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As you all know, I am no stranger to the small screen. You may have already read about my humiliation on Catchword, but I have also played euphonium in a church at Easter (my school band provided the music for Songs of Praise), I have been interviewed as a vox pop about winter school closures and hid from a camera at the hustings when the SDP won its first seat at Hillhead in Glasgow (my friend and I ran into a cobblers). I have also been interviewed on Yugoslavian radio but I bet you never knew I was nearly in a Steven Spielberg film.

I had gone down to Manchester for a Structured Systems Analysis and Design course. I was there for a fortnight and while most people went home for the middle weekend, I decided to stay to sample the delights of Cheshire’s biggest city. At that time Granada TV studios were open for guided tours. I’d already been round Universal Studios in Los Angeles, so this seemed like a natural progression.

I can’t for the life of me remember what was going on that weekend – Children In Need or some such – but there was quite a commotion at the end of Coronation Street. It turned out that Steven Spielberg was participating in some sort of charity challenge where he was trying to make a movie in three days. They were shooting a scene involving smoke, explosions, soldiers and refugees running down a street. I watched the proceedings for a while from behind a very official looking rope. Then came the call: would anyone watching like to be in a Steven Spielberg movie?

Would I?

With a mixture of nerves and excitement I ducked under the rope and went over to the lady with the clipboard who was saying “dahling” or “don’t call us, we’ll call you” to each of the volunteers. When it came to my turn she looked me up and down. I was wearing a black knitted jacket with a touch of white through it, flat shoes and white shorts. Well, it was the 80s. With her pen hovering over the clipboard she said, “You’re fine from the waist up, but we’d have to dirty your bottom half. Would that be OK?”

Let me see: I can walk about Manchester for the rest of the day with slightly grubby shorts or I can be in a Spielberg movie? It’s a no-brainer, right?

And that, dear reader, is why I said no.

The line to kick me in the arse starts at the right. No pushing.

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