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10. June 2017 04:47
by m
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Britain's TV and Radio Times pay tribute to Roger Moore

10. June 2017 04:47 by m | 0 Comments

Despite his age, Roger Moore's death still came as quite a shock to me personally - it's sad when icons from your childhood begin dying and and I've been rather disappointed that, so far at least, there haven't been nearly as many magazine articles or television tributes as there were for Carrie Fisher, Prince, David Bowie or George Michael, all of whom also passed away in the last 12 months. The June 3-9 issue of Britain's TV Times gave Moore just three sentences, despite ITV (and therefore TV Times) being home to James Bond for most of my youth:

TV Times tribute to Roger Moore (barely a quarter of a page)

Nobody did it better!

they say never meet your heroes, but sir roger Moore was the exception. the Bond star was always a gracious, good-humoured delight whenever TV Times had the pleasure of interviewing him. in 1971, roger gave us a ‘world exclusive’ cover story as he prepared to co-star with tony curtis in classic itv action series The Persuaders. Having made his name in hit 1960s thriller The Saint, he made the first of seven appearances as 007 in 1973’s Live And Let DieLive And Let Die. roger died, aged 89, following a battle with cancer. His three children said: ‘thank you, pops, for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.’

Photo: roger looking suave in The Saint and on our cover

[Source: TV Times, 3-9 June 2017, P.5. © 2017 Wyndeham Bicester Ltd. All rights reserved]

At least Britain's Radio Times devoted a whole page to Moore:

FILM: Roger and me

ROGER MOORE 14 October 1927–23 May 2017

Barry Norman gave his best career advice to the late Roger Moore... Luckily, he didn’t take it

If Roger Moore had pulled his weight just a little bit more I reckon I’d be an internationally renowned novelist today, and a rich and famous screenwriter to boot.

Many years ago, you see, I wrote a spy thriller called The Matter of Mandrake and showed it to my father, Leslie Norman, who was then directing Roger in episodes of The Saint. They were also discussing making a film together. My book hadn’t yet found a publisher but Dad liked it enough to hand it to Roger saying: “We should film this. There’s a good part in here for you.”

And, bless him, Roger read it while on holiday and came back full of enthusiasm. So there we were – the book now had a publisher, Dad was to direct the film version, Roger was to star and I was to write at least the first draft screenplay. What could possibly go wrong?

‘I may not be as good as Olivier but I’m taller than he is’ -Roger Moore

Well, everything actually. We swiftly learned that Lord Grade’s TV company had first call on Roger’s services, and Lew had just returned from America with a contract to make umpteen more Saint episodes. So that was our little scheme scuppered, and here’s where I blame Roger for my lack of scriptwriting success… when he did make a film, he chose indeed to play a secret agent – only not my brilliant Paul Baker, but a chain-smoking, womanising lush called James Bond.

Photo: THE SUIT HAS IT One of Moore's more outlandish costumes as 007, complete with name tag

As I said at the time, this was a seriously bad career move on his part but he disagreed, and since he went on to glory and I didn’t, I guess he was right. But what if he had insisted instead on filming The Matter of Mandrake and Paul Baker had become as popular as 007…? Ah, well. Not that I held it against him. I liked Roger; it would have been hard not to because he was a genuinely decent and modest man.

He was not the best of Bonds (I think Sean Connery was) but I’m sure he knew that. He was well aware of his limitations as an actor and would voluntarily point them out to interviewers as a kind of pre-emptive strike to stop them getting in first with the rude comments. I once asked him what he really thought of himself as an actor and he said: “Well, let’s put it this way. I may not be as good as Olivier but on the other hand I’m taller than he is.”

Both of which statements are true, though possibly too modest because they overlook the fact that, though his range may have been narrow, few people have mastered the art of the raised eyebrow and the doubleentendre as skilfully as he.

INNUENDOES THAT FUELLED A CAREER

Roger Moore, who died in May aged 89 after a short illness, earns immortality for being the longest-serving James Bond, making his debut in 1973’s Live And Let DieLive And Let Die.

The former knitwear model, Rada drop-out and underperforming MGM and Warner Bros contract player had made his name on TV with a starring role in The Saint (which ran for 118 episodes in the 60s), and a single series stint on early-70s crime-fighting show The Persuaders (see page 159). If he didn’t get on with all his co-stars — the pot-smoking Tony Curtis, most legendarily — it seems rarely to have been Moore that caused the friction.

He made seven films as 007 between 1973 and 1985, bringing a certain debonair insouciance to the role. Though he struggled to match the Bond films in his later career, he devoted himself to charity work for Unicef and it was for this that he was finally knighted in 2003.

His death, even at a ripe old age, gave the nation a jolt — it was as if we knew him. I will always remember him for Bond’s response to the question, “Sleep well?”, to which he replies with enough innuendo to fuel a career, “I got off eventually.” ANDREW COLLINS

[Source: Radio Times 3–9 June 2017, P.40. © 2017 Immediate Media Company London Limited. All rights reserved.]

If it was up to me, I would have put Roger Moore on the cover of both magazines that week. He was a star, and he was James Bond, 007.

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