Want to hear some amusing celebrity sighting stories? Read my embarrassing, funny and sometimes pretty cool experiences meeting 16 celebs, if you want a bit of a laugh…
Normally, on this blog, I tend to provide advice, recipes, and book reviews, but today I thought I’d do something a little different. Today, I thought I’d give a little insight into my childhood, and some of the interesting things I got up to back in the day. To do this, I thought one of the best ways would be to take you through some of my celebrity sightings.
Thinking back, it’s crazy how many famous faces I’ve had the fortune to bump into, sometimes chat to, and even get inspirational speeches from (more on that later). So, I thought I’d share some of these with you so we can all have a little amusement at my expense. This is because, not only do we have some pretty good stories to share, we also have some very old photos to accompany my celebrity stories.
So, in the interest of getting to know me a bit better, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
1. James Cordon
Starting with one of the most well-known of the bunch, I somehow bumped into James Cordon when I was about 13 or 14.
I was at an audition in London, and I’d just done the audition (probably pretty poorly), so my dad and I headed to the canteen to grab some food. I don’t know why, but I vividly remember they were serving actual roast dinner in the middle of the day on a weekday. We were thrilled, because it was pork and crackling with apple sauce, which is one of our favs.
Anyway, scene-setting out of the way. So, once I’d filled my tray with food, I remember coming round the corner, and just spotting James sat at a table. All I remember was reversing backwards with my tray in hand, and whispering to my dad “dad, James Cordon is over there!”
We ended up sitting a few tables across from him, but he was talking to someone, so we waited. Then, my dad just nonchalantly went over like old friends, saying “hi James…”, and I could’ve died of embarrassment.
I’d heard from people that he wasn’t usually that nice to fans, but luckily James actually went to the same stage school as me, which is how I’d ended up with the audition. So, my dad told him this, and this prompted us to have a little chat, and we even managed to get a photo with him.
In the end, he was pretty nice, but you can just see how embarrassed I was with the whole affair – look at my red little face!
2. Timothy Spall and Saoirse Ronan
Although I was definitely not very successful with a lot of auditions – I was the worst actor you’ve ever seen – I did manage to get one or two gigs along the way. Most of the time, we didn’t have to audition when it came to extras in a movie. We simply got chosen out of a line-up of photos, and this happened a fair few times to me and brother. When you look like a sickly little war child, somehow you make it as a child extra.
On this particular occasion, I managed to get an extra part in a film called Death Defying Acts, which is a pretty good film, if you’re interested. It follows the story of Harry Houdini, how he lives, and also how he tragically dies.
The scene I was part of was a zoo scene, so they’d basically set up a bunch of animal cages with fake animals in. One of these had actual lamas in, but the rest were empty.
We got paired up with an adult who looked like us, and were our “parent” for the day. We were then told what our journey throughout the set would be when the camera was rolling. I have a distinct memory of being paired with a man, and we were so loud when we were add-libbing that they had to cut and tell us to shut up. Classic Joanna.
In this particular scene, Timothy Spall sits on a bench and chats to Saoirse Ronan about something. Unfortunately, for those looking to find me in this oh-so-important scene, the background was completely blurred out. All you could see was a blurry blonde child holding a red balloon. Better luck next time, Joanna.
My main memory of this whole situation was having an absolute whale of a time off set. I was joined by three other kids from my stage school, and we ended up getting high on toffee apples and sugar cubes, and running around like maniacs. All in all, certainly not a wasted day.
3. Derren Brown
Once I’d gotten too old and ugly for all that child acting, I stopped auditioning and started doing extra curricular performances with the local Youth Theatre. I had some of the best times of my life during these shows, one of my favourites being the time I was cast as a Rockette in Little Shop of Horrors!
The Summer Youth Project, which I did many times over, was performed on the Wycombe Swan Stage. However, the Youth Theatre, which Little Shop was part of, was performed in the adjoining Town Hall. This meant you could literally walk from the hall to the stage in a matter of seconds.
During our rehearsals and performances, Derren Brown was actually touring one of his magical illusion shows, and was at the Swan at the same time as us. Our Director managed to get Derren to give us a pep talk right before our performance and it was awesome! Enough said.
4. Alan Rickman and Ralph Fiennes
I don’t really remember this one too well, as I was pretty young. However, myself and my family had headed to London to take my younger twin siblings to an audition. So, for this one, you’ll have to take my mum’s word for it.
Basically, nothing too flashy, but Alan and Ralph sauntered past us nonchalantly whilst we were waiting for my siblings to come out of their audition. No doubt they were probably discussing Snape’s inevitable demise, or something along those lines. Definitely a meet I wish I had remembered.
5. Basil Brush and Todd Carty
Okay so this is a pretty funny one… are you ready for an hilarious throwback photo?
Our stage school was also where the local pantomime took the pick of the litter for the cute kids on stage. All four of us ended up performing in one panto or another, which inevitably starred a Z-List celebrity of some sort.
The first panto one of us did was my big sister’s role in Dick Whittington and, of course, Dick Whittington wouldn’t be the same without the classic talking fox, right?
Well, alongside English actor, Todd Carty, playing the evil rat, we also had Basil Brush as the best friend character. As major Basil Brush fans, my parents managed to persuade Basil to meet with us in one of the dressing rooms. It was pretty soul-destroying to find out that the talking fox was actually the work of a man and his puppetering hand. It did ruin the magic a little bit, but we have some fab photos to make up for it:
6. Suggs from Madness
Another TV part the kids at my stage school were picked for was a Birdseye advert, back in 2008. Remember that year where they had a collection of adverts with a huge long table and never-ending dishwasher? Yup, I was in that… don’t laugh.
