It’s Scott who answers the door when I call on the Mills family at their East London apartments. He has a kindly face but a slightly haunted look about him. “Don’t make my sister angry!” he pleads, and insists I leave my shoes (“they look like leather even if they’re not!”) in the hallway for fear that they’ll enrage her.
As I’m ushered into the kitchen-cum-living-room I catch my first glimpse of Heather, resplendent upon a pearlescent throne. “Lovely to meet you Heather,” I say, stepping forward.
“I prefer Lady McCartney on a first meeting,” she advises informally, with a thin smile.
I cast my eyes around the luxurious room. There’s a boy in the corner, Heather’s son Dylan from an early marriage. He’s famous too, known to millions of schoolchildren for his madcap antics as The Dizzy Rascal.
Scott is fussing around with a tea tray. “So,” I ask him, “Are you seeing anyone special at the moment?”
“My brother’s not the marrying kind,” stage-whispers Heather.
“For goodness’ sake Heather, I’m a proud gay man!” Scott ejaculates. “I’m the 12th most influential gay person in Britain!”
“Two below Sue Perkins,” tuts Heather.
I turn to Dylan, just as Heather spots the paper package he’s eating from and leaps from the throne, her nose twitching, landing nimbly with the skills admired by thousands on Dancing On Ice and Dancing With The Stars to snatch it from his hands. “Kebab!” she hisses. “This is the devil’s work.”
Dylan yelps. There are meat juices, chilli sauce and bits of onion all around his mouth. Heather licks a tissue and starts dabbing roughly at his face. “Aw MUM,” he protests.
“Quiet!” says Heather. “If you don’t get rid of all this grime you won’t be going to Ibiza.” I presume she’s talking about a planned family holiday.
“Did you and Heather have many nice holidays as children?” I ask Scott.
“Dad was always busy,” he replies solemnly. “When I was seven he was running around a plastic jungle with a snake drawn on his arm for Doctor Who. And after that he spent years providing Esther Rantzen with light relief.” A shadow falls across his face. “But his hard work helped inspire me to become one of Britain’s most popular broadcasters!”
Just then a blare of approaching sirens fills our ears. Dylan springs up like a rabbit. Heather unaccountably begins to loudly weep. “I’m being victimised!” she sobs. Turning to me with a savage look, she begins to explain that I’ll never again
(continued on page 37)