Nick Ahad: Let's see real actors on the stage and not television celebrities
In fact, until last week I was only vaguely aware of her – she's the woman who did her gardening without a bra, right?
But then an email landed from Hull New Theatre announcing the cast of Calendar Girls, which opens at the theatre at the beginning of May.
It read: Elizabeth Bennett, Gemma Craven, Letitia Dean, Anne Charleston, Charlie Dimmock, Sue Holderness, Hannah Waterman.
Yes, Charlie Dimmock's name really is there, sandwiched between Anne Charleston and Sue Holderness.
I looked up the cast on the internet. To create a level playing field, I put each of their names into the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, and the following occupations were returned: British actress, award-winning Irish actress, English actress and singer, Australian actress, English gardening expert and TV presenter, English actress and English actress, daughter of Minder star Dennis Waterman.
(Why the anachoronistic term actress still persists in some quarters is beyond me. We don't talk of a danceress or a painteress, but that's another argument for another day...)
Back to my list. Can anyone spot the odd one out?
I've had a good root around and I can't find any evidence that Dimmock had done any formal theatre training prior to landing the part of Celia.
In fact, once cast, she was given voice and acting coaching before setting out on stage with the show.
Here's a novel idea.
Rather than hiring a television presenter to be an actor and then training them so they can do the job almost adequately, why not hire someone more suitable.
Say... a doctor? Or, no, wait, I know – how about an actor?
You know, one who has been to acting school, studied Stanislavsky, had a crack at Chekhov, maybe even indulged in a little Shakespeare then graduated, found an agent and started to get small parts, worked their way up to larger roles, preparing – and, most importantly, training – for the point when they are accomplished enough to go on stage with a show as big as Calendar Girls.
Dimmock, able gardener she may be, is not a trained actor.
Acting is a craft, just as is painting, sculpting, or any of the arts.
Would a gallery exhibit the paintings of someone because they are "off the tele"?
Why are "celebrities" allowed to jump the years of training and land on a stage simply because they are known as a "TV personality".
It's time we paid a little more respect to the craft of acting, and stopped demeaning it with people who got there leaving a lot of