Anyway, the main guy talking about fish fingers and all that jazz was Suggs from the 80s band Madness. I truly wish I’d appreciated the gravity of that, back when I was a kid, because I bloody love Madness now.
You can find the ad here. Try and spot me; I’m wearing a purple top.
The whole thing was about a week’s worth of filming. My persevering memory of this experience is quite a funny one. So we obviously had a plate of delicious Birdseye food to munch through, with some peas on the side. Little goody-two-shows I was, I decided I’d eat all my greens first, saving the chicken nuggets for later. Well, a director approached me mid-way through asking me if I could “please eat the chicken nuggets, not the peas”. Woops…
7. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
My most recent celebrity encounter was my visit to Cardiff Castle to meet the royals! This was before their wedding, and during Meghan and Harry’s public rounds.
Although it may sound like I went especially to see the two, it was actually quite a coincidence. Myself and my friends had taken ourselves off one day to walk round town and treat ourselves to a lovely Nando’s, when we saw a hustle and bustle at the castle. It was open for all, so we headed inside and it looked as though people were waiting for something. Turned out, Harry and Meghan were expected to arrive soon, so we gathered within the masses, and waited…
…and waited. Their train got delayed, unfortunately. So, we were told an estimated time of arrival, but we were starving, so we headed off to Nando’s. Afterwards, we thought we wouldn’t waste the opportunity, and headed back to our place within the ranks. And there they were, walking along the Castle path and greeting us all as they went.
All I remember was Harry saying something about how cold it was, and then asking if Wales would win the Six Nations. Every one of us just sort of went “hahaha yeah”, completely star struck. But I swear, to this day, he looked me right in the eyes…
8. Colin Baker
Colin Baker is not so well known, but people may know him for his part as the sixth Doctor Who. Well, not only did his daughters have a lot of input in the Youth Theatres, Colin was actually one of the Governors at my school. He did make an appearance once, and I did manage to have a chat with him at one point, but I can’t say I remember it.
9. Linda Lusardi and Brian Conley
The two pantos that I ended up performing in were Cinderella and Snow White. Within these pantos, TV personality Brian Conley played Buttons in Cinderella. Then, the year after, actress and glamour model Linda Lusardi played the evil Queen in Snow White.
The panto season was a blast. Missing school to head to rehearsals and goof about with a bunch of Z-Listers and seven dwarfs was fantastic. Something I’ll always remember fondly.
The main thing I remember about that whole thing was that Linda’s and Sam Kane’s children, Lucy and Jack, acted alongside us on stage. In particular, Jack was an absolute tyrant, and ended up frightening us all by pretending he’d spotted a “White Lady” in the hallways of the dressing rooms.
As kids, we all took this way too far, and all convinced each other that we’d seen this ghostly figure at least once each. What made it even more frightening was that cast members kept falling ill, including some of the main cast and the kids. Pretty normal during the winter months, right?
Well, we didn’t see it that way. Someone even went as far as to write a letter and place it on my dressing table addressed from the White Lady. It was a rhyme claiming that she was the reason people were getting sick! Terrifying, and definitely the work of an evil mastermind… I wonder what Jack is doing now.
10. Anna Williamson and Jamie Rickers from Toonattik
Finally, but certainly not least, was another experience I can thank my stage school for; Toonattik. This was one of those presented CITV Saturday kids shows, where they showed a bunch of cartoons, and in between, they had a series of games where the boys and girls competed against one another. Well, my stage school was where they got the kids for the job, and it was a day of sugar, games, and pure fun.
I managed to be involved three times, and the girls won once, so I got a pie in the face twice… not nice. It was just shaving foam which clogged up your nose, and made you stink for the journey home from London.
My pervading memories of this were that you would basically arrive on the morning not knowing which kids would be with you. One time, though, I arrived and my best friend was there, and we had the best day together, beating the boys.
That day, she was car sick in the middle of London, so our chaperone, fearing getting sick in her car, let us both out to get some fresh air. Little did we know it was a one-way system, so the police told her to keep moving, and we ended up getting stranded in the middle of London – two 12-year-old girls. At the time, it was hilarious, and we managed to ask a policeman what to do, and had a little stroll along the river, arm in arm, but our parents weren’t so happy when we got home and told them.
I also remember another time my mum forgot to pack me a lunch, so I ended up spending the whole day snacking on the Green Room donuts and square bars. A good day.
Another time, they were trialling a new challenge on me, and us girls went first. We basically had to stand on a wobble board holding a tray of stacked up plastic glasses. But, as soon as the board started, this small movement toppled all of these super lightweight glasses off of the board, and we ended up losing instantly. Let’s just say that game didn’t make the cut for any further shows, but because they filmed everything once, as though it was live, we didn’t get another go at it. Ah well, a funny story nonetheless.
Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, but basically Anna and Jamie were there for that. I’m pretty sure Anna now hosts Celebs Go Dating now, so that’s pretty cool!
Have You Got Any Celebrity Sightings?
So, there we have it… some of the celebrities I’ve bumped into during my 23 years of life. Not bad for a quarter-of-a-century’s work, I’d say!
Have you met anyone famous and have some stories to share? I would absolutely love to hear about your celebrity sightings, so do leave a comment down below and share your tales!
Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about my life, before I became a boring old Digital PR Manager. Until next story time…