Birds of a Feather

Linda Robson and Me

Linda Robson and Me

My workmate, Martin and I went for a drink after work today. Initially, we had thought of going to “Henry, Henry” at the Henry Dean Plaza, but as usual for a Friday it was busy and noisy. So we thought, then, of another nearby bar which, oddly enough was closed. And so wandered over to the Crystal Palace, one of those older-style pubs which hasn’t had one of those chrome and timber makeovers. It’s kinda daggy, and most of the crowd probably have drinking problems. But had we not chosen the Crystal Palace, I would not have met Linda Robson who played Tracey in “Birds Of A Feather”.

Just like the pub itself, “Birds Of A Feather” was a little daggy. But it was one of those great English comedies which survived for many years thanks to its simple honesty. I first remember watching it on a Saturday night sometime after “The Bill”. At its heart was the story of two sisters forced to live together after their husbands were sent to gaol. Working class girls through and through, they became unlikely friends with their middle-class next door neighbour, Dorian. Like the girls, though, she was also a little lonely, as she and her husband seemed to lead separate lives, and though Dorian was often portrayed as a bit of a slut, you knew she also had a heart of gold.

As Tracey, Linda Robson was the “nice sister” who remained in love with her husband behind bars, caring for the welfare of their son, and providing home and shelter to her her less well-off sister Michelle, played by Pauline Quirke.

Almost fifty, Linda Robson is in Australia for the “Grumpy Old Women Tour”.

When she and her grand-daughter (I imagine) sat down next to us she caught my eye. “Is it OK for us to sit here”, she inquired, concerned that the girl (who was maybe 10 or 11) wouldn’t be allowed to sit on the footpath bar outside the “Crystal Palace”. I assured her it was fine, even though I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a breach of the licensing laws.

As Martin and I were on our second beer, I had decided to ask her if I could have a photograph and had asked Martin if he would take the photograph. As we were about to leave I asked her, apologising for interupting the conversation she was having with her daughter (I think) and grandkinds. “No worries she said, though I better put on some make-up”, she joked. Of course, she could have told me to piss off, but didn’t and was really nice about the invasion of her private space.

As a way of apologising, I guess, I told her I was going to see the show next Wednesday night. “Hopefully, it’ll be alright by then” she joked in that wonderful accent of hers.

I thanked her, and immediately SMS’d a couple of friends who would know who she was. A nice moment. And of course, I couldn’t wait to blog about this.

  1. That’s exciting! I haven’t seen that show for years, in fact the last place I remember seeing it was at school. I used to really enjoy it though. Well done for recognising her and plucking up the courage to ask for a picture!

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  2. Was Dorian the one who pranced about in all the bling and the pointy boots… a bit like a dominatrix housewife?

    Or have I been watching too much SBS?

    Felt the same way getting a photo with “DCI Meadows” from The Bill… A little tragic at the time – then told EVERYONE after!! :)

    CB

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  3. Tom – school!!! Make a man feel old, why dontcha?

    Cellobella – yes, that was Dorian. I met her too briefly a couple of years ago. One of those occasions when everyone needs to go into the studio for some reason or other at the same time as a famous guest arrives. And DCI Meadows? No more tragic than me with June and Jim. But I’m saving that story for the memoir which begins “I knew we had a problem when I got that phone call at 3am”.

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  4. Sorry! I left out the part about me not being allowed to watch it as it was past my bedtime when it first started!

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  5. Tom – stop, stop, I can’t take it anymore!

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