The current Mrs Adams has gone through a rich vein of form in the celeb spotting stakes – just as the airport is my hunting ground, her’s is the clothes shop she works in (or is employed in, and I hope she doesn’t read that). In the past few weeks the clientèle has included Jane Slaughter (better known as unsung veteran EastEnders extra Tracy the barmaid), former Tiswas presenter Sally James and (perhaps not a celebrity in her own right) Eric Clapton’s wife, Mrs Clapton. A quick sift through his page on Wikipedia reveals that her name is Melia McEnery.
My brother and I were in a pub in Weybridge, and someone asked me to step to one side so that they could see the cricket on the television. He looked familiar, and one of my brother’s mates confirmed what I thought, that it was none other than former disk jockey and Crackerjack presenter Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart. He looked well refreshed, in a pub sort of way.
Later that weekend the family was having lunch in a restaurant in Chobham – my string-bean of a niece Melissa spotted Oliver James, actor and star of ‘What A Girl Wants’. Oliver made Melissa’s day by posing for a photo with her and providing an autograph.
I’ve always said that Heathrow Airport was a good place for celeb spotting. This morning I got up at 04:30 and spent 25 minutes on the cramped bus between the car park and Terminal One. But my early start was made worthwhile when I walked past ex-Pink Floyd genius Roger Waters who was no doubt on his way to somewhere more glamorous than my destination. I resisted the temptation to bother him with my adulation, but perhaps I should have gone down in some sort of worshipping position to beg him to patch things up with Mr Gilmour and get back in the studio with him. Not too much to ask is it? I’ll buy a copy of the CD for starters.
A bumper celeb spotting day out in London – firstly I spotted the curly-mopped car-loving Jeremy Clarkson lurching down Shaftesbury Avenue smoking a ciggie. And then in the Rainforest Cafe… while we were waiting for a table, former t.v. travel show queen Judith Chalmers with hubby and grandson entered and were seated immediately. Okay, they might have booked ahead. While she was eating her lunch some guy disturbed her, presumably for an autograph – she smiled and spent what seemed like ages signing whatever he’d given her. So, good celeb points to Ms Chalmers (because I would have told him to … ).
The wife has a part time job working in a clothes shop – she spends as much as she earns but as she gets a discount I think I’m better off. Anyway… the celebs, all of whom have entered the shop at some point – Susan Hanson (better known as Benny’s friend Miss Diane from ‘Crossroads’), Sara Crowe (better known as the dim blonde from the Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese adverts), Emma Barton (better known as EastEnders dim-wit Honey Mitchell) and Alice Beer (once Anne Robinson’s sidekick on BBC’s ‘Watch Dog’). The wife regrettably missed the big celeb event – she wasn’t there the day that Davina McCall came in and used the staff toilet. Perhaps I should start up a new page called ‘Celebrity Skid-marks’. Hmmm, perhaps not.
And now it’s special guest celeb spotter time – Matt Newton, the voice of Warrington Hospital Radio, phoned me to say that he’d spotted Coronation Street actor Chris Bisson in a tatty car somewhere in Manchester. Okay, not exactly up there with the Chuckle Brothers or Chesney Hawkes, but they all count – thanks Matt.
I have to credit the wife with this one, for she is an eagle-eyed celeb spotter who obviously spends too much time perusing the pages of OK and similarly worthless rags. We were in the Prince of Wales Theatre in London watching the ABBA musical ‘Mamma Mia’ (which was a whole lot better than I thought it was going to be). As the audience took their seats for the second act, a sharp elbow hit my ribs and the wife started to gesture down to our left. “It’s Posh Spice’s mum and dad”. And there they were, the mother and father of Victoria Beckham. You’d agree that not everyone would recognise them so full marks to the wife. Now if you’re thinking that Mr and Mrs Adams (I don’t mean the wife and me, I mean the Beckham in-laws) don’t qualify as celebs, you might have a point… but you might admit that two of the children with them, Masters Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham are somewhat more famous. I wondered during the second act what the two lads and their cousins made of the somewhat adult content of the musical. And I also wondered how young Romeo managed to fall asleep in Grandma’s arms with ‘Waterloo’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ blaring out at several hundred decibels. Victoria and David, if per chance you read this, get the lad a hair-cut.
