I work for Rory Bremner

Liz Pape is PA to the comedian

Liz Pape is PA to the comedian

I met Rory at Teddington studios where I was working looking after artists and clients. We didn't talk much but I couldn't help noticing that Rory was bringing his bags of laundry into the studio to use the washing machines. I offered to help him, and from then on we had an unspoken agreement that I would regularly do his laundry.

It struck me that he would be a lovely man to work for, so when a mutual friend said that Rory needed a PA I sent him my CV. A month and a half later I hadn't heard anything back so I presumed that it was a no-goer. Then I bumped into him at a party and we chatted about the job. He asked me if I could use a computer, I said yes, he asked me if I was any good at gardening, and I said that I was hopeless at it, to which he replied, "Call me Monday after I've spoken with my accountant." Several calls later he offered me a job on a part-time basis.

My first impression was of a complex and private character but who was also affectionate and caring. Rory broke me into the job gently, which was important because it meant we could earn each other's trust. It must be the hardest thing to let a stranger into the centre of your life. It was strange for me, too; I felt intrusive when I went to work in his flat. But I began acclimatising myself by trying to gauge his likes and dislikes.

I'm a very private person and initially I battled for control over what Rory knew about me, but I had to give up because he's just too good at reading me. He is a perceptive man. He constantly watches and studies people around him and he can pick up a conversation at the other end of a room.

He also has a very quick mind, and throws himself into work, whether he is writing or performing. Trying to get him to plan in advance is difficult, particularly since he has a clever knack of distracting me from getting an answer from him. At six foot two Rory is tall, whereas I am only five foot, which leaves me toddling behind him trying to keep up. He does everything at top speed and is hard to pin down, which means it would be easy to make decisions for him in his absence. But I believe it's important to let people have control of their own lives, and I take a back seat if I can.

A girl in Rory's office calls me Rory's shadow, which is very true because I always like him to know that I am there. Part of my mind is always reserved for Rory and can't switch off, much to the irritation of my friends, who do impressions of me having six conversations at once.

I try to fight becoming indispensable because it wouldn't be good for either of us. Nevertheless, a PA is there to create a safety zone for her boss, particularly if he has become a television icon. I try not to show it, but I do worry about Rory. He overworks constantly and gets very tired. If I think he is overdoing it I will say to him, "Rory, slow down!" He once asked me, "Liz, when you were little, did you use to say `When I grow up I want to want to be nice to people'?"

He has a wonderful sense of humour, which is actually quite different from his professional act. When he's relating a story he tends to do impressions of the people involved. He hasn't taken me off, to my knowledge, but he does mimic some of my phrases, like "bits and bobs" and "tickety boo". He often makes me laugh to the point of hysterics, both as a result of what he says and how he behaves. He is absent-minded and loses his props regularly, I tell him he is lucky to have his own teeth because of the number of times he's lost the false ones he uses for his characters.

It takes between an hour and a half to three hours for make-up to get him into character. He has been known to go to sleep in his chair, waking up as someone else. I was recently looking for Rory at the studio when an unfamiliar man beamed at me in the corridor. I walked past him, but was called to a halt when I heard the man say "It's me, you twit." It was Rory, fresh from being made up as Blair.

Before a show I like to visit him and then join the audience. I still get quite nervous for him. He's a perfectionist - when he wasn't happy with his Blair I'm sure he went off and practised for hours. After the election, he said to me, "Well, that's half my act gone." Although his friends include politicians across the political spectrum, I still don't know what his own politics are.

It is difficult for me to juggle my two jobs. I always make sure that I do my full 40 hours for Teddington, but it can mean working until two in the morning. When I am with Rory I am based at one of three different offices, working on anything and everything. I organise his travel, sort out his office stuff, make sure that he is in the right place at the right time, listen to his scripts and answer requests. Rory often does things at the last minute, which can be a bit of a pain. Mind you, last year I got to drive his car out to Italy after he had decided he needed it with him. I had never driven in a convertible before, and I insisted on keeping the roof down throughout the journey, although I froze.

Such commitment does curb your life to a certain extent, but I have what I call "active laziness" - I can't sit still and address my inner self, and a window in my diary can become a chasm. Perhaps active laziness is a trait that lends itself to a job that requires so much loyalty. But I think the world of Rory, and regardless of whether or not I am working for him I will always be there as a friend.

Interview by Katie Sampson

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn