Steve Yabsley’s show went really well. Ten minutes after the interview finished, I got a booking for my Writer’s Retreat from a woman who’d heard me. Brilliant! I “Listened Again” to the whole thing afterwards and wasn’t too embarrassed. I spoke incredibly quickly and we galloped through my entire life. He brought up the George Michael fiasco, not me. Of course he asked me how I got into broadcasting.
Once upon a time I was an actor. (I know you’re supposed to say actor these days, rather than actress, but it doesn’t come naturally) Actors are occasionally asked to do presentation jobs, not always for broadcast television – for internal use within companies or, in this case, presenting a tourist information video which was going into the entertainment system of London hotels.
They rang my agent and asked for me, Annie Rice as I then was. No audition, nothing. Quite a big fee. Actually, a very big fee. I kept quiet about that; best not to draw attention to it obviously. Even my agent was confused, but she kept quiet too. 15% of a surprisingly large fee is a lot better than 15% of the usual peanuts I earned from tiny TV parts and rep.
I turned up, was introduced to my first autocue, acted blase, as you do, and did the job.
When I’d finished, the producer took me to one side. ‘Don’t be offended but we weren’t expecting you. I was told Anneka Rice is known as Annie in the business. We were a bit surprised when she agreed to do it to be honest, and for such a small fee! But you did a good job, thanks.’
I’d noticed the strange looks I’d got when I turned up. I assumed I’d tucked my dress in my knickers or smeared marmite down my face. Once I’d checked that wasn’t so, I dismissed their oddness as bad TV manners. Poor things, they’d been terribly disappointed not to see that massive smile and pert bottom. Maybe they’d even half expected me to descend into their midst dangling from a helicopter.
So, suddenly, out of the blue, I had a tape of myself presenting quite a posh video. I wasn’t going to let that go to waste.