After a few sightings of celebs on the lower rungs of the fame ladder, I’m pleased to announce the sighting of a bone-fide A-lister… a man whose one-hit-wonder career is almost part of British folklore. Yes, celebrity fans, grabbing a trolley outside Sainsburys in Staines it’s the one and only (pun intended) Chesney Hawkes. Oh yes, we’re back in the big league.
A couple of Christmas 2004 sightings. Firstly, completing a hat-trick of celebrities in oriental eating establishments, former Aston Villa manager and present-day Sky Sports pundit John Gregory was waiting for a takeaway in a Chinese restaurant in Sunninghill. But if it’s big names you want, the wife pointed out QVC presenter Dale Franklin in West End church on Christmas Eve. When we saw him he was waiting to get out but his progress was hampered by the long queue. Perhaps he should have used “queue cut”. Ho ho. Sorry, you don’t get that joke? Well, when you want to buy something from QVC but you don’t want to wait on the phone…
Oh, and the wife has just reminded me that she saw former-England Rugby captain / player Will Carling Christmas shopping with his family in Camberley. How exciting.
While waiting at Manchester airport, the British Midland agent called a number of passengers forward including “Mr Philip Daniels”. I thought to myself “wouldn’t that be funny if that was the actor Phil Daniels, star of Quadrophenia, Breaking Glass, Scum, Time Gentlemen Please and the voice of Blur’s ‘Parklife’?”. Guess what… it was. Scruffy bloke.
The wife drove into the offspring’s school gates one afternoon to find The Chuckle Brothers filming an episode of their hilarious television series which would no doubt entail the madcap pair embarking a money-making scheme which would fail due to their collective incompetence with the taller one blaming the shorter one for everything that goes wrong. Or something like that.
Before you say it, yes I know that this page now seems to be reporting on the lower echelons of the celebrity food chain. I’ve banned the wife from shopping in Bond Street so Harrods and airports continue to be the best bet. Or there’s always the stage door of Woking Theatre in panto season. Shaun and Amber once saw Wolf out of Gladiators crossing the road there. They don’t come much more C-list than that.
At Edinburgh airport, my colleague Martin spotted former Labour Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister Tony Benn. I didn’t get a good view of him as he headed away past Dixons. But then I boarded the flight to Heathrow, and guess who was sitting in the seat across the aisle from me… My colleague Neil, who was also sitting across the aisle, now has a claim to fame – he switched on Mr Benn’s reading light after the cabin lights were dimmed for landing. There’s something to tell his grandchildren.
We were walking along the water front in picturesque Es Castell (that’s in Menorca, in case you didn’t know) when I spotted former-quiz-show-host and star of ‘Mr Jolly Lives Next Door’ Nicholas Parsons enjoying an evening meal. I also thought the guy sitting opposite Mr Parsons looked familiar, but I still can’t place the face.
The wife spotted him at the cinema a couple of years ago, but today it was my turn as I stood behind England soccer legend and BBC Sports presenter Gary Lineker in a petrol station queue in Windlesham. No, he wasn’t buying Walkers crisps. Nice car though, a sporty little Lexus.
The crispy duck course hadn’t yet arrived when the wife saw former-Steps starlet Lisa Scott-Lee walk through the door of a Chinese restaurant in Ascot. The now-solo artiste was accompanied by her boyfriend Johnny Shentall, who himself might have been famous had doomed pop band Hear’Say not split up ten minutes after he joined. Then completing a double of spotting celebs in oriental eating establishments, we spotted BBC news man Nicholas Whitchell walking into a Thai restaurant in Viriginia Water. It doesn’t get any more exciting than that. Come back next week for the scoop on Wesley Snipes and Cilla Black enjoying a curry at The Mogul in Bagshot… probably.
There are certain advantages to spending a week on the sofa watching ‘Pop Idol Extra’. Spotted in Regent Street – John, the voice coach (sorry, don’t know his surname). He doesn’t appear on the main ‘Pop Idol’ show, only on the ITV2 ‘Extra’ show. So you’re forgiven for not knowing who he is… not exactly A-list I suppose. I should point out that this extended Pop Idol Extra viewing occured while I was recovering from an operation, I wasn’t just being incredibly lazy.
