Diary of an urban grandad: Stan Cullimore
TRAIL Mix, strange name for something you eat, isn't it? Mind you, it tastes lovely and lots of things have strange names. Take this kids TV show I've been filming recently, for instance. It's called, 'Bottom Knocker Street'. Which is quite a strange name I suppose.
Either way, I think that from now on those two strangely named things will forever be linked in my mind's eye. If you're struggling to see the connection between a nutty fruit snack and a children's TV show, let me explain.
One of the things I have found about working in telly is how hard it is trying to explain to people who don't work in telly just how long shows take to make.
When you watch this one go out on air, as I did last weekend with my grandkids, every 11 minute episode seems to nip past you in the blink of an eye. Which is a good thing because time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?
But here's the thing. Making that little piece of amusing silliness, right here in Bristol, has taken a whole host of very talented people (and myself) absolutely ages.
Before the first camera started rolling, people had been working on it for months and months.
Even for someone like myself, with the relatively simple job of turning up and saying my lines without bumping into the scenery, it's taken nearly 20 weeks of filming to get all 52 episodes in the can. But don't worry, I'm not about to ask for your sympathy. I'm just explaining.
You see, another of the things that is hard to explain to people who don't work in telly, is just how much standing around there is with this job.
You learn your lines, get into costume and do a scene. Then you and all the other actors hang around making small talk whilst cameras are moved, lights are changed and props are made ready for the next take.
All of which means that you find yourself drinking thousands of cups of tea every day. And of course, when tea is being drunk it's never long before snacks are being consumed.
In the early days of the shoot people would turn up in the morning with assorted packets of biscuits.
Then a couple of the crew had birthdays, so cakes started to appear. After a couple more weeks someone discovered a nearby doughnut shop and we moved onto the hard stuff. If all of this sounds excellent and tasteful. It was.
Our days were one long round of tea and doughnuts, interspersed with short spells of filming.
The trouble only began when I noticed a couple of my costumes were starting to shrink a little bit. Mainly around the waist area.
When I mentioned this strange phenomenon to Mrs Cullimore, she suggested that we approach the problem scientifically, by looking at all the available evidence.
Then she started ticking things off with her fingers, which is usually a bad sign in my experience.
Firstly, as she put it rather cruelly I felt. Clothes don't generally shrink unless you wash them, and TV costumes don't get washed all that often.
Which is a story in itself, hopefully for another day and another column. But I digress. Secondly, she continued, it was far more likely that my waist was expanding.
Which, thirdly, was entirely my own fault as I was standing around drinking tea and stuffing my face with fatty snacks all day in the studio. Hmm.
The very next day at work I noticed a couple of crew members didn't join in with the doughnut stuffing.
They merely nibbled handfuls of tasty things bought from healthfood shops.
When I asked, I discovered it was Trail Mix. So from that day forward, I forswore doughnuts and biscuits and brought in my very own Mix.
A healthy supply of nuts, raisins and fruity goodness. Honestly, I ate buckets and buckets of the stuff. Most delicious it was too.
I was looking forward to my waist shrinking back to its normal size when Mrs Cullimore informed me that although my new nibbles were a healthy alternative to just about anything else. They were also totally laden down with calories. Sigh. I fear it might now be time for a post-filming diet plan.
PS If you fancy watching the show, Bottom Knocker Street is on ITV at 8am every Sunday and Saturday for the next few weeks. And apparently, it's very funny.
PPS I say this because Grandson No. 1 told me. He also said that he had recently drawn up a list of all the funny people he knew and after seeing the show I was now officially 'The Funniest Person in Our Family.' I didn't have the heart to tell him it was actually the writers who made up the funny bits. Enjoy!