Climbing The Ladder Of Fame
Some of last week’s news stories covered the revelation by Michael Ball that he had to sign a safety disclaimer document in order to climb up a ladder as part of his performance. The West End actor is currently working on a new TV musical with Imelda Staunton called “That Day We Sang” which is due to be broadcast on BBC2 over the Christmas period. The scene in question involves Ball climbing a ladder to serenade his love through a window and, although the 52 year old singer disclosed that it was scary, he refused to wear a harness for the stunt. Health and safety people would only allow the stunt to go ahead on the provision that co-star, Ian Lavender, stabilised the bottom of the ladder with his foot. We wish Michael and co well in filming their festive offering this year and look forward to watching That Day We Sang in a few weeks’ time.
This story highlights some of the risks taken by those who work in the entertainment industry, traditionally a fairly high risk industry in which to work. The overall incidence of recorded injuries amongst entertainers is almost 50% higher than for the average worker. Some parts of the entertainment world are more dangerous than others – for instance, you’re far more likely to get hurt if you work as a Wall of Death rider than if you work as a singer in a choir or musician in an orchestra.
Although the entertainment sector is covered by stringent health and safety rules, this was not always the case and, in times gone by, those who lived to make us laugh often did so at their own risk. We decided to take a look through the archives and find some showbiz workers that have been injured while working.
A man in his thirties was recently taken to hospital in Rickmansworth after falling from a 16 foot ladder while setting up a pantomime in preparation for Aladdin. The unnamed stage hand was not seriously hurt and is making a good recovery according to a theatre spokesperson.
In a terrifying lapse of judgement American rapper George Watsky caused a commotion at Alexandra Palace last year that resulted in the Vans Warped punk rock tour being halted. The rap star climbed a rope ladder into the 35ft high lighting rig and decided to jump into the crowd. After shouting “Have you got my back?” the 27 year old attempted to crowd-glide rather than crowd-surf and came a cropper in the mosh pit. Horrified fans scattered and the singer fell onto a man and woman who both collapsed under the impact. All three were stretchered from the scene and the man suffered back injuries while the woman had a broken arm. The shame faced rapper was “covered in bruising” and left apologising profusely for his actions.
So, if you’re off to the panto or the theatre this Christmas, or if you’re involved in a local amateur production, take care and use common sense at all times – stay safe out there.