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Fans share their experience of meeting Lew...

2nd October, 1999, during the run of Dangerous Corner

"We live in NI so we (husband and I) went over to Eastbourne for the weekend especially to see Lew in the play. (I should stress that my husband is not the Lewis Collins fanatic that I am!). We stayed in the Wish Tower Hotel and arrived late on the Friday evening. We had booked to see the play on Saturday.

Lew at the stage door
© Mo Rankin

"After the play it was pouring rain and I didn't think my husband would want to hang about at the stage door but we waited for a few minutes and Lew appeared with some other cast members. There weren't too many there as it was so wet but he started to sign some autographs. I gave him my program to sign and my pen (I still have the pen - sad case!). While he was signing I asked if I could take a photo. He replied 'Yes, just tell me when you're going to click' (Could have told him I clicked the minute I saw him in the Professionals!!). Anyway when I took the photo he was looking straight at me. I've always wished I had taken more photos as he looks very scrubbed clean in that one. I suppose he probably had just had a shower and removed his stage make-up.

"We decided to go to the pub behind the theatre. We had just sat down with our drinks when Lew and some of the other cast members came in. We were at the back of the pub and they sat down at the front. He was drinking a pint. I just didn't have the nerve to disturb them and ask if I could take more photos. They were still there when we left.

"Next morning we had nearly finished our breakfast when guess who walked into the dining room. LEW. I nearly choked. He sat at a table by himself not more than 10 feet from us. He had on navy track suit bottoms and a green polo shirt. He didn't have a cooked breakfast seemed to be just juice and toast with tea or coffee. I would have liked to have said something to him perhaps about the play the night before but my husband said it would be an invasion of his privacy so I decided not to. (I still look back on this with regret). We were leaving immediately after breakfast so I didn't see him again.

"We were parked in the street beside the hotel and another car on the street had a registration which started with LEW. I don't know if this belonged to him or was just a coincidence." - Mo Rankin

2nd October, 1999, a few moments after Mo...

Lew with Paul
© Paul Sermons

"I met Lewis Collins back in 1999 when he was appearing in Dangerous Corner at a theatre in Eastbourne. After the the performance, it began pouring with rain and I was in two minds whether to try and get a glimpse of Lew. I'd always wanted to meet him since childhood, as he has and always will be a hero of mine. I sat in the car with the wife, not far from the stage door and after a few minutes I saw a few camera flashes. I decided it was now or never, so armed with my programme and umbrella I ran across. I instantly noticed Lew, happily signing autographs. I quickly gestured to my wife to join me as she had the camera. She was just approaching, as Lew turned. He was en-route to a nearby pub but stopped after I asked him for his autograph. I said, as he was signing my programme, if I could have a photo, to which he smiled and said 'Sure, no problem at all' He put his arm round my shoulder and we stood beneath my brolly as my wife got soaked taking our photo. Lew chuckled as I told the wife to take another just in case. We shook hands and he ran off towards the pub. Looking back, he was everything I had hoped he would be, an all round good bloke with a firm hand shake." - Paul Sermons

February 2000, Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Lew with Gary
© Gary

"The photo was taken at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham in Feb 2000. Lew was in Dangerous Corner. I had written to him prior to going to see it. We had kept in touch since his days in the professionals. I had met him at the friendship circle "do's", and his dad. When I wrote to him at the Alex, I gave my seat numbers. At the interval, one of the staff came to me and said Lew would like to see me. I went back to his dressing room, and had a nice chat about old days - that was when photo was taken. He was, and always has been, a great guy." - Gary

18th February 2000, Visit to Birmingham to see Dangerous Corner

"A friend and I travelled to Birmingham and met up with another friend there. Well, when I say 'friends' I mean very new friends only acquired via the internet through our shared love of The Professionals. Thank goodness we all got on - to the extent that we are all still very good friends today. Our tickets were for the evening performance but at about 5.30pm we decided to try and find the theatre so we could be sure of knowing where it was. I had been told about a good pub literally next door to the theatre called The Victoria and so having found both places we decided to have a drink to pass the time. The Victoria is a small and crowded, but very friendly pub. We stayed there until about 7.00pm when we decided to head on into the theatre, buy programmes and find our seats in good time.

"The play was as good as I expected having seen and enjoyed other Priestly plays. Lewis was of course excellent and obviously enjoying himself but all the cast were very good. It was only a chance remark by somebody a couple of rows back that made me realise that one of the actresses was Glenda from Crossroads. She had her fans as well because some of them grabbed her for an autograph at the stage door.

"In case Lewis didn't go to the pub afterwards, unlikely but just in case, we went to the stage door to wait for him. He came out and signed everything thrust into his hand; including a boxed toy Capri by a lad who then asked him if he still kept in touch with Martin Shaw. He said he hadn't seen Martin for about five years. He signed our programmes and my friend's video sleeve and copy of the play and posed for photographs. We then went to the pub and joined two other fans who had seen the show every night and in more than one city! They had had seats in the middle of the front row and it was clear that Lewis was aware they were there as he occasionally grinned at them from the stage.

"They had somehow managed to save us seats, which was an impressive feat in a pub this size. I went up to get the first round and found myself standing next to Lewis Collins who was also waiting to get served. He was with another couple of actors from the play. When the barmaid came to serve me, I took a deep breath, turned to him and asked if I could buy him a drink, including his two colleagues in the invitation. He said no. I asked again saying; 'You have entertained us this evening and I'd like to.' The barmaid tried to help me out by saying to Lewis; 'Oh go on, she's waving a £20.00 note.' He still refused saying he would stay within his group but he thanked me. The barmaid went away to get my drinks and he turned back to his friends. Then a barman came through from the other bar to serve Lewis who touched my arm lightly and checked if I were being served first, before placing his order, which I thought was a very nice gesture.

"After several more rounds of drink my friend then went up to get refills and this time did persuade Lewis to allow her to buy him a drink after a bit of banter about last orders. We then said a brief goodbye to him as we left the pub and floated out to find a taxi.

"I don't generally follow actors or any celebrities, don't collect autographs or want my picture taken with anybody famous. Lewis is in a select company of three actors I've gone out of my way to speak to and all three were quite delightful. I might prefer Doyle to Bodie (sorry), but this meeting made me into a Lewis fan." - Sue

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