I remember as a child hoping against hope that I would be famous. At first I wanted to be the next David Broome, a show-jumper who rode the curiously named, but very effective chestnut horse Mr Softee. I could think of nothing I wanted more. Public acclaim for doing what I loved most in the world. I believed that with success would come recognition, acclamation even, devotion exceptionally, all of which would contribute to ultimate self-validation. Of course I didn't think of it in those terms then, I just wanted to be famous and for people to recognise me in the street and ask me for my autograph.
Bizarrely, for a sane individual, which I believe myself to be, although the ambition to be a show-jumper receded, the desire to be famous didn't. All through my youth and teenage years I aspired to it - firstly as a jockey, the equine theme continuing as John Francome replaced David Broome as my hero, then as a conductor with the glamorous Carlo Maria Guilini taking on the heavy mantle of my adulation. I never wanted to be a pop or rock singer nor a statesman. Frankly who wanted to look like Marc Bolan or Harold Wilson? I toyed with the idea of TV celebrity and found it not unattractive.
Too lazy to be a proper academic I failed to gain access to Oxbridge [to my parents' chagrin] and tumbled into drama as a relatively easy option. Despite the insecurity of transition from successful public school career through late teenage failure to salvation in the cod and herring rich atmosphere of Kingston upon Hull, complete with its independent telephone company and white phone boxes, the flame was still alight - just.
A course which kept insisting it was non-vocational, but whose alumni include so many who have gone into 'the industry' in one form or another simply fanned the flames. After graduation and consistent work in theatre and radio as an actor I achieved my lifetime's ambition and became famous as a regular character in The Bill. People did recognise me in the street and they did ask me for my autograph. I was even once on the front cover of the TV Times.
And that was when it began to pall. How could I have wanted this? People criticized me and tried to knock me down. I remember a particularly cruel cartoon in the paper which gave me a double chin. I was affronted. Here I was giving pleasure [I thought] to millions and they were having a go! Gradually the appeal of celebrity waned and died. The flame went out. Luckily. For after six years I was written out and celebrity was automatically withdrawn.
That was over thirty years ago. I've had modest success since but have been happy to languish in relative obscurity. There are enough people around ready to have a pop without sticking one's head above the parapet.
Until someone decided to make a TV programme about Arts funding and featured me quite a lot - there was even a picture of me as a policeman all those years ago. It was bizarre experience which culminated in a programme in which I felt misrepresented and, yes I'll use the word, betrayed by the programme makers.
But then what did I expect? It is TV and those who live by the sword usually die by it as well.
Luckily it was screened over the Jubilee weekend and was scheduled against the final of The Voice so it is probably safe to come out already!