The new TV ad for the Almera is being unveiled tomorrow at the Prince Charles Theatre in the West End. You'll remember last year's car ad featured a spoof Bodie and Doyle from The Professionals. Now the same actors (Ray Trickett and Phil Cornwell) are being transformed into the Sweeney duo. The cinema will be swathed in tape ("police line - do not cross") and "bathed in flashing blue light", two Almeras will be rammed on to the pavement, plus there'll be (here we really do enter the realms of PR nightmare) a "four strong bulging-bellied polyester-shirted formation dance team and a capella Sweeney theme-tune combo whose choreography is entirely inspired by flying-squad poses". Inside, fans will cavort in a Nirvana of Seventies styling, with babycham, clinging birds and "the epitome of OTT cigar-toting, rug-headed, high-kicking cabaret chic, Mr Lenny Beige".
Or maybe they won't. A question-mark hangs over at least one element of the night's revelries: the promised lookalikes. Far from 50 "die-hard" fans, the organisers seem pushed to find five. Consider the evidence: Thames TV, who made the original series over 20 years ago, have no record of the Sweeney Supporters Society. UK Gold, currently re-running the series, has never heard of them. Chris Perry, who runs a TV archive called Kaleidoscope, spent four months compiling an index of TV fan clubs for UK Gold and never uncovered any form of Sweeney society, despite putting ads in the national press and on the satellite channel. "Six people responded saying they were fans of the show, but their interest wasn't very serious," says Chris. "Not many could even say who'd written it."
Finally, the rapidly cooling trail leads to Phil, who works in the Nottingham branch of SF bookshop Forbidden Planet. Phil's been trying to get an issue of a Sweeney fanzine together, but even he hadn't heard of the SSS. Hmmm. So where are the missing men? And can they be run to ground before tomorrow night's premiere? Sounds like one for Regan and Carter to crack.
Bowie's everywhere in his 50th year, innee, what with his jungly new album, his high-brow musings on modern art, and his "top geezer" visa triumphantly restamped. And now he crops up in the new film Basquiat, playing Andy Warhol. Or does he?
Well, I've seen it and while I agree that the portrayal of Warhol is mischievous, funny and touching - love that accent! - it quite clearly isn't Bowie at all under the white fright-wig but Eileen Atkins, mad staring eyes and all. Sterling acting all round, though, with such cast-against- types as Courtney Love playing a character called, ahem, "Big Pink" and Tatum O'Neal as an airhead art collector. Wow ...
And now, a public-service announcement. Well, why not? Even I can't be horrible all the time. Actors have Oscars, novelists have Bookers, artists have Turners and even chemists have the Nobel Prize. But photographers? Nada. Nuffin. Until now. The London Photographic Awards are launched this year with the theme "Altered States", and yes, you can enter. The closing date is 18 July, and the entry fees are quite steep, so now is not the time to unleash "Portrait of my Thumb (New York)" upon the world. Contact Kevin O'Connor (0181 392 8557) for an entry form.Reuse content