I didn't find out, because Barbara was keen to visit another three consignment
shops on Park Avenue. But, as we made our way to the next one, we suddenly found
our way blocked by a fleet of trucks and Winnebagos and an army of about 30
security guards, all crowded around a luxury block of apartments.
Film units are a common sight in Manhattan, but this was the biggest
production I had ever seen. There were vast numbers of crew in attendance, all
in shorts and the obligatory baseball caps, and even the normally nonchalant and
film-savvy New York public were taking a keen interest.
Hundreds of people, including scores of paparazzi, were crowding around a
tape sealing off an area in front of the apartment block. Most of Park Avenue
had ground to a halt and megaphones were hollering at the spectators to keep
back. Whatever this production was, it was mighty.
We dodged round a corner to find another route - and then a vision in scarlet
walked towards me. Kim Cattrall, in a designer gown, was being escorted from the
wardrobe truck by a security guard so big he looked as though he had eaten three
Finally, I realised what had happened - we had stumbled upon the unit for Sex
And The City: The Movie.
Kim was laughing and wearing trainers. Three other members of the crew were
by her side. The traffic was moving on this stretch of the road and she had to
wait to find a gap to cross.
"Kim, we love you," shouted a cab driver as he sped past.
"Oh my God, she's beautiful," said a pedestrian by my side. "And she doesn't
look like she's had work."
"Jump next to her," said Big George. "What?" I asked. "Jump next to her and
I'll take a photo," he insisted.
"Don't be ridiculous. There are at least five men carrying guns and security
guards the size of bungalows. I'm not just going to jump next to her."
But he had given me an idea. We followed Kim around the corner and, when we
got to the tape, flashed our BBC passes. Amazingly, the security guard let us
It was apparent from the five-star location, the limos and the sight of
Stanford Blatch (the gay character loved by the famous four) in a tuxedo that
this was Carrie Bradshaw's wedding. Somehow, we had become part of it.
I have always seen myself as more of a middle-aged Bridget Jones than
London's answer to SJP, but I do have a unique sense of fashion. On this day I
was decked out in Camden Lock retro chic. As for Big G, he wears whatever I tell
him. He always looks cool, if a little dishevelled.
A first assistant with a megaphone headed towards us and asked if we had had
our "final checks".
"Cheques? We haven't had any cheques," replied my partner. But, as I had
flirted with being a thespian, I butted in: "We haven't even been seen by
"No problem," was the response. "You look fine. OK, English couple coming
through. First positions everybody."
We were then herded with four non-English couples into the foyer of the
apartment block, where I almost let myself down. There, in all their stunning
glory, were Charlotte in black couture, Miranda in lilac, holding lilies, and
Samantha with her Jimmy Choos firmly back on.
They were the bridesmaids. And in their midst, with three dressers in
attendance, was Sarah Jessica Parker, Carrie Bradshaw herself, in an ivory
shot-satin wedding dress, green ostrich-plume headpiece and diamante Christian
No sign of Big, or Aidan, or Petrovsky, or any of her other boyfriends. No
groom at all.
There were two flower children, aged about four, in attendance.
Kristin Davis (Charlotte) was playing with them between "takes". I never
discovered who they belonged to. I doubt if they were the offspring of any of
the girls, that would be just too confusing. But, like all American child
actors, they behaved in a very professional way and were probably already
lactose-intolerant and drinking mineral water instead of Coke.
We were handed boxes of confetti and given an outline of the scene that was
about to take place. Carrie's wedding service had just finished and, on the word
"Action", SJP was going to run out of the foyer into the street outside and
towards the limos - pursued by Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha and, finally, us,
the guests, throwing confetti.
The first take was to be a rehearsal. Before that, however, there was only
one thought on my mind. I needed to know how tall SJP really is. Only people my
height (5ft 2in) will relate to this. Can you be a successful actress below
The other three are quite statuesque, but as I sidled towards the bride, who
was perched on stilettos, I had my answer: she was tiny! Lilliputian, in fact.
But at the same time, I had to concede, she was perfect. She had flawless skin,
beautiful permed hair and a general aura of starriness. Stars really are
different to us.
Suddenly, Sarah stung me with her catlike, pinched gaze and I froze. I had
got too near, overstepped the mark of intimacy, invaded her territory.
And then: "ACTION!" I threw confetti and ran, blinking, behind the cast into
the awaiting Press and public on the Avenue. Big George was by my side
pretending to take pics while actually doing so. Hence a collection of wedding
snaps that probably were forbidden.
The crowd were doing the same - and screaming, "Carrie! Samantha!", which
meant the scene was ruined.
Through the megaphone, the assistant director shouted: "OK, that one was for
you. We will do one more for you so that you can get a load of the girls, then,
on the next take, you remain silent. Cool?"
It was never like that during my time in Crossroads. I once filmed an
external scene in a village High Street with Paul Henry, who played Benny, and a
local farmer wandered into shot.
Unfazed, he stared into the camera and waved his stick and, because things
were done on such a shoestring, the whole episode made it on to the screen.
In New York, we had to do the same take 12 times. Every time Carrie and the
girls came outside, someone in the crowd ruined it, either by shouting or by
allowing their reflection to be seen in the windows of one of the limos.
Finally, after an hour and a half, our job was done and George and I were
dismissed. But this was not the end of our role in the film.
Twentyfour hours after the shooting of the most famous wedding scene this
decade, BG and I were on our way to a sake bar in the East Village. Sake is only
50 calories per glass, but you do have to avoid the wasabi dumplings.
We had abandoned the Radio 4 project as I'd broken the microphone while
attempting to almost mug Kim Cattrall, but we were looking forward to the
following day when we had an appointment with the producer of a radio show
hosted by shock jock Howard Stern.
This was our second appointment. I'd met Howard on a previous occasion and he
expressed a desire to set a police television series within my breasts.
He's an inspired radio presenter, although a bit off the wall. The sake bar
would be the best place to prepare for the meeting.
On our way, we stopped by a pharmacy to pick up some toothpaste. It was late
at night and the store seemed unusually bright. The reason why became apparent
as we moved down the aisle: a tiny crew from the SATC movie was doing a quiet
shot of Carrie buying something.
I have no idea where this comes in the film, but this time she was wearing a
pair of tracksuit trousers and her hair was straight, not permed.
It was about 11pm and there was no gazing public, no paparazzi, no circus,
but now two extra members of the cast.
"Hey, it's the English couple," said the now familiar first assistant. "Let's
just have you over by the shampoos."
We didn't argue. You don't on film sets. You do everything unquestioningly.
Sarah Jessica Parker gave me a look of recognition. She was in trainers, I was
in purple suede high-heeled boots. I was a giant, in my mind.
This time the scene took only about half an hour and we were not required to
do or say anything, just stand by, while SJP conducted her mini shopping trip.
I'm still trying to work out how "the English couple" in the chemist shop,
standing by the condoms and being ignored by Carrie, manage to get an invite to
Probably when it comes out, I will be just a shadow. Or maybe not. Apparently
they have filmed three different versions - with three different grooms, I
But, for once, I was in the right place at the right time. And just to answer
a few simple questions: yes, they are all very thin; yes, SJP's mole is as
prominent as it appears, and yes, one of them does have bandy legs.
And, no, I'm not saying who.
Good Mail on Sunday 24th February 2008