I might not have mentioned this but part of my day job involves running a mortuary in hospital. It can be fascinating work and not, as you might think, morbid. It’s an honour to be able to help people at a difficult time in their lives and to guide them through the process of dealing with a death in the family. It’s also proved to be very useful for background and research for my novels.
But there’s a side to running a mortuary you might not be aware of. Film and television companies often need to use such a place because of the need for authentic locations.
And that’s what’s happening today. A crew from the BBC are here filming part of an episode for the twentieth anniversary series of ‘Silent Witness’. I’ve got people crawling all over the place with light metres, clip boards and mouth-pieces, giving and receiving instructions from yet more people out of sight. They’re rehearsing and shooting and doing it all again – and again (with different lighting or some other variation). It’s all great fun. I can’t give away any details but it looks set to be an exciting story and well worth watching.
It also takes me back to when I was an actress. I did my share of hanging around on location waiting to be called to the set. I did more hanging around than acting, of course, but that’s the nature of the beast.
Thinking about this also makes me aware of a very sweet irony. I’m sure you know that there are many more actresses than there are acting jobs for them and it was no different when I was treading the boards. The one golden rule is that you have to be pro-active to get work; you’ve got to have a lot of drive because no job ever, EVER, falls into your lap. Well, the tables have turned for me on a few occasions in that regard because now and again the director has asked, ASKED, if I’d mind playing the part of the mortuary attendant. Yes, the show-business unthinkable has happened – I didn’t have to hustle for the work. Here’s a picture from one of those times to prove it. OK, silence everybody please . . . and action.