This is a longer version of the other ‘Films’ which is also up on the site with more info. I started film acting when I was aged nought. My mother took me to the shoot of something my father was in and I played his son as a baby. She couldn’t remember what it was and I certainly didn’t. I do remember however that when I was 6 I was in a Ribena TV commercial directed by Don Chaffey (he made several movies!) featuring a dog and artificial snow. I vaguely remember having an accident on a sledge in a studio. I crashed on a sticky out piece of wood and there were tears. I also remember having a screen test for Disney’s ‘The Three Lives of Thomasina’, also directed by Don Chaffey. There must have been a connection! And some auditions for ‘Sammy Going South’ meeting the director Alexander MacEndrick and ‘The Punch and Judy Man’ meeting the great comedian Tony Hancock. I embarrassed my mother by telling Tony Hancock I found ‘Punch and Judy’ somewhat childish. She hadn’t briefed me properly and I thought I was at the Sammy Going South audition. I think she should have realised as at the previous Sammy Going South Interview I was enthusiasm personified for puppet shows. I also have a vague memory of going up for a Charlie Drake film called ‘Petticoat Pirates’ where I once again embarrassed my mother by telling Charlie that I’d seen him on TV.
I was also in a film called ‘The Iron Maiden’ (above) playing once again my father’s son. I remember my line ‘Hello Dad! Mum’s after you!’ Mum was played by Joan Sims. I was integral to the plot. I had to leave a roller skate on the path for my father to fall over on and thus the hero, Michael Craig, was forced to drive the traction engine (and find true love), as my dad, the regular traction engine driver, was in hospital. This pic above is a composite by my dad which he ‘passe partouted’ in that he would put glass over it, cut to size, make a cardboard back, stick in picture rings and then put black tape around the edges and voila! Add a bit of string and you’ve got a Blue Peter style picture frame! These pics would then go in the loo! We had dozens of them! There’s a better pic of me asking Michael Craig for an autograph with my dad on the traction engine! I’ll find it!
I made a film wearing a cat costume when I was just out of college. But can’t remember the title. I do remember having to say ‘Cat’ instead of ‘Cut’ whilst sitting in a director’s chair. Not a great gag but my only line.
I made a short starring John Moulder Brown as the German poet Rilke and got to wear some nice period costume. I also got very little money but a copy of the video which I present here. I am very earnest in my performance in my scenes with John. John was previously a heart throb but was possibly making less hearts throb at this stage of his career. He was adamant I be present for his close ups as he said it helped him having the original actor around to feed him the lines even though it was only on him. ‘Why, do some actors not say the lines when it’s the other actor’s close ups?’ I asked incredulously. ‘You mean they just don’t turn up? ‘Yes many,’ he replied. It had never crossed my mind and it never has since. It’s quid pro quo. I always play the scenes. I dutifully gave him all my lines for his close ups and when it was my turn he naturally had gone home and the third assistant director read them. Here it is. There are no close ups in this 30 second clip which is a shame as you could imagine me speaking to him in his close ups in my frock coat and slicked back period hair, and a bald bloke in denim jacket and specs speaking to me in a Brummie accent for my close ups while John was being driven home in a cab.
When I got my first agent they were very keen to make me another version of my dad so consequently I was up for a lot of cockney parts. As well as being in the TV series, I was in ‘Minder on the Orient Express’ which pops up on TV regularly. I must get a copy and put my small bit up on here. I was playing a delivery man.
I did an excellent award winning short with Garfield Morgan of ‘Sweeney fame. It was directed by Paul Katis, whose wife Debbie was in my band the Websters! Here’s an extract:
I was in a film called ‘Driven’ a few years ago that appears to have disappeared without trace. Can’t find it on Imdb. It’s not the 2001 film starring Sylvester Stallone or the 1996 US horror one. I did play a reporter tho. Here’s a segment featuring….what a surprise…me!
I went over to Paris to work for the renowned French director Bertrand Tavernier having met him at the May Fair Hotel in Piccadilly for the interview where I struggled to remember my French. ‘Speak French, he likes that’ my agent had told me. After a bit when I thought I was doing quite well but had gone slightly red in the face with the effort, he suggested I speak in English which he spoke fluently with a French American accent. He was a sweet man. When I arrived on the set he called me and the lead actor Jacques Gablin with whom I had my scenes, into a tent on the location…we were outside as the scenes took place within a 1940s Dakota, which was in a field…and he decided he would like to add some new lines. We of course had learnt what we’d been given but after a quick snack we set about the new stuff. And I felt we bonded! The scenes went well. The aeroplane was shaken by the props boys to give the impression it was flying and then lifted up by a crane to give the impression we were diving. At the same time a mass of explosions went off! Naturally after making a good pal in adversity I have never seen Jacques again! Here’s the clip: