My feeling about the beginning of 2013 is really mixed which has made it hard to sit down and write a positive description of the work we have been doing. I cant help feeling let down by the quiet after the storm of the Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee.
In actuality we have been working on steadily, better than that, we have been very busy with loads of enquiries but the actuality of the volume of jobs undertaken is disappointing in comparison to the last 2 years. But when have the first 3 months of the year been the busiest time of the year – never apart from 2011 – The Wedding.
The whole ‘Best of British’ and Royal themes continue being top of the list in popularity, mostly with visiting foreign groups which cements the fact that the last 2 years has put London firmly back as one of the favourite places in the World to visit – all down to the success of the great press we have had with the Royal Events culminating with the Olympics.
Brian Rowan has given us a great corporate boost with 5 jobs for Kate, William and The Queen at Grosvenor House. Simon, Jodie and Mary all working hard. There has been little press interest in using Kates for baby stories – just too sensitive particularly in those first few months I feel.
Apart from Brian’s jobs, I went along on a German gaming companies’ Gala Dinner to accompany Jeanette V as The Queen – 85 years old and amazing. Ably supported by 2 busbied guards and interestingly, Mr Bean, Steve Keefe, who is always a popular choice with groups from any part of the globe. In fact, Steve is in the middle of playing a Policeman in a Bollywood film that is being shot now in the UK.
Mary Reynolds – The Queen, has continued to be really busy and shows no sign of slowing down and bowing to her age. We did 2 events for Newham Council who were thanking the people of Newham for their great contribution to the Olympics, one attended by Mary and the other by Jeanette.
Our other Jeannette (with 2Ns) Charles, is still recuperating from surgery on her neck which is a slow process – Get Well Soon Jeannette – we need you.
Another lovely job was done by Jeanette V, attending a 40th birthday party in Eton Square – just an in and out, delivering a bouquet to a lucky recipient and she was also lucky as one of the guests was Valentino (fashion designer). I almost accompanied her but didn’t for some reason and I would have killed to have met him.
There have been various other jobs between the Royal ones, two National Newspapers, The Mail and The Sun set up Harper Beckham features – we managed 4 lookalikes for The Sun but to date neither feature has appeared – shame.
Jamie G went to Spain to double as David Beckham on an Adidas commercial. The job was booked from LA and they loved him but he had no chance – as has usually been the case of meeting the man himself – one of these days maybe – you’d love Jamie, Mr B – everyone does.
1 Whitehall Place had a showcase presentation and newish – to us – Churchill, Stan S, was booked by Planned to Perfection. While Lexi as Marilyn delighted HCC International at their annual event in the city.
The Weston Partnership arranged a very last minute shoot for their client Hermes Couriers featuring surprised recipients of parcels delivered by famous lookalikes. This nice job became a bad memory unfortunately for us, because Colin Farrell lookalike James M (booked on his first job with us as he looked so great) did not turn up – my hysterical searching all afternoon produced no word whatsoever. The next day we got a very weak ‘excuse’ email! Where was your phone on the day? Most probably glued to your ear as it always is, and you laughing at us for all our panic stricken begging messages. DO NOT USE HIM – RED ALERT. There could have been repercussions here – you weren’t the only Lookalike involved, one of eight, and you put all the others’ fees on the line.
There is no doubt that we have had a significant increase in the past few years in the use of Lookalikes as ‘doubles’ of Celebrities. But now clients are prepared to pay normal Lookalike rates rather than the poor Equity doubling rate as in the past. They now realise that Lookalikes are an added bonus for them in these situations. It started with the footballers, particularly, David Beckham, but in fact Alan Shearer was the first with his McDonalds commercials, which led on to the Adidas and Nike ads. when the shoot – usually in Spain – was scheduled for up to 2 weeks while the stars involved were only available for 1 day. Fees for Lookalikes on these jobs are not as high as corporate entertainment but they often involve a trip abroad, a run of days, quite often overtime and a chance to meet your idol. They have certainly boosted our business and maybe kept it afloat during the first 2 years of the Recession. Recently we have had bookings for Peter B as Richard Branson on Virgin commercials plus a David Tennant – only one from us although they used three in total. Santander have recently booked Jenson Button (Matt S), Rory McIlroy (Damien Power) but sadly not Jessica Ennis. Sanchez as Theo Walcott should have doubled for him on a Nike Free ad. but sadly it was cancelled at the last hurdle as jobs often are. John P has again been lucky in the run up to the new series of the Apprentice and has doubled on the BBC idents for Lord Alan. Barclaycard have also used various footballers for their new commercial still to be seen – but only used Mike as Peter Crouch from us, sadly.
We continue to be flooded with Charity requests and we do our best to help out when we can – but they have to offer some sort of fee and expenses I’m afraid – sorry guys. Today our Branson – Peter is shooting a small film for the Anthony Nolan Trust in Victoria Park – despite the fact its looking a bit snowy here in London – shame for them (in fact it had to be postponed). In the past couple of months we were also approached by a media degree group of students from Goldsmiths University who wanted to make a film about Lookalikes. We did co-operate before with a group from a different Uni. and it wasn’t the best of experiences but I have a creative son and stepson who needed help while at college and so I feel its only fair to help out if I can as others did for my children. In fact it was a good experience this time and we were ably helped by Heidi (Kate M) and the end of the story is that I went to the showing of the film at their campus in New Cross this week and I loved it – well done you guys. I also had my 60 seconds of fame on the Alan Titchmarsh Show a couple of weeks ago along with Maurice (Del Boy) Matt (Boy George) and Laura as Britney. It was a nice treat for me to get out!