My favourite heroines have always been quirky, funny and loveable and they are exactly the kind I like to write now. I remember watching a romantic comedy while I was at university and wishing I was the heroine, or failing that her best friend. In fact, I think my love of romantic comedy stems from that film even though it wasn't mainstream.
What film was this? I hear you ask.
In the early 1990s Rik Mayall did a series of three hour-long shows for ITV, called Rik Mayall Presents... and one of these was a romantic comedy called 'Dancing Queen'. Rik starred as Neil, a spoilt yuppy whose mates play a stag night prank on him. First they hire a stripper and ply him with alcohol, and then they steal his trousers and stick him on a train. He wakes up on his way to Scarborough with the stripper, Julie, sitting opposite him.
Julie was played by Helena Bonham Carter, totally against her usual type, and she is absolutely adorable.
The music is wonderful - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel singing 'Come Up and See Me' as Neil runs trouserless around Scarborough clutching an alarm clock trying to work out how to get back to London in time for his wedding. And in the final scene Julie is twirling an umbrella about as she dances to ABBA on the beach and Neil speeds across the sand to find her in his BMW.
Rik Mayall is surprisingly perfect as the hero. But Helena Bonham-Carter's Northerner Julie steals the show as she talks about her conflict ('I were too young, he were too fat') and asks about Neil's wedding ('What's your fiancee's name? Sophie? That's a pretty name. Julie's horrible. Makes you think of Julie Andrews.'). I don't think I've ever rooted for someone more.
Unfortunately I think the only way you can watch this now is on YouTube, but if you ever get the chance to see it, I can't recommend it highly enough. Very much in the mould of Four Weddings and a Funeral, the sheer delicious happy-ever-afterness of it is fabulous.
Anyone else remember it? And is there a film or story that really fed your love of romance or a hero/heroine that you really love?
I am off to get to know my hero a bit better.