A Lifetime Achievement Award for what is yet to come

By Ruth Caleb Leopardrama

I’m sitting in a cab on my way home from the Women in Film and Television Awards clutching my Lifetime Achievement Award and stone cold sober reflecting on the rather surreal afternoon I’d just had. The last time a received an award I stood up and my skirt fell down. This time I was wearing trousers that I hoped would prove more trustworthy. As I had an acceptance speech to give I decided not to drink and my guest (my daughter) kept me in check.  I’m reflecting upon the day.


I hate getting up on podiums and giving speeches, I get very nervous and stressed, no wonder really if I’m expecting my skirt to fall down!


The Hilton Hotel Mayfair was the venue and we went to the champagne reception at midday and had just the one glass which to be honest did nothing to steady my nerves. My daughter allowed one more and that as that, then we had lunch.


I sat next to Janice Hadlow Controller BBC 2 , all very convivial and the awards ceremony started after the lunch and the atmosphere was jovial, drink fuelled, yes definitely jovial.


Mine was the last award, there were 11 before me, award citations, acceptance speeches and the raffle.  Around 4.30pm it was time for my award and it had been a long afternoon so I suspected nobody really wanted me to ramble on.  Julie Walters who I have worked with a couple of times, and is a super lady, is presenting my award. She says lovely things about me and then up I go.


A standing ovation… and it goes on and on. I  want to cry.  It is very moving. God my speech is so feeble. I’ve heard the other acceptance speeches and wish I’d written something else, something better. Still I get a laugh or two. The bit about how I was trapped alone in a lift with Marlon Brando (true)  and in the desert with Andy mcNabb (also true) seemed to go down well…and the bit about it really being an award for surviving 47 years at the BBC!!!


Ah the stories I could have told, the reputations I could have ruined, but I didn’t. That’s for next time….. I say that I don’t really deserve the award and some yells from the audience that I do. Aaah…


And then it was all over. Should I go on to the party  and miss Coronation Street. Not bloody likely.