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On the back of my failure with Dean Gaffney’s agent, I decided to try my luck at a proper actor, who’d been in films and everything. The career of Danny Dyer, Canning Town’s most famous export, had been slightly on the wane and I thought he might be ripe for the picking. He had come under fire for an apparently ghost written column in Zoo, where he told someone searching for love advice to ‘cut his ex’s face’ and so I guessed he might be up for something different.
Could the show I had in mind for him be his salvation? That would be up to his agent.
Dear Ms Thompson,
I’m hoping for some information on the availability in the coming months of Mr Danny Dyer. I’m pitching an idea for a show to a variety of production companies and believe I will have a far greater chance of success if Mr Dyer has already expressed his willingness to be involved.
The show is to be titled Diamond Geezer. Running for an intended eight shows, the premise is that Danny will head to Botswana to work at a diamond mine, mucking in with the full variety of jobs these facilities have. I have a contact at the famous Jwaneng mine who will be able to arrange work and visas. While the subject matter is undoubtedly engaging, I am pitching the show on the weight of Danny’s personality. I really believe his approachable yet gritty style of presenting, as showcased in Deadliest Men, would be perfect for a show dealing with an issue as serious as that of the conditions in African diamond mines.
Would TV’s most famous Cockney survive in Botswana? Would he try and learn a bit of Setswana? Does that language make much use of the ‘h’ sound and if so how would Danny be understood? These were all questions I pondered as I waited for a reply. Later that day the reply came.
Thanks for getting in touch however this is not something Danny wants to do at the moment he is concentrating on theatre and film. Thanks for thinking of him.
Crushed. Two knock backs on the trot. This must be what it’s like to get to judge’s houses on X-Factor and be rejected. Yet I had no Louis Walsh to offer me a consolatory hug. I decided to get straight back on the bike.
Cockneys. I needed Cockneys. I needed a Diamond Geezer. Go on, think of another Diamond Geezer. No, not Eric Bristow, the other one. Ha, yes! Ray Winstone. I sent exactly the same email, but just changed the name and deleted the reference to Deadliest Men. A day later his agent Lucy Doyle got back to me.
Thank you for your email. Ray is not available but thanks for thinking of him.
How much more of this could I take? These were bloody good ideas dammit. What was going wrong? I took a few days out to reflect and once I had calmed down I’d realised what had gone wrong. Dean Gaffney had been the butt of many a joke for years and they’d obviously smelled a rat. Like the kid bullied at school who, when you try to reach out to them, rejects you because their trust is gone. That’s why he knocked it back. Danny and Ray were obviously too big and I’d been too ambitious even considering them. I’d save that gem for Jeff Brazier, he’ll lap it up. But for now, I had to find a celebrity who was itching for work and a concept that would snare them.