I guess you are still wondering about the bit in my second blog about how I only became an actress because of men’s bottoms.
I bet you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, so to speak.
The thing is that for the whole of my pre-teen years I wanted to become a nurse. A proper nurse like in Emergency Ward 10 which was the Eastenders of the 60’s. EW Ten (no it was never actually called that but what the hell) was the precursor of the modern medical soap: Casualty, Holby, House etc. In EW10 the nurses wore uniforms to die for and I lusted for one of those uniforms almost as much as I fancied the rugged young Doctor Moone, played by John Alderton, who made me go weak at the knees.
More than Dickie Moone though, I wanted a starched white cap on my head, a crisp apron and a dinky little upside-down watch. I would make the perfect nurse, it was my destiny. I studied Nurse Carol Young – don’t worry if you’ve never heard of her you can imagine her surely: petite but strong, slim but curvy, blonde but knowing. I knew I could do her job. I could soothe a fevered brow; shake the mercury in a thermometer and inject a life-saving dose of penicillin into a briskly disinfected forearm.
I had it all planned out. I’d work hard and pass 0-level biology and go to nursing school and learn how to gossip in the sluice room – whatever that might be.
Which is why I trained as a classical actress.
You see in the 1960’s there were no male nurses to speak of. Well there might have been but not on television dramas and probably only in asylums anyway. A male nurse was a contradiction because, don’t forget, gay love was still illegal as I grew up so my mum’s pin-up Liberace was just an eccentric and couldn’t possibly have anything to do with men’s bottoms.
And, of course, neither could I.
Nurses, the older girl who used to walk me to school delighted in telling me, did not only dampen perspiring foreheads, take pulses and exchange knowing glances with a smouldering doctor across the patient’s bed. Nurses were compelled to perform bed washes. They had to flannel all areas; including male front bottoms. They had to change seeping dressings on infected doodahs and apply unguents to bumps on elderly men with wrinkled rear ends. Need I say more?
Haemorrhoids, bed pans and vomit were not for me.
Then inspiration hit! I’d go to drama school and become the real real thing: I could be an actress playing a nurse opposite John Alderton in Emergency Ward 10!
It never happened. By the time I finished training EW10 had been axed in favour of Emmerdale Farm and John Alderton had married Pauline – Shirley Valentine – Collins.
Anyway, there’s no point in me playing a nurse nowadays because they have to wear stuff called scrubs which make them look like painters and decorators.
Proper nurses ought to have waists and black stockings with seams …….. and no I never did consider becoming a sex-worker.
However, should you know anyone casting a period drama who might need an older actress to swan about a ward then do point them in my direction.
I can provide my own dinky little upside down watch.