Tag Archives: dusty springfield

Celebrity families: The Welches

It’s mum Denise who flings open the doors of the grandiose Welch Mansion with a cheeky flourish. “I suppose you’ve come about our Flo!” she bellows cheerfully. A familiar face from TV’s Loose Women, Dancing On Ice, Coronation Street and whatever else it was that she was in, Denise wears her fame lightly, like a coat of primer.

As I get seated in the main hall, I notice Florence Welch (thankfully without ‘And The Machine’, her backing band!) sitting nervously by a French window, sipping some elderflower cordial. “I’m making cottage pie!” shouts Denise from the kitchen door, waving a mince-encrusted slotted spoon. Florence looks up with a blush.

It’s clear that cross-generational fame hasn’t dented the charm of these lovely ladies, for moments later, grandma Raquel slinks fragrantly in. “Where have you been?” asks Florence timidly. “We’ve got an interview!”

“I’ve been in my cave,” confides Raquel huskily. As I was to find out, she’s referring to a full size polystyrene cave she keeps upstairs, in which she enjoys reliving her ‘glory days’.

But it’s the remarkable contemporary success of these three women that interests me. Their grape juice empire has conquered the ‘Pentecostal communion’ market, and the purple variety is now the second most likely drink to be offered to a recovering alcoholic at a suburban dinner party.

“I had the idea back when we were filming Fantastic Voyage,” says Raquel slowly, that accent of hers very thick. “I looked out at that giant arteriovenous fistula we were dodging in our miraculous little submarine, and I thought ‘Grapes could change everything!'”

“He doesn’t want to hear about all that, Ma!” admonishes Denise through a mouthful of mash. “Tell him about the Grammies, Flo!”

Florence puts down the chrysanthemum leaf she’s nibbling on and daintily relates to me her pride at standing next to Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera at the recent star-studded event in Los Angeles. “The NME keeps trying to make me out to be a credible rock chick,” she confesses credibly. “But my heart is in pop.”

“She gets that from me!” interjects Denise loudly, accidentally spraying me with tiny pieces of half-chewed diced carrot in her excitement. “Everyone remembers my chart battle with East 17 over Halloween ’95, don’t they! And that Thunder of theirs only got to number 4!”

She’s so enthusiastic it would seem unkind to remind her of the facts: her attempt to follow the success of her Soldier Soldier co-stars Robson & Jerome, with a Dusty Springfield cover, stalled at number 23.

“Our Justin was musical too,” says Denise, her eyes misty with nostalgia. “But I was so young when I had him.” She spears a forkful of cabbage angrily.

[continued on page 34]

Square dancing: More than words can ever say

They don’t give a credit to the person who decides on the diegetic background music for scenes in EastEnders. Does the writer get to choose it? Does the director get a say? Is it a job for a researcher? It is clearly the best job in the world.

Why the long face, Leona?

More often than not, the choices of song are a sly comment on the situation they’re soundtracking. I love spotting these when they’re subtle. TONIGHT IT WAS NOT SO SUBTLE as three songs blared out in sequential cross-cut scenes. I like that too.

Dusty Springfield: The Look Of Love: Alfie is upstairs at the Vic, preparing a romantic setting to reignite passions with his wife Kat. An obvious choice, yes, but then again if you can’t get romantic to this song then there’s probably something wrong with you. “Saying so much more than words can ever say…”

Rachel Stevens: So Good: Well you don’t hear THAT on the telly very often. And here it is on the jukebox in the Vic while Kat gets her lairy post-grief shimmy on, ignorant of hubby’s efforts upstairs. “I’ll get back on my feet again,
I know I’m gonna feel so good!”

Leona Lewis: Bleeding Love: Poor lovestruck Abi is ALSO strewing a room with red cushions, in an attempt to seduce long-time crush Darren during his brief break from Jodie “I have sensitive eyelashes – like a camel!” Gold. Leona’s song plays, pretty much in full, as a humiliating letdown ensues in a deliciously cruel scene that ends with an excellent gawp. “My heart’s crippled by the vein that I keep on closing.” Textbook.