This article was meant to be part of a wider one on people who have influenced my writing career so far. I was hoping it would be a tremendous tome with a wide range of inspirational people, like an Acknowledgements section on steroids. But the more I sat and thought about it, the more I thought that Miranda Hart deserves her own post. The others, hopefully, will become a series. Later on.
For those of you who don’t know… Miranda Hart is a comedian, actress, author, dog-owner and all-around wonderful human being. She is best known for her sitcom Miranda, which ran from 2009 until 2014 with three (in my opinion) far-too-short series and two finale episodes. Miranda, and Miranda, influenced the still-running US sitcom Call Me Kat, as well as ten-year-old-me’s still-developing brain, and probably plenty else besides. It’s the latter I want to talk about, though. Call Me Kat will, again, have to wait for another post. I should probably also watch it first.
If you’re at all familiar with the sitcom, you’re probably thinking ‘Ten’s a bit young, isn’t it?’ and all I can say to that is… well, you underestimated my naivety. To be completely honest, some of the more risqué jokes went straight over my head – and some of the non-risqué ones, too. Indeed, every time I watch it – which isn’t rare these days as I know most of the episodes off by heart – I seem to have penny-drop moments. It’s not just the scripts, it’s the delivery, the timing, and even the (live) audience’s reaction sometimes.
Anyway, I digress. My point is – Miranda entered my life at one of the times in my childhood when the brain is most malleable. I completely missed all three series when they were on – although I have a dim memory of watching Series 3 Episode 1 (‘It Was Panning’) at what must have been Christmas 2012 at my aunt and uncle’s house. The whole sitcom almost passed me by undetected, but at some point something must have stuck in my head, because not long after that I came in possession of a box-set of all three series on DVD. I still have them, even though a couple of episodes aren’t playing properly any more.
And thus began my love of Miranda…
(The sitcom, I mean. Not the person. I mean, I love Miranda-the-person too. Not romantically, just to be very clear. In either case.)
After binge-watching the whole box set several times over, practically marinating my pre-teen brain in comedy, I (and the people around me) noticed that I had started picking up mannerisms from it. Not the ubiquitous phrases ‘what-I-call’ and ‘even the notion’, nor the joyously cried ‘such fun!’, but other things. The way I phrased some sentences. The way I reacted to some situations. One of my friends even said “I see where you get [insert mannerism here] from” after watching an episode with me.
If I’d have left my Miranda-Hart-based journey at just the sitcom, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article at all. But I didn’t. Not long after I imbibed the series, I discovered that Miranda-the-person had also written a book in 2011. Is It Just Me?, aside from being the title of her semi-autobiographical debut novel, is something I find myself saying on an almost-daily basis sometimes. I’m not saying that I owe her that specific phrase, but I still do owe her a lot…
Put it this way: I see (hear?) a lot of her voice in mine. Not my actual auditory voice – the people around me would say that we share similar accents, but there the similarities end – but my writing voice. The way I write. My phrasing, and my flow. Not in my actual books, because those are fiction, but personal things. Like this article. If you’ve read Is It Just Me? or her other full-length novel Peggy And Me, you might see it too. In my opinion, Miranda-the-person has a very distinctive written voice.
I’m not saying that I’m going to start calling you all ‘My Dear Reader Chum’ (‘MDRC’) or start dialogues with my eighteen-year-old self, the way she does. (Not in the least because my eighteen-year-old self is extremely similar to my nineteen-year-old self, who’s writing this article.) I’m not going to anthropomorphise my late cat, the way she does with her late dog, although I’m sure my pre-teen self probably did at some point. But Miranda Hart’s written works are serious at times but always sprinkled with witty asides and splashes of humour, and that is the voice I strive to maintain. It’s also the voice that comes naturally to me, which helps.
I know she’s not going to see this, and I know that this post won’t get that many clicks, unless someone brings it to her attention and she shares it and it goes viral or something. (If that was the case, I hope I’d get a few more sales of my own book – a girl can dream, right?) But at the end of the day, I knew I had to write this post, if only to get it out of my brain. And to thank her. For my appreciation of Take That, too – I barely knew them until they popped up as a topic in one of her Series 2 episodes, but now I could belt out 'Back For Good’ with the best of them if the need arose.
So on that (musical) note, I will leave you with this Take That lyric… ‘Never forget where you’ve come here from … Someday soon this will all be someone else's dream.’ Because in a roundabout way, I’ve come here from Miranda (and Miranda). And I’m never forgetting that.
And I will ACTUALLY leave you, for real this time, with a wonderful quote from her, also about dreams.
‘I think it's sad when people stop dreaming, or start losing hope. Because holding onto the bonkers dream might just turn out to be the most marvellous thing you ever did.’
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