Shamelessly good time with Alice!

I had great fun in my bar, Fibre in Leeds last weekend. My fellow Directors and I were holding an April Showers themed party for our VIP guests and friends in the top floor Directors Lounge.

We had encouraged everyone to come dressed for the theme in their wellies and with brollies and not wanting to miss an opportunity for dressing up, their outfits didn’t disappoint. One member of staff even dressed as a cloud!

I was delighted when a friend brought along actress Alice Barry who plays Lillian Tyler in the Bafta award winning comedy drama series Shameless.

Shameless, now in its 5th series, is one of my favourite TV programmes and one of the few things on TV that I will stay in for. My partner Michael and I love it’s portrayal of chav culture in Manchester, particularly as Michael was brought up in Salford.

‘Lillian’ had scrubbed up well for the party and ditched her tracksuit however as she wears glasses in real life she really did look like she was still in character. They weren’t quite as ‘Deidre Barlowesque’ but enough to keep me amused. Her strong Lancashire accent is also real and not adopted for the part like a lot of stars. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Jean Alexander aka Hilda Ogden speak in public, she was so posh.

I spent a while chatting with her and couldn’t resist telling her I was a big fan of Shameless and 2 other shows she previously starred in �" Phoenix Nights and Clocking Off.

She’s a lovely lady, but fairly quiet compared to me. She kept a serious face on most of the time which made me laugh even more as I kept thinking of her resemblance to Mel B’s caricature of Bo Selecta. I know she wasn’t offended by my humour however, as she’s invited herself to my house for a dinner party.

It would be great fun to get some of the other Shameless cast members round for dinner too, especially if they came dressed as their characters. Our neighbours would be surprised!

Secret Millionaire �" Where are they now?

The episode of Secret Millionaire which I appeared in was repeated on Channel 4 last week, and I received lots more texts from people who hadn’t seen it before. One text came from pop star Gareth Gates who I’ve met loads of times and get along well with.

He text to say he loved the programme and got emotional watching it. He’s very close to his Mum too so I guess he can identify with missing home like I did while filming down in Cornwall.

I have to admit to watching the repeat as every time I see it there are different aspects that affect me.

I’ve already been contacted by the Producers who are looking into the possibility of making a follow up programme. I’ve got to know the people I met in Cornwall much better in the year since we filmed and would love to get involved an update of what we are all doing now and how the programme affected their lives.

I’m also in touch with most of the other Secret Millionaire’s and we are discussing how collectively we can help and raise awareness of community projects around the UK. So watch this space…

My Missed Hollywood Opportunity

Regular Examiner readers may remember last summer when I travelled to Las Vegas to watch boxer Ricky Hatton defeat Jose Luis Castillo. During my trip, as well as meeting Wayne Rooney and his fiancée Coleen McLoughlin, I visited the set of the movie Iron Man which stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr.

I used my English charm and easily managed to worm my way past security and queued up for a costume with the extras outside the famous Caesar’s Palace Hotel where the action was happening. Whilst waiting I picked up some acting tips by watching a few scenes being filmed but after a couple of hours of that I got bored and decided my film debut could wait.

The film has just been released in this country and I couldn’t believe it when the producers broke the story that 29 year old Carl Kelly of Knebworth blagged himself a part when he explained to security guards that he’d left his pass inside and eventually ended up sharing the set with Gwyneth.

Apparently the guards believed his excuse and let him in because he had a British accent. Exactly how I had convinced them too.

Having no previous acting experience it took him 38 takes to perfect his lines and he missed his plane home as a result. Sounds like it was worth it to me and I’m kicking myself for missing out on the opportunity of Hollywood stardom!