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by dr andrew cousins

Richard E Fulsome's BAFTA Diary

Richard E. Fulsome is one of Britain’s best-known actors. He first came to public attention in the cult British classic ‘Two Pissed Blokes talking Bollocks’ in 1982. Since then he has appeared in over thirty-seven films including ‘Hudson Mess’, ‘LA Dreary’ and the biggest grossing British film of all time ‘Four Weddings, A Funeral and Forty Two Gratuitous Uses of the Word "Fuck"’. He is also a celebrated diarist and so I asked him to record his impressions of this year’s BAFTA Film Awards.
The Pre-Show Bash
Can it only be a year since the last ceremony? How fast Time’s winged chariot doth fly! As soon as I arrive I am instantly besieged by the Visigoths that are the Press. I answer their questions in as witty a way as I can. All the time the words DON’T SWEAR are rattling around my thespianic brainbox. Luckily I survive.

I made my way to the buffet. I am unfortunately allergic to canapés and so have to console myself with a cucumber sandwichette. I’m not presenting an award this year and so momentarily eye up the wine table — I resist the temptation as I have already broken my OTHER New Year resolution by appearing in Jerry Bruckheimer’s new film ‘Testosterone Fuelled Nonsense’ — it’s a working title apparently.

I bump into my old chumbo Hugh Grant. He has a new spiky hair-do, which he insists he has adopted because of a part he’s playing and not because of some sad mid-life crisis following his split from darling Liz. I tell him that he looks like Dennis the Menace. He informs me that he has heard that one once or twice already — a trifle coldly I thought. Heigh-ho.

Am accosted by Mariella Frostrup who is doing interviews for Sky Television. She press-gangs me into appearing before the cameras. She’s a fiendishly clever interviewer. Although it appears on the surface that her questions are bland and superficial they are in fact searching inquiries into the state of one’s psyche. She could be bigger then Parkinson if she had her own show. After the interview she nips off for a quick cigarette during the commercial break. I take the opportunity to say hello to Julie Walters who has just arrived. Lovely Julie — we last worked together on a Victoria Wood Christmas Special for the Beeb. I congratulate her on her nomination for Billy Elliot She confides in me that she’s "cacking her knickers" and will be "gobsmacked" if she wins. I laugh even though I didn’t understand a word of what she was talking about.

I scan the room to see who else is here — I spy Annette Benning, Tom Hanks and Joaquin Phoenix. Darling French actress Juliette Binoche has come to present an award as well. Such a room full of talent! I feel quite humbled for a moment and a lone tear runs down my cheek. The moment is broken by the call to make our way to the award ceremony.

The Awards
I usually hate the actual ceremony — they’re far too long and the speeches are the same old, tearful "I’d like to thank" nonsense. This year was greatly enlivened by the presence of my old showbiz pal Stephen Fry. He’s a terribly witty man — wittier in fact then the noted wit, Witty McWit of Wit Cottage, Witty Under Lyme. Stephen has this wonderful gift of making everybody in the room love him, whilst at the same he’s actually being quite rude about them. It’s a true gift and one that I wish I possessed. The only time I tried it was when I met my great heroine Barbra Streisand. She was telling me how she found English humour so clever and sophisticated. I replied how much I loved her screwball comedies like ’Funny Girl’ and ‘What’s Up Doc?’. Then in an attempt to "do a Fry" I said, "Mind you, I thought ‘Yentil’ was a bit shit!". Very shortly afterwards I was asked to leave.
Julie Walters has won Best Supporting Actress! SUPERBSKI! Her acceptance speech was warm and funny. She is a jewel in the crown of British Cinema. A Damehood, I say! Tom Hanks naughtily tries to upstage her slightly when Mariella interviews her backstage. What a scamp. He’s grown a beard for a part in Sam Mendes new film. It makes him look like an insurance salesman.

More triumph for Britain as Billy Elliot wins Best British Film! How wonderful for them all. It reminds me of my own humble film debut in Two Pissed Blokes Talking Bollocks — I wish them all similar success. Mentally make a note to get my agent to contact Stephen Daldry so that we can "do lunch".

Am delighted that Ridley Scott doesn’t go away empty handed when he wins the Orange Audience Award for Gladiator. He seems slightly distracted during his acceptance speech and inexplicably calls Stephen "Christopher Fry". Mucho bizzaro.

The undoubted highlight of the evening was seeing the utterly, totally, inconceivably superb Jamie Bell win Best Actor. And how magnanimous of the other nominees to be so generous in their applause. There was an audible gasp heard around the auditorium when the result was read out. A magical moment. I shed a silent tear at the beauty of the moment. The camaraderie of the business we call "show" can be quite magnificent at times. I am humbled.

The Post-Show Party
The post-show party is even livelier this year then I can ever remember it being. It’s as if the whole room is buzzing with renewed vigour as a new age dawns for the British Film Industry. Of course, the free bar helps as well.

I meet Russell Crowe who is sporting a 1970’s football player-style haircut. He insists that it is for a part he’s playing and not the result of a sad mid-life crisis following his break-up with Meg Ryan. Mention of sweet Meg results in some momentary tension, as I am a good chum of her and ex-hubby Dennis Quaid. The ice is broken by the welcome intervention of Mr Fry who enquires how Russell’s cows are coming on. We’re there for a good twenty minutes as Russell describes the care of cattle in great detail. I come away with a greater understanding of the world of the beef farmer. What a wonderful world show business is.

I pass a large crowd gathered around Ridley Scott. He is telling them in great detail about his plans for a new three and a half hour cut of ‘Blade Runner’. "The original’s just too fast paced." he says. I’m not a big science fiction buff and make my excuses.

By now people are starting to drift away. Some are going to private parties elsewhere - others are heading home. I opt for the latter option, as I have to be on the plane to LA in two days time. I’m appearing in the 2nd remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’ where I will be transformed into an orang-utan. We don’t start filming for two months but the cast all have to attend an "ape school" where we will be taught to walk like an ape. "You hardly need tuition", my wife said when I told her - a touch unnecessary I thought. Still, fellow luvvies Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter are also starring in the film so they should be good for a giggle. Helena has a new hairstyle, which she insists is for the film and not the result of a sad midlife crisis following her break-up with Kenneth Branagh.

Farewell then BAFTA! Until next year I bid thee fare well!


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