Waiting to board the EuroStar at Waterloo station was actor Neil Pearson, well-known to British television viewers as lecherous Dave from ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ and Mungo from ‘Chelmsford 123’. Times must be hard for actors – I’d have thought he’d be in First Class, but I saw him later in standard class when I went to buy a can of Coke. And then when we reached Paris, he continued to save his Euros by taking the Metro rather than taking a taxi.
Later that same week, I saw former EastEnders actor Dean Gaffney (a.k.a. Robbie the road-sweeping loser) in DisneyLand, Paris. He was waiting for the ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril’ ride to re-open. But he walked off disappointed (as did I) as the ride remained closed for maintenance works. I could have waited, but the thought of being first on a ride where you go upside-down and backwards at 400 mph right after they’d fixed it didn’t appeal to me.
As we stepped onto the escalator of the swanky Knightsbridge corner-shop Harrods, who should step on behind us? It was none other than the establishment’s owner Mohammed Al Fayed. He smiled and said hello to us, commented on how lovely Lauren was, and then produced a lollipop from his pocket and gave it to her. What a nice man… why won’t the Government give him a British passport? I can think of hundreds of useless w*nkers who don’t do anything beneficial for this country, yet here’s a decent man who gives plenty back to Britain, employs thousands of people, and runs a wonderful shop which attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year.
You know how it is with celebs – you don’t see one for weeks and then you see two an once. At an evening social event we saw West Ham and ex-England striker Les Ferdinand, and West Ham and still-in-the-England-team midfielder Trevor Sinclair. Les, dressed in a dapper green suit, left early (he’d probably picked up an injury) but Trevor stayed on long enough to chat up the wife in the queue for the buffet, telling her she looked stunning. The wife didn’t know who he was, and you should seen the look on her face the next day when I told her he played for England – and then showed her a picture of him standing next to David Beckham in one of her celeb magazines. I’m pleased to inform you that Mr Sinclair gladly signed an autograph and chatted for a while to one of the wife’s friend’s son who was mad keen on football.
Good job I state the caveat about the celebrity spotting being carried out by me and the wife, for it was the wife who spotted the ample but not-very-funny comedienne Dawn French shopping in Marks & Spencer in Camberley. Any further attempts at humour by discussing pants the size of duvet covers would not be politically correct, so we’ll leave it there.
Joining the Saturday morning Easter Egg hunt at the Ralph Lauren shop in New Bond Street were Patsy Kensit and her son Lennon Gallagher (offspring of Oasis frontman Liam). Ms Kensit, Lennon and her other son had turned up late and consequently all the eggs had been redeemed – however, at her request, the staff were finding some more for the no-doubt deprived lads. I wonder if we’d have got the same treatment if we’d been late. Lennon is the image of his father (I’ll leave you to decide on whether that’s a good thing or not). I’d love to report that Gallagher Junior also took after his father by swearing and then taking a swing at the shop’s staff – but being just a mere toddler that obviously wouldn’t be true. Still, give him a couple of years…
Spotted all in one day… Her Majesty the Queen (and hubby Phil the Greek), ex-jockey Willie Carson and still-a-jockey Frankie Dettori. Mind you, I was at the Ascot races at the time, so these sightings weren’t a huge surprise. I should mention that I had a thoroughly crap time – I have no interest in horse racing or rubbing shoulders with champagne-quaffing posers. I managed to escape early under the pretence of “I’ll go and get the car rather than everyone taking the train back”. After I left, the wife and our friends spotted former Premiership footballer Dennis Wise (who was probably trying to hang out with the jockeys to make himself look tall).
Spotted at a petrol (gas) station in Windlesham – Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer David Wilkie, walking out of the door and returning to his car. I have to say, he looked very young and trim for someone who must be knocking on a bit now (he won his medals at the Munich games in 1972 and the Montreal games in 1976). Life must treat Olympic heroes well, for he sped off in a rather tasty Mercedes.
Apologies to any non-UK readers who won’t know who Kirsty Young is… the newsreader was spotted waiting to board our flight back to London Gatwick at Barbados airport (and presumably not about to suffer the indignity of cattle-class for 8 hours). Also, while at the Almond Beach Village resort earlier in the week, we saw Tricia Penrose, star of the crap lightweight drama series ‘Heartbeat’. That’s what the wife told me anyway. I didn’t have a clue who she was, and I still haven’t. And it doesn’t bother me. The wife would like me to mention that Ms Penrose was at the hotel because she was filming for every bored housewives’ favourite programme ‘This Morning’, and it was televised a couple of days after we got back.
