humour has stood him in good stead during a career when critics haven’t always been kind about his performances. Taking the line that if you can’t beat them, join them he “invented” the Roger Moore eyebrow acting technique – a joke seized upon by those mischievous Spitting Image folk. The whole joke that his eyebrows are the only part of him that act was his fault. Being self-derogatory, he noted he had just three expressions – left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised and no eyebrows raised. “I remember at the time my agent said you must stop staying these bad things about yourself and I said, ‘but they’re saying them already’.”

Sir Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Sir Roger Moore as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me.

When I phone him he’s at his summer home in Monaco, soon to head off for a couple of weeks in London promoting his new book, Last Man Standing: Tales From Tinseltown before hitting the road for his stage tour.

He’ll be interviewed on stage by author Gareth Owen, who worked with Moore on his autobiography My Word Is My Bond and Bond Is Bond. In truth, Sir Roger needs little encouragement to launch into another humorous story about his life and career. For him every picture tells a story, often with a punchline at his expense. Although deliciously gossipy, his stories are never malicious. Writing his autobiography he made it a rule not to be horrible about people. “It’s not my style to put it in print, being nasty about people. It’s very unfair, particularly on people who are dead. Even worse if they are alive.”

He didn’t start writing his autobiography until the eve of his 80th birthday in 2007. Why so late in life? “It took me a long time to learn to spell,” he replies. “It’s a bit like the tour and not having been in some of the towns since 1949 – I say I am back by popular demand,” he says.

Despite his great success on screen, theatre figured in his early career with his current tour not only bringing back memories of those days but also reminding him of the moment he realised it was to be an actor’s life for him. “The reason I like to wander around theatres from time to time is that feeling you have when you can hear the house chatting away, hear the bells go and the lights gradually diminish. You hear the swish of the curtain, take a deep breath – and you’re on,” he recalls with a temporary seriousness.

“It’s that feeling I love. Like that first time I did an audition for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and thought this is really what I want to do. That’s the most wonderful thing about our profession. If you are working in a profession with the highest unemployment rate, then no actor is acting because he has to do it. It’s because he wants to do it. It’s a very lucky profession to be in. I can’t imagine what it would be like doing manual labour.”

Yet as James Bond, Sir Roger was involved in his fair share of physical action, I suggest. “Oh, you mean the love scenes – they were terrible to do,” he says. “I got a few knocks and bruises when explosions happened before they should,” he says. Thankfully his main acting tool, his eyebrows, weren’t singed.

He knew the time had come to hang up his secret agent’s badge before playing Bond for the last time. “It wasn’t because of the physical stuff as I could still play tennis for two hours a day and do a one-hour workout every morning. Physically I was okay but facially I started looking… well, the leading ladies were young enough to be my grand-daughter and it becomes disgusting.”

Sir Roger Moore in The Saint.

Sir Roger Moore in The Saint.

Bond is just one of his repertoire of roles. Ask why his CV is so varied and this ever-jolly-Roger says, “People have kept giving me different roles to see if I could get any better”.

As you gather from talking to him, fun is the keyword for happiness. “If you are not able to laugh at things and laugh at yourself throughout life, then life is unbearable,” he says.

There is one subject on which he is serious – his work as an ambassador for UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) for the past 24 years. He was recruited by actress Audrey Hepburn who invited him to accompany her on a visit to an international children’s ward. “It was listening to her and her passion and her elegance on the subject of the children that intrigued me, that gave me the thirst for more,” he recalls.

“I am so grateful because it changed my life and I have been able to do things for UNICEF. It sounds a bit po-faced and pompous but it’s doing something good in life apart from prancing around in pictures.”