admin   September 16th, 2007   No Comments

As I work 5 minutes from The Duke of Yorks theatre it has been easy for me to attempt to meet Orlando Bloom. I think at the beginning I was thinking I would be lucky to get anywhere near him little did I know I would be lucky enough to meet him 14 times over the play’s 3 month run.

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In Celebration is about three brothers – Andrew, Colin and Steven – who return home to the northern roots of their childhood for a family reunion. Although they have returned to celebrate, the explosive complexities of family life and long-held grievances are unlikely to improve the chances of a decent party. It was Compelling and emotionally thrilling, it’s an exploration of family love and of how the consequences of best intentions can threaten to destroy treasured hopes and dreams. ob6 (2)

If I try and write every detail of all 14 visits it will take forever so I thought I would give you a summary and highlights.

Firstly Orlando was wonderful if the play. I had never seen him in the theatre before and was interested to know how good he would be. Watching someone you like perform live is a funny thing. You are used to seeing them on the TV or at the cinema on a screen but for them to literally be right in front of you for 2 and a half hours is quite something.ob6

I had front row tickets and although I was looking upwards at the stage I could still had a fantastic view.

Throughout the whole run Orlando came out to greet fans after every performance and signed for as many people as he could. He spent a lot of time with the fans knowing that a lot had come from other countries to see him and the play. After the first week his security team seemed to have an organised system going.  We got know the security quite well over this few months and I remember one of them telling me he was the nicest celebrity he had ever worked for.

Lowlights

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 Being trampled on by fans during my first visit. I spent 10 hours waiting for Orlando and when he finally came out there was such a crush of fans trying to get to him I was pushed out of the way and trodden on. End up going home with nothing but very bruised body!

 

After the last performance Orlando came out to greet fans as he usually did. Unfortunately an idiot driving by threw a bottle at him and it smashed not far from him. His security bungled him to his waiting taxi and that was that. His safety came first of course I felt for all those who had been waiting patiently for hours on end.

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After the day I was trampled on I went back to the theatre during my lunch break and gave a letter to a member of staff at the stage door for Orlando. I was pretty certain at that I wouldn’t get to meet him so I sent him an SAE with an ‘In Celebration’ flyer and a letter telling him what had happened the night before. I honestly did not expect anything back so when I did 3 days later I couldn’t believe my luck. I got this amazing personally signed flyer from Orlando and 3 kisses!!!

Towards the end of the run I bought Orlando a book on Buddhism which I had given him the week before. I know he is a Buddhist so I thought it was a nice thank you for all his efforts. When he moved along the line of fans towards me I asked

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him if you had like the book. He bent down a bit and out his hand on my arm to hear me again as he didn’t catch what I had said. I asked him had received and liked the book I had bought him on Buddhism and he said ‘yeah thank you’.

 

He asked me if I practiced Buddhism and I said ‘yes I do’ (even though I don’t) it was the first thing that came into my head! He was then ushered along with the wave of fans and his security.

Highlights

Getting to see Orlando’s dog Sidi up close. Sidi often came to the theatre with Orlando. I got a couple of photos of him leaving the theatre for a walk with Orlando’s mother Sonia..

Making some lovely new friends waiting at the stage door including Rosie being one who was able to build a beautiful little bond with Orlando during those months.

The sheer number of amazing close up photos I was able to take was around the 350 mark. I was very lucky that other than the first time I failed to meet Orlando I managed to get up close to him every time. I managed to get a good number of signed flyers and theatre programmes for fans who couldn’t get to see the show.

All photos are my own.

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admin   May 6th, 2007   No Comments

So having followed John’s career since the days of All Creatures great and small (where he played Callum the vet) I had decided to put a small archive website together of John’s work. I spent many months collecting everything I could for the website and it online. I then decided to write to John explaining the reason for the website and to get his blessing for it and whether he could contribute to the site by way of answering fan questions, providing any personal photos of filming etc.

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I honestly didn’t think he would be interested but he replied within a week or so saying how wonderful the whole idea was and that he was chuffed that I wanted to support him in this way. After a few months to writing to each other he then gave me his home address for me to write to him instead of having to go through his again every time. It was about this time that I found out he was going to be a musical Tutti Frutti where he played the drummer. As he is professional jazz drummer this role suited him very well although it was something he had not done for many year he was really looking forward to getting stuck into.

