12 November 2016

9:00 AM

12 November 2016

9:00 AM

Seeing Trump win reminds me of a season of Dynasty in which my character, Alexis, ran for governor of Colorado against her nemesis, Blake Carrington. We used a bunch of dirty tricks, from kidnappings to accusations of murder, to embarrass, undermine and knife each other in the back. Viewers scoffed. Politicians would never do anything so underhanded and evil to each other. Really?

As hysterical as America gets, however, it’s still more peaceful than London. Our quiet residential street in Belgravia now resembles a building site. There are massively major renovations underway on the buildings to our left, to our right, the four flats above us, and two directly opposite us. To say this is tiresome is like saying Donald Trump is no wallflower. The view on our street is an intricate lacework of dirty scaffolding and ladders that would delight any of those wannabe Spider-Man street jumpers or free runners or whatever they’re called. Not that I wish to encourage any more excitement — my heart won’t take it.

To make matters worse, another colossal scaffold was erected at the back of my flat last June. Since then it has stood unused, blocking our view and our light, while the owner says he’s ‘sorry’ but that it’s due to ‘circumstances beyond his control’ – oh sure.

As a result of all this work, we’ve had a flood, and our hot water, heating, electricity, cable and internet have been cut off at various times. There is endless persistent drilling reminiscent of the dentist scene in Marathon Man, and hammering that starts at 8 a.m. and proceeds unabated until 6 p.m., six days a week. Complaints to Westminster council have elicited sympathy and an empathic ‘What can we do?’ shrug of the shoulders.

‘When will it all end?’ I wailed to the friendly man from the council.

‘Should be done by next July,’ he answered with a paternal smile. At which point I fainted.

I’ve worked on film and TV sets all my life and have always been amazed at the speed and dexterity with which they can build a house, a castle or even an entire village in a matter of a few weeks, complete with working plumbing and electricity, and then pull it all down. By contrast, the roadworks all over London and the suburbs are now a total joke. Half of the time there’s not a solitary workman in sight, never mind on site. How different from France, where they work 24/7 on their infrastructure and in the past year have created a new super-highway across Provence — and not a bicycle lane to be seen.

I have been going to variety shows with my parents since I was a small child. They always held a fascination for me with their singers, jugglers, dancers and comedians all vying for the approbation of the crowd. I saw many legendary stars at the London Palladium, so one of the high points of this year was bringing my new show Unscripted to that great landmark of London theatre. I had been touring all over the UK for several weeks and receiving wonderful receptions, but nothing could have prepared me for the display of affection with which the Palladium audience greeted my entrance. When we finished, again to a roaring ‘standing O’, I was followed off stage by Lord Lloyd-Webber, the owner of this fine theatre.

‘You’re the first person to be in the star dressing-room since we refurbished,’ he announced proudly.

‘I’m honoured,’ I replied, and indeed after some of the dingy dumps I’d been dressing in during my tour, this newly painted and lavishly decorated suite of rooms would have been perfect even for Carole Lombard in her prime.

‘Can I have a selfie?’ These words strike fear into my heart. Thanks, Tom Cruise, for starting this trend several years back: at a movie premiere in Leicester Square he kept the audience waiting for two hours while he posed with every fan lining the red carpet. But there’s a danger in doing selfies. Being hugged and snuggled up to by a stranger came back to haunt me when a picture was posted on Facebook claiming I was a close friend. It reminded me of an incident that occurred during the height of my fame in Dynasty, when a man asked for a photo with me and then went on to claim that I was his ‘fidanzata’ and engaged to marry him, parlaying this into some modicum of fame on talkshows in Italy. So I’ve decided there will be no more selfies now, unless I take them. Sorry, fans — you can snap me as I walk into an event or down the street but I’m not posing cosily with anyone I don’t know. Oh dear. I guess the Twitter trolls will try to get me now, when they’ve finished with Donald Trump.


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