It's Showtime!

News | 12/08/20

Whisper Publishing has done us proud with the release of the first of three promotional videos for our forthcoming debut novel “Lottery Loveboat”.

Mike and I had a lot of fun searching through our respective photo albums (that shows how old we are!) for suitable ones to use in this first showreel, which introduces the two of us as: Mel Penrose -  one author, two writers.

We both managed to come up with some decent shots from our early careers in journalism and PR and the wonderful Jake Miller, one of Whisper’s creatives, came up with all the fancy graphics stuff. Look out for the surfers cruising along the bottom of the page towards the end of the video which we thought was a particularly inspired touch.


A farewell toast to Margarita Pracatan

A lady as exotic as the cocktail she could have been named for

Working as a press officer at the BBC's Pebble Mill Studios in Birmingham in the late 1990s meant promoting some of the nation's best-loved programmes from the era - Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson, whom I always remember for his lovely manners, The Clothes Show with the edgily glamorous but completely charming and down-to-earth Caryn Franklin, and Can't Cook, Won't Cook with the irrepressible Ainsley Harriott who filled every room he was in with his laughter and personality.

I can't remember why Australian broadcaster Clive James was at the studios one particular day but I do remember feeling utterly terrified at being told to look after his companion, Margarita Pracatan, known for her flamboyant and highly comical musical turns on his chat show. From what I'd seen of her on the television, I thought she was completely bonkers and I wasn't even sure she understood English so it was with some trepidation I embarked on the standard studio tour with her.

I needn't have worried. She was certainly flamboyant, trailing down the sober corporate corridors of the BBC in her trademark feather boa and a velvet evening dress, full of loud laughter and asking endless questions in her heavily accented English, which was as wayward as her musical talent! But if she found the behind-the-scenes reality rather less exciting than the more-familiar on-stage spotlight, she didn't bat one of her heavily mascaraed eyelids. She was funny and charming and delighted everyone she met. She was even forgiven for wandering onto the set of Can't Cook, Won't Cook, delighting the studio audience who went wild when they realised who she was, completely disrupting the recording schedule.

And underneath the rather child-like gusto, there was a kind, warm and generous woman who was great fun to be with, bringing colour and  glamour to the most humdrum occasion and who, having found out I was heavily pregnant, not only presented me with her beautiful boa when we parted with hugs and kisses, but also found time to arrange for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to me in the press office as a thank you the following day. 

The heavenly choir has a new star performer in its midst. God bless, Margarita.

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