As we've said in the past we always appreciate fans input and we were recently contacted by Team Tucker member Chris Johnson. He offered to write an article about his experience betting on Rachel during I'd Do Anything. Being a mild gambler myself I was interested to hear about his experience and we thought you might be too.
It was a Saturday evening in late March. Having already had a flutter on the afternoon’s football proceedings, I was looking for a betting opportunity to give me some interest over the forthcoming weeks. I thumbed through the TV guide and saw there was this new series ‘I’d Do Anything’.
I’d enjoyed both ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria’ and "Any dream will do" and been fortunate enough to select the winners of both series. So I thought I’d have a look at the Nancy’s - it can’t be that hard to find the winner of this also!
As Graham Norton flounced down the stairs as only Graham Norton could, I settled down with a pen and paper to see who I fancied!
Well Jessie seemed talented, Jodie was ok, Sarah was sweet, Tara didn’t cut it, Amy looked unnatural, Samantha I put down as a maybe, Niamh looked too fragile, Keisha I just couldn’t see as Nancy, Cleo lacked punch, Ashley somehow didn’t have star quality, and Francesca didn’t have 'it' according to my notes....
I had no notes for Rachel.
The reason was I didn’t need any. From the moment she came on she captivated me with her rendition of ‘About you Now’. Although it was maybe a slightly raw performance it was still by some distance the best performance of the night and I thought "by jove this girls got it" (didn't Cameron Mackintosh say the same weeks later?).
Rachel was the unfortunate person to carry the weight of my financial support on her shoulders! From now on I was going to be living every note, dance, slip up and panel comment. Little did I know the highs and lows that were to come.
The bookies having watched the contenders also concurred with me to start - Rachel was slight favourite at 5/1 - so I thought it was worth a wager because as the weeks go on I expected her price to tumble.
Week two was Jessie’s week, her rendition of Killing me Softly melted a lot of hearts and obviously that of the bookmakers too as suddenly our Rachel was no longer favourite! But I wasn’t too worried, Rachel was the only one with the true ability to blow them away.
One by one the contenders were eliminated, each week I was compounding my money on Rachel. By now Jessie’s performances were becoming more irregular and she was the only real threat that I saw. However support for Sam was steadily building and her performances were rapidly improving too and Jodie was also starting to impress.
Week Six and suddenly Rachel in the sing off? Surely this couldn’t be true?
I breathed a sigh of relief when our girl was saved but somehow the danger signs were there. Barry Humphries said something about impersonating the emotion rather than acting it and the studio audience weren’t going absolutely ballistic like they were for some of the other girls.
Then once again in week eight, Rachel found herself in another sing off, this time with Niamh. Was I missing the point here? Had they all forgotten about her previous performances? The price on Rachel by now was drifting. Any girl in two sing offs can't stand much chance of winning and surely must be next to go?
By now they had installed Samantha as 11/4 favourite, Jessie 3/1, Jodie 9/2 and Rachel a dismissive 14/1. At that price I bit. Clearly the class act was rated by the bookies as the rank outsider. The more I thought about it during the week the more I thought Rachel would deliver a performance come Saturday. All this "feeling the emotion" and "great understudy" twaddle from Humphries ensuring she had a point to prove.
Little did anyone know what was to happen on 24th May 2008, when Rachel delivered the best moment of any actress or singer on British television in years. The performance of Cabaret absolutely blew everyone away. DVO visibly imploded with emotion, John Barrowman was singing from the rooftops, Barry Humphries (Rachel’s biggest critic) was converted in an instant; not to mention Cameron Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber visibly drooling at the talent they had just witnessed. And me in my living room, giving Rachel a standing ovation; clutching a whole host of betting slips because I believed in Rachel’s talent so much.
By now this had become personal. Rachel was the winner in my eyes and just having delivered that performance I was confident she would make the final. Suffice it to say the stunned silence when Lloyd Webber went with Samantha was an unbelievably depressing moment.
Those bets were in vain and Rachel’s dream was shattered. I’m sure Jodie will make a good Nancy but our Rachel was the "moral" winner of this. Its just a shame that bookies don’t pay up on moral winners.
Rachel has single-handedly reinvigorated my love for the West End (I was brought up on theatre) and for that I owe her my eternal thanks. My enjoyment of the series went far beyond any bets or wagers because watching Rachel perform was just pure quality.
I started out the series as just having a small financial interest but left much richer not in money terms but in life enjoyment; buzzing with enthusiasm about a huge star about to get her big break. It was a life enriching experience and I’m now a true follower of the lady that made it all possible.
Rachel, thank you.