What are we like? No, really.

As a family, we seem to attract entirely the wrong kind of attention. Well,  the wrong kind for a homeless writer. (Me.)

No one, for example, has ever asked me to write my life story. Yet this week, for the third time in the last five years, we’ve been asked to take part in a new reality TV show.

I’m the one with the unwashed hair and border line alopecia.

Stuff like this happens to us with freakish regularity and I promise you,  I don’t pursue it. I don’t have an agent for this kind of thing. I don’t advertise us as ‘family for hire’ but, for some reason, we seem to be a magnet for these kind of requests.  Take the brochure on the right. We were just leaving the theatre when a man with a camera ambushed us.  Before I had time to remember I hadn’t washed my hair for a week, we were sat on a bench with pretend coffee, laughing hysterically at nothing, promoting the upcoming theatre season.  Why?

What on earth made us good material for advertising?

It seems to run in the family. My Gran headed up a leaflet campaign for the nursing home  she spent her final days with.   No disrespect to my Gran, she was quite lovely, but  Helen Mirren she was not. So what was it that gave her this final starring role?

Actually, her name was Winnie.

Maybe we give off a comfortable air of homely ordinariness? Maybe, *shudder*, we have a whiff of the Jeremy Kyles about us.

Jeremy Kyle or not, I said no to the reality TV thing. A bit of a show off I may be, but,  the thought of my home and family being invaded by strangers makes me hunch my shoulders and snarl.

The kids were disappointed but they’re as fickle as anything with stuff like this.  Take the bank advert fiasco.  Last year, my bank rang me up and asked if a film crew could come to our house for their new Tv advert.  (See, see what I mean?  I’m not imagining it, we really do get asked quite often.)

Despite thinking it wouldn’t do any harm to suck up to my bank, I said,

‘Sorry, no, the kids  don’t like that sort of thing.’

This was not a random excuse. The previous year, my children made it quite clear they didn’t do acting. That same year I had turned down a request  to be in  another reality TV show ( I am not kidding) and the children, feeling  a bit of playground kudos had been snatched from their grasp, were really annoyed with me.  So, when I was offered a bit of film work,  I thought I could make it up to them.

I said I’ll do it if the kids could be extras. It was a couple of days filming, it wasn’t in my house, it was a friendly, small production company, fairly local location, easy. (If you’re interested, we’re in this trailer for a nano second at about 2minutes12, don’t  buy the video, it’s very depressing)

No more close ups mummy, please....

The kids were most unimpressed. The food was alright , they said, and the cash was nice, but they didn’t want to do it again. It was boring.

With that clear in my mind,  when we were asked to do the advert for the bank, I had no hesitation in saying no.

Small Boy announced,

‘You’re ruining my chances in life!’ ( Hey? )

I sighed, then, being completely soft and having utterly no discipline,  I rang the filmy person back and said we’d do it. I vacuumed and dusted and dragged my beloved in to talk about  savings accounts.

Beloved HATES this sort of thing. He was once asked to be all farmery on a tractor for a certain well known supermarket’s ad. campaign ( I know, you’re not even surprised now are you?).  His answer was short and to the point.


To be fair, he did offer them me,  but I wasn’t man enough to be a farmer, apparently.

Anyway, back to the bank advert.  I vaccumed, dusted, dragged in beloved and had camera wires trailed all over my kitchen floor. Were the children grateful? Of course not.

‘Why did you have to say that about university Mum? blah blah blah…’


So that’s it.  No, reality TV.  No matter  how much weedling is weedled,  we shall not be taking part in;  ‘Rich kid works on farm and it’s really horrid.’

There’s a limit to how much  vacuuming and dusting and being told off for saying the wrong thing I want to do in life.

Makes you think though, doesn’t it? They might not be beating down my door for a book deal but there sure is a market for haggard looking mothers and their bouncy offspring.

Maybe I should say yes.

Maybe I could reach some  pinnacle of ordinaryness and get a celebrity book deal.

Hmmmm. What did I do with that phone number…..?

A life more ordinary.....
A life more ordinary…

21 Comments Add yours

  1. Keren David says:

    Say yes! You’ll be a star and then you can go on Strictly Come Dancing, I’m a Celebrity, Dancing on Ice…mega book deal assured. Look at Jordan.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      I don’t have any balloons down my jumper though – do you think Gillian will lend me hers?

  2. Nick Cross says:

    I remember how disappointed we were when the BBC “Holiday” programme approached us while in the South of France and my dad refused. I can remember rushing down to the pool and swimming up and down, hoping to get into the camera shot while the presenter did his spiel.

    Still, I did get on TV twice after that and I think the excitement died fairly quickly thereafter.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      The cruelty of parents, you should have tried the ‘You’re ruining my chances in life’ line….

  3. bookwitch says:

    I was once interviewed on BBC news and it was one of the worst things ever to happen to me. Couldn’t leave the house for weeks afterwards.

  4. Nancy H says:

    I’ll tell you why you always get asked – because you’re all gorgeous and extraordinary individuals! All that in one family… well, who wouldn’t notice it?

    But give any control to the media about your private life and you’ve lost. Who comes out ahead in this equation? The media.

