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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Film Stars at 5 Months!

Prompt 2 Public or Private.

Covington Cross - The Hero

Lights, Camera Action

For this prompt I picked a subject I have been meaning to scrap for some time and decided it needed at least a double layout. I have thought long and hard about what to share and what to hide on the layout and on the post.

Back in 1992 when my triplets were babies we were involved in some filming for television. I
wrote this account of the experience for the
TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association) Magazine. Although my photographs of the event were not brilliant I have been meaning to scrap them for some time. I decided to do a double layout of us all in the dressing room, and a single layout of the babies on set. I put some details on the layouts but the actual words of the article are hidden but not secret. Here is the article itself including the pictures that were published with my write up:

Lynn with Emily - notice the row of baby bottles

“We had a phone call from Jo Humm at ‘Super Twins’ one Thursday afternoon. “Would you like to take the girls along to be filmed for television on Monday?” she needed to know quickly. I was not sure whether I wanted to get involved or how Alan would feel about the idea. I had lots of questions which Jo was unable to answer at this point, except to say that she had checked the babies would not be involved in anything horrible. She added that generally people find it an interesting and financially rewarding experience.

Alan and I decided to give it a try if they could promise to provide facilities for us to care for the babies without too much disruption. We also felt we required a reasonable fee plus travelling expenses and Alan’s loss of earnings for the day.

We had lots of questions when, later that day we were contacted by Bea from Central Castings. We wanted to get involved, it sounded exciting and interesting, and we could do with some extra cash. We were concerned it might upset the babies, or they might not live up to the television company’s expectations.

By Friday evening we had negotiated the ‘deal’! They wanted a baby for the Medieval Christening of the King’s nephew in a series called ‘Covington Cross’. You ma have seen the pilot shown on August Bank Holiday 1992 (if you did, what was it like?). Twins were required so they could swap babies if one became tired or fractious. I reminded Bea that Catherine and Emily were not identical, and was told that a bonnet would cover their different hair colouring. I also pointed out we had triplets and not twins, so I would need to bring all three babies with me. “No problem!” we were told. They agreed the fee we Jo had advised us to ask for.
It all sounded great, what could go wrong? …… We were required to be at Shepperton with three five month old babies at 8.00 a.m.! Well at this point we did not even know where it was, how long it would take or what hour we would need to get up in the morning. Bearing in mind the babies had just started sleeping through to 7.00 a.m. I hesitated for a few seconds – the next thing I knew the television company were sending a car and keeping the fee the same. We needed to be ready at 6.45 a.m. This sounded more civilised. They promised to try to keep the job to one day, but it could be a long day.

Catherine and Emily learning the script!
As you can imagine we were up until late on Sunday evening preparing for the day ahead. What should we take? What should we leave behind? We decided to take the babies in their car seats which we could use as seats fro them during the day. They could also lay down if we took some blankets. So having crawled from our bed at 5.00 a.m., and with a day’s supply of feeds, we set off in the seven seater car which arrived promptly at 6.30 a.m.
Alan and the babies in the dressing room, just to prove we took Andrew along
We were late arriving due to delays on the M25, but we were welcomed and shown to the premier dressing room with a comfortable sofa and en suite. There were facilities for making ourselves drinks and warming the feeds although this and the canteen were a distance from our dressing room. My most useful tip for anyone else who gets involved is take your own kettle. We had to time the disappearances from the room carefully, so we were not missing when a baby were wanted on set.
How do you decide which baby to use when you have three? Well poor Andrew had to be counted out; he was too big for the gown. Emily was asleep so Catherine made the first appearance and Emily had her turn later. In fact the procession enters the church with Catherine, both babies are christened from different angles and Emily leaves the font in the King’s arms!

The whole process took three days; each part had to be filmed from different angles. We spent many hours in the dressing room while rehearsals were performed with a doll. All the filming involving extras had to be carried out first. The closes up scenes of the actual ceremony were not filmed until the third day. However we enjoyed these days, playing with the babies without having to worry about housework or washing. I also did lots of knitting while the babies slept.

Emily on set
Unfortunately Alan was unable to take more than one day off work, so both my sisters-in-law accompanied me, Marion on Tuesday and Barbara on Wednesday. Help is essential in the form of another adult the babies know well, one person to stay with two babies while the other takes the star to perform! It was exciting seeing all the actors, the director and producer and all the support teams working together. We were amazed at the long process involved in producing what will probably be about five minutes television.
Thursday and Friday were spent catching up on the jobs which had fallen behind at home, and by this time I was pretty exhausted. However it was worth the effort and the babies seemed to enjoy all the attention and the colours and lights. They behaved extremely well and we were very proud. I would certainly take up the opportunity another time should we be asked.
A big bonus was that we expected the fee to cover the job, but it turned out to be the daily rate! Andrew, Catherine and Emily’s bank accounts are all much healthier as a result. – until Mum and Dad need some money for the next big expense involved in rearing triplets.

If you are a member of TAMBA and you are offered the opportunity, I hope you find it as interesting and worthwhile. Meanwhile, watch out for episode four of ‘Covington Cross’ (The Hero) to be screened on ITV in January 1993. However if you are planning to travel to America you can see it sooner. It’s now February 1994 and we have not seen it yet – although it was shown in America in 1992. The television company will not release the video until it has been shown on TV. I only wish I took some better photographs, but at least I did take some to record the experience.”We did eventually receive a copy of the episode, and the girls have enjoyed watching it from time to time and debating which baby is which! They can claim to have acted with James Nesbitt and Cherie Lunghi.



  1. Wow Lynn, this has been fascinating reading this, proper little stars eh.Love the layouts you made with the pics too..xxxx

  2. I've been rubbing shoulders with celebs and never knew it!
    What a fantastic experience Lynn and what an addition for their CV's. Great LO too.

  3. What a lovely memory for you all Lynn


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