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The night I starred in my very own rom-com

By Frances Burscough

Published 12/09/2015

Frances Burscough
Frances Burscough

Notting Hill was on TV last Sunday night. It was late and I was tired, but just as I was about to switch off the telly and go to bed, the opening credits rolled and I couldn't resist. I never can.

I've seen that film at least ten times and I'll probably watch it ten times more in the future. Even though as a rule I don't like rom-coms, this is exceptional. Hugh Grant stars as William Thacker, an ordinary bloke working in a book shop in Notting Hill. One hum-drum day a woman (played by Julia Roberts) comes into the shop and she happens to be Anna Scott, the most famous actress on the planet. Then, following a series of funny events, they get together, fall in love and the rest is movie history.

As love stories go it is almost perfect. I say almost, because the entire story depends on the fact that we accept Hugh Grant as just an ordinary bloke. The suspension of disbelief is vital, even though in real life Hugh Grant the actor is just as famous as Julia Roberts.

As I got ready for bed, my mind started to wander. Could the film have been even better if William's character was played by a totally unknown actor? My mind wandered further. And how about a new film along the same theme, but this time the lead character is an ordinary woman who meets a mega-star? My train of thought drifted as I recalled that Brad Pitt is in town filming a new movie with Robert Pattinson. Fantasy began to merge with reality like it always does when I'm falling off to sleep, then something happened to bring me to my senses with a jolt.

The phone rang. It was my editor.

She needed me to get to the office quick. Half the night shift had fallen sick with a bug and it was all hands on deck to get tomorrow's paper out. I jumped in the car, still half asleep, and set off towards Belfast. Just as I was passing Cultra a fox leapt over the railings of Ballymenoch Park and onto the road right in front of me. I instinctively slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid hitting it. Phew, I missed it! I thought as I watched it disappear into a hedge, not realising that a vehicle was fast approaching behind me, slamming on its breaks too. Wham. Right into the back of my car. I jerked forward with a thud.

"Ma'am? Are you ok? Ma'am?"

I was dazed and confused. So dazed and confused that the man peering into my face looked exactly like Brad Pitt.

"I'm fine, I think ... but my car probably isn't!" I said as I stumbled out to survey the damage. Just as I thought. My beloved Mini was even mini-er, corrugated to half its size by a ... a ... massive stretch limo? What the heck? I shook my head in case I was imagining things and looked again. Yes, it was indeed a chauffeur-driven stretch limo (completely untouched by the impact) and the man who'd climbed out of it actually was Brad Pitt... Brad Bloody Pitt ! Followed by Robert Bloody Pattinson.

Oh my GOD! I've died and gone to Heaven!! I thought as my legs buckled beneath me, my eyes rolled back and I fainted briefly into their outstretched arms.

"That's enough talking young lady!" said Brad. "You're coming with us, to our hotel room. We'll make you comfortable, order you a cocktail and then call my private doctor," as he scooped me up into his arms and carried me into his luxury limo.

Brad took off his coat and draped it across me to keep me warm. Robert lay my head on his lap and leaned down close. "You'll be alright soon," he whispered. "Once we've kissed you better."

And then he started nibbling and licking my ear. His tongue went deeper and deeper and then ... Oh bugger! It was Bailey, my dog, licking me awake because he needed to go outside for a wee.

Okay, so it may have only been a dream but it had the makings of a great romantic film. So for the rest of this week I've been finishing the story.

Guys, if you're reading this, I'll sell it to you, on condition that I get to play myself of course. And you get to play you.

Belfast Telegraph

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