    I was once “spokesperson” for some advertising industry issue, and the press made me sound defensive and stupid. (Actually, maybe they got that right.) Anyway, it wasn’t nice.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Doesn’t sound like the Nancy I know xx

  5. Wow – I can see a strong family connection here, aside from the greasy unwashed hair and the smelly dog, the out of control desk with boxes of pills on it, the fact you bank with Barclays, tells me that we must be related. (I also have a little Barclays card reader machine next to my calculator upon my unkempt desk.)

    We have evolved Kathryn from she, the one and only star of the extra care brochure…. *drum roll*
    Winifred Lillian Brookes.

    Our extra ordinary grandmother has furnished this family with the ability to star in promotional material all over the country, from theatre fliers, to TV soaps and commercial ads.
    Our very own ‘not quite’ Helen Mirren matriarch of the family ‘Winnie’ also took part in horse riding and white water rafting in her 84th year with her nursing home. At the time she was wearing 2 incontinence pads and her neighbours false teeth (she was likened to Shergar and struggled to eat a Murray mint) Thankfully Gran did not capsize otherwise shifting 2 well moistened heavy duty incontinence pads could have caused all manor of trauma in her cotton slacks. As far as I remember they also dug a very large hole for the horse to walk into so Gran could get let legs over and get in the saddle. As luck would have it the horse riding and white water rafting didn’t take place on one and the afternoon.

    Previous notable achievements in her life included a brief moment on Songs of Praise when she wore a delightful woolly hat.
    Is it any wonder that a family such as this would be called upon for important roles including the reality TV show “Rich kid works on farm and it’s really horrid”

    I myself have had dealings ‘Don’t tell the bride’ and that ever popular TV hit ‘Dead Strange’ staring Richard ‘I’m going to wear a dress today’ O’Brien.

    Any interested TV, film or promotional leaflet makers please send your enquiries to Mr A Evans who will thoroughly vet them then throw them into the septic tank.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      i remember that woolly hat – oh laughing so much, God bless you Gran and your crab paste sandwiches xx

  6. julie w says:

    I can’t believe you are saying no, how selfish!! never mind your kids, think of all your desperately eccentric and entertaining friends who are being denyed bit parts and thus a range of exciting opportunities……career boosts/ spin off shows/ Z list luncheons/ romance/ chances to appear as the second pirate from the left in next year’s pantos…….(oh go on please…..we’d all love to watch it!)

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      You make me laugh so much! as for that role as second pirate, am sure i can sort something out…..

  7. Yvonne says:

    Must be the openness you ooze and the hectic lifestyle to compliment……a cameraman’s dream!! Still great playground kudos though……. “We keep being asked, but it’s really not our thing”. Those people on Jeremy Kyle aren’t real are they??!!

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      That would explain a lot!

  8. Lucy Coats says:

    Some people are babe magnets, others attract reality tv, ‘s a fact. That Gillian gets a bit snarly about lending out her balloonies–just ask Nicky Schmidt. I wouldn’t if try stealing them if I were you.

    My own experiences of tv are as follows: Age 6 in advert for cornish pasties. I hate cornish pasties at the best of times–this is why. They were rank and vile and cold because no one could be bothered to heat them up. Yucko.
    Age 35. I was on a programme all about women in shamanism. I sounded like I had a posh rod up my ass in the interview–and you saw my bare ass crawling into the sweatlodge tent. Choice. Age 40 something. I was interviewed about my novel. The pin on mike fell down my bra.

    I do not like being on telly. You are wise to resist its siren lures. You will (from my own experience) either be revolted, embarrassed or just look plain foolish.

    Lucy @ http://scribblecity.blogspot.com

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      I will resist and bide my time….think I saw that programme about women in shamanism, nice arse ;O)

  9. Paula says:

    Surely if there was a market for haggard mothers with bouncy offspring then fame would have found me by now. I’m sure I have that down to a T!


  10. “Some people are babe magnets, others attract reality tv”

    Yep I like that analogy, I occasionally use a similar one

    ” some people in life are fountains and others are drains”

    Apparently Shamans are said to treat ailments and illness by mending the soul.

    Isn’t this what Jeremy Kyle is trying to do on his show? or is he just trying to fix an arse ‘ole?

  11. Now look here, I am not averse to lending out my balloonies in a good cause but I do have to be attached to them. Because I am in fact very attached to them. So please reconsider the reality thing but get me a spot too. Even though, like Ann, the time I got interviewed on the BBC (World Service, so no-one heard me, thank God) I had to stay in the house for two weeks afterwards, eating the cats.

    I want to be on Jeremy Kyle. How could you not? What are you doing to your children? They’ll end up going on CopyCats on CBBC and then you’ll be sorry.

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      *shudder* Is it a skateboard? No, no you idiot, it’s a teacup….

  12. Helena Halme says:


    I found your blog via Help! I Need a Publisher and laughed out loud at your family antics. I’m sure you are just so lovely and friendly everyone wants to work with you.

    I will definitely stop by here again.

    Helena xx

    1. V. Kathryn Evans says:

      Thanks Helena!

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