From play­ing foot­ball with Sting to be­ing stood on by Bono, the life of a film and TV starfinder

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

ANORTH Walian who shared down­time with Sting, Bono and Jools Hol­land is de­ter­mined to give the rest of us a lit­tle glimpse of star­dom.

He­len Pritchard is from Llan­rug but, af­ter jet-set­ting around the world to some of the most stun­ning lo­ca­tions, has set­tled back in Ban­gor, act­ing as an agent for ac­tors and un­earthing un­pol­ished gems for ex­tra work.

Al­though the city may seem far re­moved from the glitz and glam­our of Lon­don, New York or the par­adise sands of Montser­rat, for­mer Ys­gol Bryn­re­fail pupil He­len is linked with them all.

From play­ing footy and break­ing plates in Athens with Sting, to help­ing Jools Hol­land get his big pre­sent­ing break and act­ing as a makeshift step­ping stone for Bono, she has seen a side of life most of us can only dream about.

It all started with a first, as she said: “I was the first wo­man to work in the West End on the flys, on West Side Story.”

Flys are the ropes which op­er­ate the pul­lies and weights which move scenery into po­si­tion.

From there she be­came PA to film pro­ducer Rigby An­drews, be­fore go­ing into film pro­duc­tion.

She got into mu­sic videos through a friend’s video pro­duc­tion com­pany.

He­len worked with video pi­o­neers Kevin God­ley and Lol Creme, of 10cc fame, on The Old Grey Whis­tle Test and hob­nobbed with The Po­lice, The Pre­tenders, U2, Echo and The Bun­ny­men, The Ra­mones and Gary Nu­man.

It led to some sur­real mo­ments, in­clud­ing that game of foot­ball with The Po­lice, and a plate-smash­ing ses­sion in an Athens tav­erna in the early 80s.

She said: “I was pro­duc­tion co­or­di­na­tor on Po­lice Around The World.

“The real Greek po­lice were there and they were try­ing to swap sweat­shirts with The Po­lice lo­gos on them.

“It was a bril­liant time. We were in some tav­erna in Athens and Sting and Stewart Copeland were throw­ing the plates on the floor but the restau­rant owner wasn’t too pleased as they have spe­cial plates for that.”

Her game of foot­ball with the band, who were then just about the hottest prop­erty in the world, was fol­lowed by fish and chips with gui­tarist Andy Sum­mers and for­mer Squeeze drum­mer Jools Hol­land.

He­len re­calls how she was in­stru­men­tal in Hol­land get­ting his big break in pre­sent­ing in 1981, when the com­pany she worked for booked him to in­ter­view The Po­lice on the is­land of Montser­rat.

She was pro­duc­tion man­ager on videos with E-Street Band gui­tarist Steve Van Zandt, The Pre­tenders, Echo and the Bun­ny­men and, on an­other, acted as an im­promptu stool for U2 front­man Bono.

She said: “We were do­ing a con­cert with U2 in Lon­don and I was in the orches­tra pit. Bono was just look­ing out at the crowd, singing, and he had one foot on my head.”

He­len is now look­ing for more ex­tras for pro­duc­tions vis­it­ing the area soon and feels there are roles to fit any­one.

She says the area is ben­e­fit­ing from the surge in pop­u­lar­ity of Wales as a lo­ca­tion for big pro­duc­tions.

She said: “I get asked for so many types of peo­ple – ev­ery na­tion­al­ity, race and re­li­gion, from able-bod­ied to dis­abled peo­ple.

“It all de­pends on what pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies are look­ing for but Wales Screen (for­merly the Wales Screen Com­mis­sion) up here is re­ally good.”

How­ever, for any­one think­ing be­ing an ex­tra is a quick way into the film busi­ness, He­len has some sober­ing ad­vice.

She said: “I have had ex­tras who have had lines in pro­duc­tions and gone onto drama school but non-ex­tra roles will nor­mally go to trained ac­tors.”

Any­one in­ter­ested in be­com­ing an ex­tra should send a photo with their mea­sure­ments and con­tact de­tails to clic@bt­in­ter­net.com

Llan­rug-born cast­ing agent He­len PritchardWith Ste­vie Van Zandt Land clear­ance for Wylfa: P10

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