'When you get as famous as Jeremy Beadle give us a ring'

DICKIE FANTASTIC on the schmooze
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The Independent Culture
The Jewish Performer of the Year party at the Cambridge Theatre is a notoriously difficult event to gate-crash, seeing as it is not just star-studded, but also a potential Middle Eastern terrorist target. You must remember that we are a race (for I am one) who fervently telephone each other and organise urgent meetings if somebody makes a humorous anti- Semitic aside on Jim Davidson's Big Break, so to have a huge bomb go off down the road, as it did a few short years ago, is nothing short of apocalyptic. Consequently, security tonight is huge, terrifying and ostensibly all aimed at me. "I have got a ticket, I just don't know where," I whine, as six enormous men gaze down upon me, muttering into their walkie-talkies: "He claims to be from the Independent... blue trousers... no ticket... he says he's Jewish."

The party is a remarkably lavish affair made even more so by the military might at the door. Of course, security maketh celebrity, and Ronnie Scott and Uri Geller have never seemed so glamorous as they are tonight - one has to all but traverse landmines and barbed wire to get to tell Jeremy Beadle how much you enjoy You've Been Framed.

In the corner, a bunch of amateur Jewish dancers limber up for their big moment, which is a tad worrying because they are all very clumpy. Jews have never been great at the exquisite art and movement of sound, and a lady, who introduces herself as Gloria, tells me that she's got terrible athlete's foot and is worried that she'll be compelled to bend down and furiously scratch during her big solo. "I said to the doctor, you don't understand, man. Give me some bloody strong industrial lotion. I'm oozing. I told him. I'm oozing. Does he want me to ooze all over the stage? But would he listen to me? Does anyone listen to me?"

"Oh, don't be such an old whiner," interrupts a man who turns out to be Eric Hall, the famed football promoter. "I do a column, too," he says, "in the Sunday People, Jewish material, you know, laughs. Blue but wholesome. I've invented a character called Uncle Morie who gets into all sorts of scrapes."

"Like what?" I ask.

"Oh, you know" says Eric. "Last week Uncle Morie's wife died. I asked him how do you feel? And Uncle Morie said, well, the sex is the same but the ironing's piling up. Ha, ha, ha!"

Eric roars with laughter and three security guards in the corner glance furiously in our direction. "How do you feel about all this security?" I ask a prominent Jewish celebrity who wants to remain anonymous. "It's fabulous," he says. "The Anti-Terrorist Squad come around every half hour to check that I'm OK. You'd probably qualify for protection, too. It won't cost you a penny."

And I'm all for it. Indeed, I'm thrilled at the thought of filling my home with a bunch of new friends who are singularly employed to safeguard my well-being and ask for nothing in return (which is more than you can say for your unwaged chums, who want to tell you their problems and everything).

"Give it a try," he continues. "Go on go and ask."

He takes me over to the head of security and says: "My friend here, he feels as if he may need protection."

"Do you think you're a potential target?" asks the security chief. "Might be," I reply, shrugging modestly.

"Well, join the queue," he says. "Honestly, you London Jews. We've never had so many phonecalls. One young bloke asks for protection last week because someone gave him a nasty look on the Tube. Put it this way..." he pauses. "You're no Jeremy Beadle, are you? When you get as famous as Jeremy Beadle, give us a ring. Then we'll see what we can do."

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