The Runaway

The Runaway is a six part mini-series for Sky TV in the Uk, based on Martina Cole's novel of the same name.  I play Desrae, a transvestite singer and owner of a club in London's Soho in the swinging sixties.

I really liked this character initially because he was strong and proud in the face of so much adversity.  I then really liked the fact that he and his gangster boyfriend (the amazing Ken Stott, with whom I worked years ago inPlunkett and Macleane) were actually the most loving and stable couple in the whole story! Then I really liked the relationship he had with Cathy, the runaway of the title, played by Joanna Vanderham.  He is basically the matriarch of the whole thing. Oh, and he doesn't get shot or beaten to death like most of the rest of the characters!!

So it was a new and interesting thing for me, and then came the most challenging part: going to South Africa and transforming into a laydee.  That was a nightmare. I hate to Veet (or Nair) all the hair off my body and then there were the shoes (ouch), the bras (ouch), the  nails (ouch) and the many hours in make-up (ouch ouch). I have a new-found respect for women after doing this.  It seems interesting to me that so much of a woman's appearance, or in the way a woman is desired, is designed to keep her in bondage or to make her vulnerable. Very interesting, Mr Bond.

Anyway, some days I felt like a lovely lady, like the scenes when I performed numbers in my club. Then, on other days I felt like an bloke in a bad wig. But I guess that's the whole kaleidoscope of Desrae.