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Celeb spot no. 178

July 30, 2008

Anyone can spot big celebrities. It’s easy enough to identify David Beckham as he strolls along Palmers Green. It takes a real eye to spot lesser celebrities. Fortunately, Muswell Hill is chock full of B and C-list celebs, so I get plenty of practice.

On Saturday, as the girlfriend and I departed for an epic walk around Hampstead Heath, I spotted John Sim as he walked past me on Muswell Hill Broadway.

“That bloke who walked past us,” I whispered. “That was John Simm.”

“Who?” said the girlfriend. She’s Australian, after all. I can’t identify the stars of Blue Heelers.

“Umm… he was the Master in the recent Dr Who. And he was in the Lakes and Human Traffic.”

“Nope.”

“Oh, he played the lead in Life on Mars.”

“Oh! Him! I like him.”

It wasn’t the first time I’ve spotted him, so I reckon he must live quite locally.

Then, this afternoon I arrived back from work at Finsbury Park and queued in the heat for the W3 bus. At the top of the queue was a man in a porkpie hat. I quickly identified him as Ian Hart – of Backbeat and The End of the Affair (and Harry Potter, I’ve just discovered). I shuffled down the bus and sat at the back – although not in the corner. Never sit in the corner on a hot day because you’re just above the motor and end up boiling. When the bus got to the end of Stroud Green Road, it stopped and stayed stationary for ages. Eventually I walked to the front and asked the driver what was going on. Apparently there was some kind of burst watermain on Ferme Park Road, and he wasn’t sure if the bus was allowed to turn there. Then Ian Hart got up and spoke to the driver, and we chatted briefly.

“I got the bus this morning, and it was fine,” he said.

“I know Ferme Park Road was closed last week as well,” I said. “It’s probably the same thing.”

At no point did I shout out “I, AND ONLY I, KNOW THAT YOU ARE IAN HART, THE ACTOR!”

Bizarrely, he had a piece of wood in his mouth. It was like a foot-long branch that he was chewing on. Maybe he is trying to give up smoking. As he departed the bus a few stops before me, I saw that he had a script in his hand. I hope it’s good.

I should note another minor celeb spot. Last week I was at a party in Brick Lane with my friend Leila and we spotted Michelle Dewbury, who won The Apprentice a few years ago. I wondered what she was doing there, but I found out that she used to share an office with Paul Carr, formerly of The Friday Project, who had invited me to the party.

Sadly, none of the celebs ever approach me and ask me for an autograph.

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