The play started off in Glasgow and was sell went on tour and ended up at the Blackpool Grand theatre for 3 nights. I had booked a hotel for a couple of nights and arranged to meet John an hour after my arrival. (We were texting each other by this time).  We met and he was so friendly and funny. We walked to Starbucks which was round the corner from the theatre. We were there for about an hour. He spoke about his life, things he would still like to do and of the website. He signed a few DVDs for me and we chatted about the play.

He asked me if I had already purchased a ticket for the show which of course I had and he said he thought he may be able to get me a ticket for free as his guest. Unfortunately when we went to the box office they weren’t able to refund my ticket so that little plan fell flat.

After a couple of hours we parted for him to go to rehearsals but agreed to meet after the show at the pub next door. My ticket was for the matinee the following afternoon so I had most of the evening to myself.

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I made my way to the pub and waited for John to arrive. I had by chance also been in touch with the lead actor Tom Urie who appeared in the bar first. He recognised me straight away and came over to say hello. John eventually arrived and we spent about 20 minutes in the pub before heading off to another bar about 10 minutes away. John asked if I was coming with them and of course I couldn’t resist the offer.

The second bar wasn’t busy so we found a few tables in the corner and spent the next few hours there. The rest of the cast were lovely and I felt part of the gang which was great considering they had only just met me. It was great to site with John and chat for so long which I didn’t expect at all. I asked him about working with actress Amanda Burton in the first series of Silent Witness which is one of my fave TV series and we talked a lot about filming Roughnecks a series he did about a group of guys working on an oil rig (also starring Liam Cunningham and James Cosmo from Game of Thrones).

Everyone had lots to drink including me. John and I left at about 2am and being the perfect gent that he is wrapped his jacket round me whilst were waiting for a taxi as it was so chilly. He dropped me off at my hotel and we arrange to meet again to following day after the matinee. I was very ready for bed as it had been such a long day.

The following I awoke to a text from John asking me how my head was after the previous night’s drinking. I said that it wasn’t too bad because I had drunk a pint of water before going to bed and that I would see him after the matinee.

I went for a run along the beach in the morning. Blackpool you always think will be a hive of activity but this was the beginning of May and re peak season so there was nothing going on which I actually preferred anyway.

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The show itself was fantastic. Really enjoyed the whole performance and the guys and girls were fantastic. The only disappointment was there were only a hand full of people there watching the show. After the sell in Scotland it must have a bit of a shock to see no more than 40 people in the audience.

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After the show I went the stage door and met John. He suggested an idea for the website would be for me to take a few photos of him on stage playing the drums so invited me into the theatre and actually took me onto the stage. It was really strange sitting on the edge of the stage taking photos of John. I glanced into the empty audience and imagined what it would be like to perform when it was full with people.

After we finished I waited for him outside whilst he got changed. John suggested going for lunch at a fish and chips shop on the promenade so we did. Didn’t take us long to find on and spent an hour just chatting about the play and amongst other things.

John told me that the cast had booked a table at a Greek restaurant that evening after the performance and that he had put my name down go with him to which I was delighted. I really did not expect that. He had also got the whole cast to sign my Tutti Frutti theatre programme for me which was amazingly sweet thing to do considering I only expected his signature no it.

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So again the time came for us to part. I wished him well for that night’s performance and said I would meet him the pub next door after the show.

I had a little walk around that afternoon. Can’t say I was overly impressed with Blackpool in May to be honest. Later that night I met John at the stage door and we walked with some of the cast to the restaurant. John and I were seated next to each other. We spent the next few hours eating, drinking and talking. It was wonderful spending so much time with the cast. They were certainly a bunch of heavy drinkers. I kept pinching myself, I couldn’t believe I had been so lucky to spend so time with John. I finally got round to getting some photos of me with John that evening.

The following morning I thanked John for looking after me so well and said I would be in touch. It was a great few days. John and I kept in touch for a number of years whilst I was running his website. I will never forget his kindness.

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