Billionaire Boy is one of many children’s books written by David Walliams, some of which have already been created into BBC Drama’s. The cast consisted of several familiar faces including David Walliams, John Thomson and Catherine Tate, along with Elliot Sprakes (The Boy) and some other familiar faces including Warwick Davies.
Billionaire Boy – An opportunity to do something different
Throughout our lives, we all come across opportunities to do something a little different, and this should always be taken as the opportunity may not come around again. Agency Oakroyd has offered me several supporting artist roles, but I have never been able to say yes to them due to work commitments. This has been frustrating since I had first had the opportunity to be part of ‘The Great Train Robbery’ as one of the Police Officers. It has taken three years for another opportunity to come along and this time I was not going to miss it.
“Could you be a Footman tomorrow & Tues in Wentworth? P x”
This was the text message I received from my supporting artist agent, Paula. My stomach immediately churned over and I was a little anxious about what it would entail, but I didn’t want to let these feelings of anxiety stop me from having a go. I DIDN’T WANT TO MISS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY.
Day 1 – Billionaire Boy
As I drove into the grounds of Wentworth House I followed two other cars which were already at the other end of the long drive leading into the estate. As I didn’t have a clue where I was going on the grounds, I just followed.
Coming past the trees revealed this huge mansion which was Wentworth House. I stopped for a few seconds to take in this breathtaking building and to snap a quick photo.
I joined the rest of the supporting artists, about 16 in total who all made me feel really welcome and I got to know everyone over a nice warm brew. After a short wait, all the men went for hair and makeup and the women were taken down to the house for their costumes.
I was given a neat comb-over and when everyone was done we headed over to the house to get into our costumes.
Despite this building being amazing and with tonnes of history, you could see it was showing it’s age as we entered. Apparently the estate is up for sale at a cool £7million, however, if you think that is cheap for such a grand estate, there is also an estimated £43million to spend on it to bring it back to its former glory. That said, I love building’s like this and it was a fantastic place to be.
I’d looked at a few images the night before of what footmen would wear, to get an idea of what we would look like. Brian who was the other Footman didn’t have a clue either. I remember Brian saying to me “Good job we watched Krypton Factor as kid’s!” as he put on his costume. Yes, these vintage costumes are a bit of a task to put on and we had several revisions to our frilly bits at the front by the costume staff. The tights were a bit of a struggle too!
Despite us all being ready, they were still filming some of the other scenes so it was off back to the catering van for some lunch. I stayed away from the chilli and curry to avoid any spillage on the white bits of our costume. Not the healthiest, but burger and chips it was!
We eventually all got back up to the filming location, which was a grand room in the centre of the building and we were all lined up ready for the scene. As well as the two footmen, they had housemaids, a groom, cooks, a porter, a tailor and others. For our scene, we had the main actors John Thomson, Elliot Sprakes and Warwick Davis and it was great that John was always trying to make us laugh between the takes. Great bloke.
Day 2 – Billionaire Boy
A few days later I returned back to Wentworth House for my second day of filming as a Footman. This time I was joined by my wife Helen who was booked as a reporter and one of the evening guests in the ‘party scene’.
Today was a manic day as there were over 120 supporting artists from different agencies filling in the numbers during this scene. The main actors were now joined by Catherine Tate whilst myself and Brain had the pleasure of opening the main doors for Master Sprakes as he entered the room, teasing us with his Krispy Creme doughnuts he had been given for between his scenes. We had no lunch that day! We were starving!
Never miss an opportunity
Being a supporting artist for the first time was a great experience. I met some great people and it was fantastic to do something different. There are always like-minded people who do this sort work and it’s great to find out about what they do. My anxieties for the first day could have easily stopped me from going. Anxiety has done this to me in the past and I have regretted not doing things because of it.
The thing is, whenever you have an anxiety about doing something new, this sort of reaction is natural. However, because of the anxiety you will overthink things and start to make yourself worse by thinking of things that aren’t actually there. This can be a vicious circle.
How many times have you had this feeling, then afterthought, that wasn’t half as bad as I expected.
Remember this when trying new things. I tell this to my kids every time they are trying something new, NEVER MISS AN OPPORTUNITY.