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“Hey diddle dee dee, an actor’s life for her.”

We’d all love to be famous actors earning millions of pesetas, being recognised all over the world, having our sweat patches enlarged in weekly magazines. Yet as we shall discover, the world of the thespian is a bumpy ride for those without the psychological withnail to cope.

Elvis Presley once sang, “you know, someone said the world’s a stage and each must play a part. Pass the ketchup.” And Elvis was right life is a full length blockbuster and we all have to ham it up every now and then, even if we’re Jewish. If you don’t believe me, try the Birthday Present Test: when receiving an unwanted gift you will likely respond with, ‘how lovely I’ve always wanted a cup made out of cheese’. That is unless you happen to be a method actor in which case you’ll probably get angry and lose weight especially for the answer. Method acting is when you get into character, the wind changes and you stay that way. Famous exponents of ‘the method’ include Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman and Spit the Dog.

Like the blind, actors have special schools. Here they learn to sing, dance, act, and be very needy. Actors need more love than dogs do. This is because they were never shown any as children so took to doing impressions of Frank Spencer to gain attention. This eventually spiralled out of control and into a career based exclusively on insecurity.

There is a great deal of pressure on those in the acting business to remain beautiful and young looking, leading some women into the latest craze, ‘steamrolling’: having their hands run over by steamrollers to flatten out the creases and lines, thereby disguising their age. Necks also show age, but when Joan Collins had her neck steamrolled the results were not satisfactory, for her anyway.

Acting is demanding: faking emotion amongst friends is tiring enough; doing it on stage can be utterly exhausting. Thus to relax actors like to compare parts during trailers or even behind them. An example:

“My part is bigger than your part look.”

“Wow, that is a big part. Mine’s just a cameo in comparison.”

The ‘casting couch’ is the term used for a couch that is perfectly shaped for ill-matched love making. Casting couches can be purchased from all good furniture outlets, though the deluxe Hollywood-leather Couch Supreme is the most comfortable and comes complete with a wipe-clean finish.

The life of an artiste is one of soaring highs and agonising lows: one minute commanding $20m a picture, the next washed up On the Waterfront, with only Porkies, Duck Soup and M*A*S*H for tea, and a Maltese Falcon for company. Still, whether you are a successful actor (on TV and film) or an unsuccessful one (on street corners and crack cocaine), just remember: the show must go on…or straight to video…one of the two.