Living the jet-set lifestyle that I do (yeah, I wish) often results in spotting celebrities in exotic locations. During a business trip to Monaco, I spotted bonkers baldy French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez along with the rest of the Monaco squad (this was a few years ago, before he became a liability at Old Trafford). I’d love to report that I saw him drop his bag when one of his team-mates threw it to him, but it wouldn’t be true.
Further apologies to any non-UK readers who’ll be scratching their heads wondering who the hell Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey are. Well, Anthea is a television presenter (probably best known for Blue Peter) and Grant is… errr… famous for being the partner of Anthea Turner. The tanned and equally coiffured couple were spotted walking down Sloane Street in the direction of Knightsbridge. On the same afternoon we were heading back in the opposite direction when we spotted D-list celebrity Tania Bryer pushing her latest offspring in a pram. The wife tells me that Ms Bryer is a television presenter, although I’ve only ever seen her in OK magazine annoying others higher up the celebrity food chain.
‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ presenter and Capital Radio DJ Chris Tarrant was spotted walking along Esher High Street carrying a rather large cardboard box… probably taking a week’s wages to the bank.
Genesis keyboard player Tony Banks in Blazer (the mens’ clothing retailer) in Guildford. Unusually for a man with enough cash to buy his own Caribbean island, he was busily rooting through the sale items. By the way, I saw Mr Banks and the other members of Genesis at the Birmingham NEC in the early 80’s before they sold out and turned into a third-rate pop band.
Brummie funnyman Frank Skinner (accompanied by his girlfriend-at-the-time and minor celeb Caroline Ferraday) in Army & Navy at the Bluewater shopping centre.
Television boffin Carol Vorderman on an early morning flight to Manchester. Hopefully she was going into make-up when she reached her destination. She used to be quite frumpy in her early television days on Countdown, but at least then her hair didn’t have that ‘been dragged backwards through a hedge’ look.
Celebrated thespian Derek Jacobi strolling along in Covent Garden. Also spotted in the vicinity (but not on the same day) bunged-up sounding author and presenter Melvyn Bragg making his way across Waterloo Bridge.
Arsenal-God Dennis Bergkamp – actually I saw him and 14 of his team-mates at Highbury the Tuesday after (and we were robbed… that first Leeds goal should have been disallowed). But the occasion of note was when I was driving into London (slowly of course) and he passed me on the opposite side of the road in Battersea. I doubt if he was heading for the airport.
Speaking of footballers and air travel (hey, nice link), I once got on a flight from Manchester to Heathrow only to find that Arsenal-reject Andy Cole was sitting in my seat (this is true). Apparently he’d tried to put his arse in seat 33C, but as usual he had missed by a yard.
Keeping up with the football theme, my wife and sister went to Woking Cinema to see the chick-flick ‘Bridget Jones’ Handbag’ and saw the big-eared crisp-muncher Gary Lineker and his wife. Mrs Lineker was buying pick ‘n’ mix, while Gary was presumably wondering what he was going to do during the football season (especially on Saturday nights).
Another airline-related sighting – Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr en-route to Glasgow. Also spotted at the airport, mad-and-hairy botanist David Bellamy rummaging through his hand-luggage.
Mediocre but very rich golfer Nick Faldo in his car in Chobham. Actually my wife very often sees golfer Darren Clark because his son goes to the same nursery as our daughter. Personally, I wouldn’t know him if he ran me over in one of his many flash cars.
Ex-Jam frontman Paul Weller, pushing a baby-buggy in the direction of Harrods. This was actually not the first time we’d encountered Mr Weller, as his car had once been behind us in Pyrford, Surrey. But I’ve never seen him down in the tube station at midnight (oh dear, crap joke… sorry).
BBC Royal correspondent Jenny Bond standing outside the gates of Prince Edward’s modest little mansion in Royal Bagshot. I shouted “hello Jenny” out of the car window, which was childish but it amused me at the time.
Veteran actor John Standing patiently reading stories to a bunch of disinterested-looking toddlers in the Ralph Lauren kid’s shop in Bond Street. On another occasion, my wife was in the same shop (a worrying trait) when Lady Helen Windsor (or whatever she’s called now she’s married) came over and told the wife that our daughter was gorgeous.
