Wednesday, 11 April 2012

After Rome

The film crew have been busy again today, filming our expedition to discover the source of the Oooze.

Not surprisingly, given my celebrity status, I am often asked to make television appearances.

However, as you know, being somewhat self-effacing I prefer to only become involved in projects where my expertise can enlighten the viewer.

There has been much press speculation in London over Mister Boris Johnson's involvement with televisual productions - namely a series he did for the BBC called 'After Rome'.

It is a little known fact, however, that I was first approached to write and present this series.

I wrote a first draft script and there was even a test shoot to gauge my screen presence. They made me wear a coalscuttle - to represent a galea, a Roman soldier's helmet.

"Don't worry" the director assured me "You look great - we'll stick the Coliseum behind you in post-production !"

I could not tolerate the script interference though - here is an excerpt of what I wrote:

"The ancient kings certainly valued the elephant in war, some stating that 'an army without elephants is as despicable as a forest without a lion, a kingdom without a king or as valour unaided by weapons.'

The successful military use of elephants undoubtedly led to the collapse of the Roman Empire."

"Uuum" piped up the Director "I am just a little concerned that this could be seen as a bit pachyderm-centric ?"

Before I knew it I had been replaced by Mister Johnson who, they claimed, had a less revisionist approach to history than mine. Personally, I suspect the fact that he was willing to do it for £30,000, rather than the fee of £60,000 that I was asking for, had more bearing on their decision. I was not doing it for the money, of course, but for a good charitable cause.

Today, for the sake of Rupert, I soldiered on with this rather strange documentary they are making of our expedition.

This morning they had me swinging from a tree and pretending to rescue a distressed maiden from a man in a gorilla suit.

"Just a bit of fun - adds a bit of glamour you see!" snickered the Director.

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