OK this needs some explaining. The Hollywood A-lister must be used to fans, paparazzi, journalists, critics, aspiring actors, writers brandishing their scripts, charity workers requesting a donation or endorsement – any number of people wanting his attention. And he’s 87 now, so he knows how to handle them. But sometimes I guess he’s not in the mood.

SarahLockett voxpops

So there he was, bowling along Upper Street in Islington, north London and he came face to face with me, plus a TV camera crew, holding a microphone. The Canadian star was in town to appear at the Savoy Theatre in ‘Enigmatic Variations’. It was 2001 (so he was 65 then, to be fair).

He faltered, glanced at his assistant, spent a split second wondering if he could turn back or cross the road. Then he decided to face the problem head on, and kept walking towards me.

What he didn’t know was: there was a postal strike and I was standing outside Islington Post Office vox-popping customers about how inconvenient it was not to be able to post letters, or get their passport applications verified, or collect their pensions. Side note: that Post Office (and the huge sorting office behind it) has now all disappeared and been redeveloped into a housing estate, so local people now know it’s even more inconvenient not to have a Post Office at all).

I smiled at Donald, as I now like to call him, once he got within speaking distance, and told him not to worry, we were just covering the postal strike. How we laughed. He was relieved – and went on his way: it was just a little drama, a little moment of disquiet in the gazillion moments of unease/panic/alarm that we have every day, and across a lifetime. I have certainly remembered it. He probably hasn’t, to be fair. Although please, Donald, get in touch if you do!

So, why am I telling you this? What’s my point, my Life Lesson? Well, I suppose: don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t catastrophise and think things are going to be worse than they are. Don’t think everything is about you. But, on the other hand: do listen to your gut (as I’ve said before) and have your antennae out, always noticing, clocking and observing what might be about to slap you in the face. Or not.

Here endeth the lesson. And I’ll let you know if Donald gets in touch. My old mate 🙂

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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