Judy was busy grouting the bathroom so I sat down and watched Superman Returns last night. Despite all the bad press I’d heard about the film, I enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t suppose it comes as much of a surprise that Superman holds a special place in my heart. For those of you who haven’t seen any of the films, they are the everyday story of a good looking brown haired guy working mundane hours as a journalist and spending his nights living out the fantasy of a superhero… And just in case you haven’t figured it out: yes, we even have our partings on the same side.
There can be no wonder that there are so many similarities. Although the original was created in the 1950s, Superman as we now know him is the product of the 1980s. The first Superman was filmed in the UK not far from the ‘This Morning’ studios where we were working at the time. I’d often see the conceptual artists, people from wardrobe, the writers, and even Richard Donner, the director, standing outside the glass windows out there on the Albert Dock, peering in to catch a glimpse of us making the show. At the time they said they were using Judy as a model for Lex Luther but I think we can all now see that there was something more to it than that. The late Christopher Reeve would often drop into our house in Cheshire and ask me how I wear my suits. He later told me that he took the now iconic scene when he pulls his shirt open to reveal the Superman logo from the way I used to dash from the set. Even the kiss curl was mine. You need only ask my makeup lady who has to plaster it down before I go on air.
I have some superhero facts for you today. Did you know that Superman was first played on TV by Mickey Rooney who played the character as a song and dance man? Superman's fear of Kryptonite was a late addition to the character's mythology and was based on Rooney's peanut allegy. Superman may have been first but in recent years Spiderman has become more popular. But did you also know that Spiderman is powerless in small towns or deserts? His whole superpower is predicated on the widespread availability of tall buildings from which to swing. He’s useless in combatting crimes in residential areas as he has to travel as all spiders travel: by drainpipe, emerging from plugholes to fight crime.