In Gear with Matt LeBlanc

I have said before that I never had stars in my eyes but you can take it too far. In 1997  ‘Lost in Space’ was being shot at Shepperton Studios and I was asked to go over to the sound stage to meet Norman Garwood the Production Designer to discuss some work.

They were filming somewhere on the stage when I got there but I could not find Norman.  I was in what seemed like the corridor of a space ship. I waited for some time before striking up a conversation with an extra who was in costume and seemed, like me, to be waiting for something to happen.

Me and 'Matt Le Blanc'

Me and ‘Matt Le Blanc’

‘Boring, isn’t it?’ I said to him.  There was not much else to say. He agreed and we chatted about nothing in particular for some minutes, before Dean arrived on the stage with his then girlfriend and we all carried on chatting.

Finally Norman arrived and took me off to the prop room to discuss what was needed. I arrived back at the workshop maybe an hour later.

‘You were having a nice chat to Matt LeBlanc,’  Dean said.

‘Was I ?   Who is Matt LeBlanc ?’   I knew the name vaguely but never having watched ‘Friends’, I didn’t have a clue what he looked like.

‘Well you were standing chatting to him when I came in with my girlfriend.’

‘Oh I thought he was an extra who was having to hang around like me.’   Dean tilted his head to one side, and shaking it slowly, rolled his eyes heavenward, giving me one of those looks.’

‘What are you like ?’  He said exasperated.

I have seen Matt LeBlanc many times since in the BBC’s  ‘Episodes’ and on the ‘Graham Norton Show’ and was reminded of him recently when it was announced that he would be fronting the new BBC ‘Top Gear’ with Chris Evans.

If I had known who he was,  I probably would not have spoken to him.  After I had chatted to him on the stage,  I rang a friend and asked if she knew who Matt LeBlanc was.  I was left in no doubt by her reaction.   Later, in the prop-room of the film, I noticed a full size figure of him in costume.   I asked the Prop Master to take a Polaroid photograph of me next to the model, so I  could send it to the friend.   He took two and I still have one of them.

Maybe there are stars in my eyes after all, even if distant ones.

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