Names. They’re important to me. Choosing names for our children was a time consuming and fractious experience. Going through the same thing with my daughter was just as time consuming but more annoying in that I didn’t (although I tried, God how I tried) have the last word. And characters in books. Agonising. It’s so useful, slipping in a Tristan or a Camilla or a Chelsie or Jaden, knowing how hard those names are going to work for you, but it’s a dangerous business. Although they instantly conjure up a social class and an era, they say more about the parents’ aspirations than the child. So, in fiction, I try not to have names that shout too loud, just in case they drown out the truth. Then, there’s foreign names. I have lots of Dutch and German names in my current book. I really love the name Otto, but a German friend tells me it’s the German equivalent of Wally or Dick.
I left the story of My Accidental Career just after I’d been mistaken for Anneka Rice. I’d never even thought about Presenting but there I was with a lovely video tape of me presenting away fit to bust. I don’t think I’d ever really noticed television presenters before but now I’d dipped my toe into the warm waters of autocues and name checks, I started seeing these glorious creatures…hairspray and shoulder pads, eyes, teeth and tits. That could be me. Well, I’d never sprayed my hair in my life and the tits might need a bit of work, but shoulders, eyes and teeth? Fine. Lead me to the cue light.
I sent my tape to HTV West. A week later I went for a screen test and three weeks later I was a continuity announcer. We were in vision (new bras, hair spray, contacts and lip gloss) and in control of our own lights and microphone. No autocue though, which was a disappointment. We had to make it up as we went along.
Next time – how I changed Anneka’s name and she changed mine.