Sunday, 31 January 2016

Hunting for Wogan in Warwickshire

We're at Brother Ted's house watching an ancient episode of Treasure Hunt from 1985 which was filmed in Warwickshire at a time when all my relatives who once lived there were still alive. The last clue was found in Wilmcote, where my wonderful Auntie Gill used to live. Edward and I went on a lengthy trip down memory lane as we watched it, looking down at the deep green trees and pinkish Warwickshire earth from Anneka Rice's helicopter! What a great show Treasure Hunt was (with the best theme tune in the world!)

I woke up early enough today to spend some time orchestrating Beyond the Fence, before heading off to NYMT auditions, which were happening in London. There are a huge number of London audition dates this year, all of which are over-subscribed to the extent that more staff have needed to be brought on board to deal with the demand. For the first time since I've worked with the company we split the auditionees into four groups instead of three. I sat in on auditions for the two older groups and we met some very interesting young people.

The room was full to the rafters with three of this season's show's musical directors, the director of brass, and two young lads who were auditioning to be part of the music team. When we walked in the space, the kids were standing around the piano doing a vocal warm up and there was something of a carnival atmosphere going on.

We heard some great singers and recalled a good number of them. There's a tendency for people to sing musical theatre songs in American accents, which means I don't have a clue if any of them can do a convincing Yorkshire accent. I find American accents in general rather off-putting when people are singing. I think people spend too long fussing over them to the extent that they threaten to stop people from engaging in true emotion. Most of the time they're utterly unnecessary in terms of the song's story and they usually force the singer's voice up into their nasal passages!

Speaking of true emotion, I was incredibly sad when Fiona greeted me this morning with the news that Terry Wogan had died. I have always considered Wogan to be a legend, not just because of his associations with Eurovision but because his voice and his radio show were such an enormous part of my childhood. My parents had tapes of pop music they'd recorded on his show. He used to play a lot of ABBA, which I think he called Grabba. I remember him cheekily calling Chiquitita "Take You teeth out." I always thought he looked like my Dad. They both had dark hair and lamb chop side burns. Actually, I think I used to wonder if my Dad and Wogan were the same person, in the way that my Mum apparently used to think her Mum was Vera Lynne! Fiona also used to think that her Dad was Terry Wogan... Popular figure. Anyway, his wit and warmth be deeply missed.

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