Super model Helena Christensen walking down Bond Street. And do you know what… she completely blanked me. Charming. Mind you, the wife was with me so probably just as well.
Another football player – Arsenal legend Sir Lee Dixon and his family at London Zoo. I also think that I saw Leicester City’s (now Birmingham City’s) biggest tart Robbie Savage walking into a shop in Bond Street. It was on a Saturday afternoon, which would normally rule out the possibility of seeing professional footballers – but this was an afternoon when international matches were being played, so he probably had some time off.
Long story but stay with it – myself, the wife and the offspring were driving back from London (where the wife had been busily adding to her handbag collection). As we drove back down the King’s Road, the wife spotted a BMW with a number plate including the letters ‘TONG’. “That might have been the DJ named Pete Tong” she mused. I asked if the driver of the car looked like him, to which the wife replied that she didn’t know what he looks like. We soon stopped at a service station so I could get a drink (Red Bull for me please), and the wife asked me to buy a copy of ‘OK’ magazine so that she could check out the wallpaper inside the homes of the rich and untalented. Whose mug should adorn page 76…? None other than ‘superstar DJ’ Pete Tong (that’s how they described him). The wife was able to confirm that it was him driving the BMW. Now what are the chances of that happening, eh…?
Fat-necked ear-biting hooligan-boxer Mike Tyson – again at the airport (a good place for celeb spotting I suppose). I was coming out of Heathrow Terminal 1 arrivals from some jet-set destination (probably Manchester) and I was suddenly aware of a swarm of people walking backwards in my direction. I jumped out of the way and saw that it was a group of photographers and journos, followed by Mr Tyson and his entourage (which consisted of about ten blokes bigger than him). Naturally I caught up with Mike and told him to watch where he was going or suffer the consequences, but he ignored me. Lucky for him I was in a hurry to catch the bus to the Pink Elephant car park, so I took it no further.
And on the subject of boxers, in a Manchester Airport hotel I got into a lift which already contained the compact Barry McGuigan. No-one else was in the lift, so I wasn’t sure how he’d reached the buttons. However, nice fellow, he bade me good morning and asked me if I was well.
The Peter Pan of pop, Sir Cliff Richard, lives in Weybridge and was often spotted by Mrs Adams when she worked in the same town. We’ve also seen him a few times at church on Christmas Eve (the same church where we were married). I was always disappointed that he didn’t stand up and do a solo of ‘Misteltoe and Wine’. Also in the music biz but at a rather different end of the spectrum, Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey was hanging around the park in Weybridge one lunch time (a bit worrying) and offered to buy the wife an ice cream. She’d never heard of him, and she told him so.
I once had the pleasure of attending an Arsenal away match at Coventry, and thanks a cleverly-wangled bit of corporate hospitality I sat in the big-wigs’ section. And I spotted a couple of celebs in their seats, in the lavatories at half-time (no, not George Michael) and in the bar. The now-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown was there (don’t ask me why). Also present was former-EastEnders star and Arsenal supporter Tom ‘Lofty’ Watts – we exchanged a few quick words whilst getting seated (along the lines of “at least there’s another Arsenal supporter among this lot”). And when I did sit down, only the aisle separated myself and the now-former Derby County manager Jim Smith. To cap it all, when the corporate hospitality party reconvened after the match, Sky football commentator Alan Parry came in, grabbed a free pint of lager, drank it, and left.
At the tender age of 18, me and my good friend Chief Inspector Dave Bullamore of the Met went to see New Order at the Royal Festival Hall in London. In the bar before the gig, we spotted Spear of Destiny and Theatre of Hate frontman Kirk Brandon (whaddya mean, who’s Kirk Brandon?).
I was at Sunbury College at the same time as actor Sean Pertwee (son of ‘Dr Who’ actor Jon Pertwee). Sean has since appeared in ‘Harry Enfield and Chums’, ‘Event Horizon’, ‘Cold Feet’, and numerous other films and shows. I don’t know this for sure, but he was credited with saying to the drama teacher at college “I don’t want to be in the play – my father’s the actor, not me”. If he did say that, he obviously re-evaluated his options at some point.