The BAFTAS and other London stuff …

Sally McLeanApologies for the long silence! Well, where do I start???

Okay, the BAFTAS. It was wild and a blast. Walking the red carpet was very cool – made more so as we did it while Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen were doing the same thing. The only thing I can compare it to, volume-wise, is the MCG on Grand Final Day – the noise from screaming fans was overwhelming, matched only by the noise from the photographers at the other end.

(Sir Ian McKellen was also on the carpet at the same time, but apparently he was helping Ruby Wax do her interviews, so we didn’t realise he was there until we’d walked a fair way past.)

The Royal Opera House looked magnificent – all decked out in red and gold. Halfway down the rather long carpeted corridor, protected from the drizzling rain by a clear canopy, I managed to literally bump into Michael Sheen (he stepped back as I stepped forward) – and it turns out he’s a lovely guy – which I always suspected anyway (for those who aren’t sure who he is, he played Tony Blair in “The Queen” opposite Helen Mirren).

The champagne reception was a bit of fun. Saw various people such as Richard E. Grant and Emily Watson nearby, but as we were running late it really was a case of throw back a glass of bubbly then head for our seats. Which we did.

The ceremony was fairly long – as all award ceremonies are – but the speeches surprisingly short and we had good seats, so it was all good.

Then the dinner. We were all loaded onto buses (read that as luxury coaches) from the Opera House to Grosvenor House where we alighted and entered what looked like a mix of Buckingham Palace meets 1930’s Hollywood with a contemporary twist – actually, I don’t think I’ve really done the setting justice describing it like that – let me just say it really was beautiful. Once we’d entered this rather spectacular vista (after braving the barrage of photographers crammed five deep out the front) – this was the signal for the mingling to begin. This began at the dinner and continued at the various after parties (the hosts for which included the E! Channel, Fox and Miramax).

So, who did I “mingle” with? Helped by liberal amounts of very good quality wine (but not so much that I made an idiot of myself), over the course of the night I managed to chat to Harvey Weinstein, various producers from BBC Film and George Miller (whom I congratulated on winning for ‘Happy Feet’ as one Aussie to another – he’s lovely – really genuine guy). I spoke to several other people who may not be known to the general public, but are all people I’ve been angling to meet for a while, and I have a vague memory of smiling at Dame Judi a few times, but other than going up to her and gushing, I really had nothing of any value to say, so I left it.

Yes, the name dropping is now over, it’s safe to read on …

The rest of the week has been spent having a couple of meetings about the various film and television projects on the slate, visiting the Hogarth Exhibition with Alistair, followed by dinner and drinks at Adam Street, meeting with my UK Agent (the lovely Audrey) and attending a workshop at The Actors Centre today, which was very informative and well worth the very reasonable fee (eleven quid).

And now I’ve come hurtling back to earth, having relocated to Battersea, after a blissful week staying with the fantastic Claire. Alistair’s flat is lovely, but he’s off gigging all weekend, so it’s just me, the computer and ‘Master Chef’ on the telly. (Although “A Touch of Frost” is due on ITV later tonight, so looking forward to spending the evening with David Jason – lovely actor and one of my favourites).

Still trying to organise one final catch up with some friends who are madly busy, but there’s hope that will happen tomorrow (Saturday) and then it’s back on the plane Sunday night and home to Melbourne.

It’s been a fantastic week – lots achieved and many new ideas and contacts made (and friendships rekindled). And I’m really grateful to all those who have been so supportive of me and who made this trip possible.

And now, I’m planning the next one!

Stay tuned …

Claire Evans & Sally McLean at the 2007 BAFTAS (Film)


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