Celeb Spotting - Who Turns You On?

Philip Fisher
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Children like nothing better than the opportunity to meet a celebrity, however minor. They get just as excited at receiving an autograph from someone who once played a victim in Casualty as when a TV camera briefly points in their direction.

Adults can be a little more mature about this, although after hearing recent stories about the willingness of individuals to pay £250,000 for a dinner with the Prime Minister and his wife, perhaps not.

In a more general setting, celebrity fever is as strong as ever, constantly boosted by every element of the media from television programmes, newspapers and magazines to websites.

It is fascinating to know who excites different people. It is easy to understand why royalty, the Prime Minister or the President of the United States would be great attractions to most of us. For the majority of the country, possibly the dream couple to meet would be the Beckhams, with their combination of sports and pop fame hitting the button for male and female.

As a child, my dream list would have been pretty typical, including the latest James Bond, stars from Top of the Pops and the silver screen plus people who could propel balls an awfully long way.

However, times and people change. Now, while the average sporting superstar has great talents speaking is unlikely to be one of them. I've even sat in the media centre at Lord's with cricket's great and good, which was rather fun. However, given the opportunity to spend an evening with a top sportsman, even one earning £1 million a week, would make me run a mile (but not nearly as fast as they can).

I am fascinated by the arts but there the position is rather different. As a theatre critic and journalist, I have met and interviewed Britain's leading playwright, director and actor and got a buzz every time. Therefore in that field, I am only likely to get really excited about the chance to meet incredibly high profile stars.

Even my friends have begun to get less enthusiastic about the high-powered name-dropping that I can achieve after a night in a theatre, though I do have a client who religiously texts home the names of every superstar that he can recognise before the curtain rises on the evening’s real entertainment.

Having said all of that, if Salman Rushdie or Aung San Suu Kyi was walking along the street my throat would go dry and I would have to suppress a scream.

Even pop stars have become relatively regular acquaintances, having had the good fortune to sit next to a series of rock gods over the years. I have also had the pleasure of meeting the voice of tax, John Whiting.

Strangely and quite worryingly, the latest category of celebrity that they does make me want to shout to the rooftops is politicians. I met a government minister while visiting the Treasury to work with the Office of Tax Simplification and that was certainly a name worth dropping.

However, the ultimate experience occurred last week when at the opening night of The King's Speech (in the presence of stage royalty) my three closest companions in the theatre were a totally delightful former Leader of the Opposition, who was accompanied by another very high-profile politician of equal charm and just beyond them, The Artist Formerly Known as Shrek. Now that is a heavenly combination.

The sad thing is that also there was one of the stars of Downton Abbey - and I didn't even recognise her!

Who would you pay £250,000 to meet?

About Philip Fisher


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By Old Greying Accountant
04th Apr 2012 08:48

Been thinking ...

... nope, can't think of anyone.

I would possibly pay that NOT to meet Tony Blair - for his own sake as I don't think I could fight the urge to smash that rictus supercilious cheshire cat grin off his smug tanned fizzog, although I would specify the money was split between all the servicemens charities, to help repair the lives he has ruined; and the RNLI simply because those guys are the best the country.

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04th Apr 2012 11:08

Nope - I can't think of anyone either

OGA ... the way you feel about Tony Blair is the way I feel about Maggie Thatcher. She ruined many lives, and areas of the country, ... and the National Health ... and ...... etc. etc. etc

Ah well ... with the latest Tory ideas re the NHS we are going to make the private medical companies (and some MD's) even more wealthy. Lets hope the NHS can afford to fix the outcome, such as the breast implant fiasco where the private medical companies just rake in the profits and hive off their failures onto the NHS!

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By Flash Gordon
04th Apr 2012 11:48

Pay to meet?

I wouldn't pay to meet anyone!

I'd much rather enjoy their features on the internet (airbrushing is a wonderful thing), read their speeches at my leisure, enjoy their wit and not have to face their flaws up close and personal. Reality can be a tad disappointing at times and who wants to have their illusions shattered by realising that their object of desire (in any aspect) isn't quite as good as they'd imagined?

I met Rod Hull & Emu once - is anyone impressed?!

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05th Apr 2012 14:05


Great to get some responses.

I'm impressed at Rod Hull and Emu, though they may fall just short of the £250,000 price tag. Also at communicating with the Saviour of the Universe (or is that a different Flash Gordon?)

With regard to lunch chez Cameron/Blair/Lady T, the money would only be justified by a really good change in public policy - say a 45% top rate of tax - but that would never happen.

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