ACCORDING TO a gossip item in the national press, someone is planning to make a film about our legendary clinic! Obviously we are all very chuffed by the news. When you've been at the cutting edge of Trendy Addiction Management and Celebrity Burnout Reversal as long as we have, you feel a glow of pride at seeing your professional success commemorated on celluloid there in front of you. The slow tracking shots down our noble corridors... Some muted Elgar to accompany a respectful prowl around the founder's statues... The fawning interview with myself - "But tell me, Sir Giles, do you feel a knighthood is really enough recognition of your historic contrib..."
What? You mean it's a feature film? A made-up, fictional, off-the-top- of-Richard-Curtis's-head sort of film? Oh no. Oh dear. I foresee nothing but trouble. Can you imagine, for one thing, the gaggle of patients from the Patti LuPone Lookalikes/ Tragic Movie Has-Beens In Horrible Make-Up ward, all squawking and flapping around the production team, shouting "Ready for my close-up now, Mr De Mille"?
And as for the plot, well, I could practically write that myself. Let me guess. World-famous actress Lottie Trott (Catherine Zeta-Jones), following unhappy fling with Enrico the loveable waiter at St Martin's Hotel (Antonio Banderas) hits the bottle, Skid Row, Needle Park etc and becomes addicted to cocktails and tranquillisers. Discovered in a coma one morning after disastrously confusing Temazepam and Tabasco, is sent to world-famous Friary for treatment. (Elgar music over shot of rolling lawns? Hitchcock- style-walk-on shot of me? Or not?) During gruelling first week (make-up: black circles round eyes, hair drenched in Vaseline) meets Clive, floppy- haired wise-cracking public schoolboy ( I can't think who - Martin Clunes? Boris Johnson?) going through 120-step programme to cure Completely Fake Stammer Affectation. They fall in love, but cannot leave to start a new life together because evil Sister Josephine, in charge of the Eating Disorders Carvery, wants Clive for herself...
Perhaps I could enlist Prince Edward's help? I'm sure I could rely on him to see things were kept tasteful. And he could do with the commission. Poor boy. Since he arrived here on Friday, we've hardly seen him. He keeps to his private room in our glamorous but not-much-used Chronically Inept Royal Pipsqueak Ward, talking to his shadow on the wall, to newsreaders on television, to the orderlies who bring him his lunch off the "Sandringham Sandwiches" menu.
"Would you like to be in my next movie?" he asks them all. "It's a complete departure from my other stuff. It's called My Favourite Moat and stars, well, me obviously, and lots of talented pieces of wood as drawbridges and there's a scene where lots of really, you know, horrid journalists fall into this disgusting green slime..."
Poor boy. It can't be easy, living with his condition. It's a form of schizophrenia. One half of the brain says: "Course, I'm not royal, not really, I'm an individual, an artist, a dreamer, a showbiz impresario, Eddie Windsor doesn't need all that royal tat, no way!" The other half says: "How dare you presume to criticise me or my business dealings, you uncouth little man? Have you any idea who I am? Do you realise that, as well as being plain, straight-talking Eddie Windsor, I am also the Nawab of Peshwari, the Sultana of Nutt, the Baron of Bismuth?"
But no one will respect him for being royal or admire him for not being royal. Hence his condition. It's thankfully rare but incurable. Edward is suffering from Not-Working-Title Syndrome.
There's just time to welcome Frank Skinner to the day-room, where he has been amusing the long-stay patients with his droll antics. We think you're wonderful, Frank. We're sorry you haven't copped a share of $5.5m like David Baddiel, or a million quid Sky deal like Harry Enfield. But you must understand that sitting in an armchair and raising your eyebrows charmingly at an audience does not entitle you to pounds 20m. You haven't earned it yet. So we're putting you in the Chris Evans Wing for people with a farcically inflated sense of their own worth, and hope you'll be happy. And who knows? If you hit it off with the Earl of Wessex, we could have a new Morecambe and Wise on our hands...Reuse content