This is Brenda – Part 3

A Web Series in Several Iterations

Brenda & Kitty – Part 2

Image by John Paul Gibbs

We started work on Episode 2 straight after episode 1 and it was at this point that things became complicated. Our plan was to go into The X Factor, in character, and tell them that Brenda wanted to be the first trans winner of the show. This meant that we were really going to have to think on our feet as Brenda’s lies were multi layered. I was a standard cis male playing a character who was a cross dresser pretending to be a trans female whose “girlfriend” was a straight woman acting as gay. I was under no illusion that my talent as a singer was going to see us through. I was hoping our story was going to be enough to get us an appearance on the show. If we got on the show, we were going to be able to slot the TV appearance into the footage that we had shot around it. We knew we would not be able to film once we got inside the stadium. Tristram had got in contact with a producer who had shown an interest in what we were doing and he said he was interested in our progress through the show.

Episode 2

The way The X Factor presents it, the crowds outside the stadium all go in and get straight in front of the judges. In reality, there are three rounds of auditions before that. We were picked out from the back of the crowd and taken to the front, where Ken was filmed in front of the crowd pointing at me saying “She’s got The X Factor!” Once inside I was presented with a contract that I had to sign in which there was a clause that said that I would neither lie, nor misrepresent myself in any way. I felt a wave of trepidation and nausea as my pen hovered over the paper, but I steeled myself and signed it. What was the worst that could happen? While we were waiting, we were miked up and told to chat amongst ourselves like normal and then filmed from a distance. This was both fun and nerve wracking.

I got put through the first two rounds of auditions with researchers on the Saturday and was invited back for a filmed audition with a producer the following day. We left excited that we were going to pull this thing off but there were also tensions beginning to develop between us. The filmed producer audition went well and I was told that they were going to do some research on me and I would hear back in the next few weeks. Wait, what? Research? This made me feel sick with worry. What did they mean, research?

Sure enough, around a month later, I received a letter from X Factor’s lawyers saying that we had deceived them and acted in bad faith. They said we had wasted their time and money and that they had spent £30,000 on creating a segment about Brenda and they were looking to be reimbursed for this from me. After an initial panic and meltdown, Tristram got in touch with his producer friend who showed the letter to his lawyers. Their advice was to ignore it and hope it would go away. We did and it did.

We did not get onto The X Factor. We were completely expunged from the Cardiff episode. A disappointment but an honourable defeat, I felt.   

To be continued.

Simon Downham-Knight – Copyright 25/7/2021

Published by simonmandrake

A weekly dose of short stories, short films, web series, blogs and articles.

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