Tony spent the rest of the week distracting himself from his troubles with Alison by throwing himself into understanding and developing his new character.
Over the course of 48 hours he had tried no fewer than 18 different methods of playing Tony James, including six different accents, two speech impediments, three variants of sexuality and one thankfully brief attempt at sounding urban. He had managed to narrow it down to two, both with similar accents to his own, and was now weighing up the finer points of the character in his head.
Of all the many many characters Tony had played, he wanted to get this one right. The complexities and nuances of Tony James would make a massive amount of difference to how the character would be perceived. Too angry and people wouldn't empathise with him at all, too nice, and it would make no difference to his contract fiasco.
In many respects this was the most complicated person Tony had ever been asked to play, a combination of himself and the very opposite, wedged together in an angry little ball of frustration. Tony knew how to play himself, but he had never really been required to stretch his definition of his person in this way before.
At 9pm the night before the show, Tony finally reached the point where he was happy with his character. Like all good creations, Tony James would evolve, although hopefully he wouldn't have many shows left with which to evolve in, but the core was now there. Happy with his work so far, Tony opened a beer and started to watch TV.
Although he didn't normally watch LTV, he had noticed that Britain's Next Top Hairdresser was on, and as Alison was out, he thought he'd watch Abbie in action.
“That's a wonderful design you have created there Marcus, with just one small problem.” Abbie remarked to the contestant. “You got half of the dye on her face.”
As the picture of the poor model with bright purple splodges on her face, as if suffering from some weird cartoon disease, appeared on screen, Tony laughed out loud, instantly feeling guilty for doing so.
“I'm sure you'll agree that is a pretty significant problem.” Abbie continued.
Marcus looked at the floor of the elaborate salon themed set in embarrassment.
“However, in most other areas you were excellent. So you get one more chance. Brush up on the dye!”
“Thank you.” a flustered Marcus uttered.
The voiceover came on. “Find out who else is through to the next round of Britain's Next Top Hairdresser after this short break.”
“He was a man with nothing to lose.” a trailer for one of LTV's future shows appeared. “A cop whose reputation lay in ruins decides to take the law into his own hands to bring justice against the man who murdered his wife.”
Well this looks original, chuckled Tony.
“With both the police, and the murderer on his tail, it won't be long before all hell breaks loose.”
“Starring Robert Nordstrom as Jimmy Mackenzie, and Mario Wright as Alistair Frank. Bloodshed. Starts this Autumn on LTV.”
Tony stared at the screen, not quite sure what he had just seen. What on earth was Robert Nordstrom doing on a generic cop drama series? Two minutes later, he was distracted back to reality by a trailer for his own show, led by the clips he had pre-recorded before the first show.
“On this week's Tony James Show, we have some great guests and a few unexpected surprises, be sure to tune in.” A distinctly plain haired, sensibly dressed Tony James remarked.
Tony chuckled a nervous laugh.
“The Tony James Show is sponsored by Planet X energy drink, rocket fuel for the stars.”
Somewhere, in an apartment a few miles away, a writer felt a weird breeze on the back his neck.
“Be sure to catch this week's Tony James Show for the chance to win £20,000 in Tony's new quiz, Celebrity Spin.”
Tony leapt off of his seat in anger. He had heard nothing about this, Gerald hadn't even seen the... right. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, Tony said to himself. “You do realise that this means war.