Gather round and listen. Leave off your toiling and games and pay attention, for I bring you a tale of those you wish to know.
The epic has progressed for several years now, and we are no closer to the end, maybe even further from the end than we were when we started.
The characters in my tale are many, and some you will recognise. There are heroes and heroines, lovers, husbands and wives, parents. Wild men and docile women. Brave ladies and scared dandies. Each of them passes before our eyes on a regular basis.
Today we see a new king, looking nervous in case he forgets his lines and ruins the event, blotching his reputation.
Secret lovers stealing glances at each other, believing no-one else sees these.
At the celebration there will be dancing bears, wrestlers, jugglers. Around the tables, knights and ladies, a wizard or two. All invited guests. Of course there will be at least one uninvited guest, but will it be the witches, or maybe, the minotaur, forcing his ugly way into the party?
7.30 am and we are ready. The row of chairs in front of the mirrors for the hairdressers, and chairs facing us for makeup. Lights all over show up our facial bags and sags, not enough sleep, and for some – minor hangovers.
The boxes of facial pictures, detailed instructions of the makeup used. Each for a character and scene. Many remain the same right through their time with us, some age or change. Of course with filming nothing happens in chronological order. We film snippets, the editors stitch it all together.
Helman over there has the extras. He is amazing how he has them doing basecoat for each other, prepping the canvas for the bits of work he has to do on them. They all seem to like being a part of the makeup session. He gets as many ready as are needed and never seems rushed.
But what you want to know is not written in the never-ending scripts, it is in the secrets of the lives of these stars.
Frank, who plays the wizard is making us all laugh. Far from being a recluse, he is gregarious with an outrageous sense of humour. David, his partner who plays the dandy is sitting in the corner, he has only started with us recently, a man of such startling physical beauty one easily misses the meanness inside.
The three witches are over in the corner with Therese, makeup done, but their wigs need some work. Ever since they took her out one night about four months ago, their makeup has been perfect first time, every time. Helman swears they put a spell on poor Therese. She just says she can’t remember what happened that evening.
The girl, older in reality than the character she plays, her husband beats her. Twice recently we couldn’t cover the damage for a few days, that really threw out the filming schedule. If people really knew, would some hero come to rescue her and make her happy? No they stand by watching, judging her when she makes the smallest error.
The new king, out of rehab for only a few months, becoming a spokesman for an addiction management society made his career falter. This role is small as he is due to die shortly, after al if you can’t kill a king, how can you have a royal funeral, and the director has the perfect place for the burning funeral barge to be filmed.
For the TV epic story, each character is one persona for the cameras, speaking in strange voices, making impossible promises. Before their makeup is on and they assume these characters, they are others, just human. The heroic actions for the screen are not usually repeated in their private lives, and when they are, you the viewers and ardent readers of the popular press only want to hear of the failures.