Medal bearer (A New Hope)
Interview: October 2012
How did you get started in the movie business?
I got started through a friend who had an agency for extras. She asked me if I would help her out as someone had pulled out at the last minute. I had never been in front of a camera before, but I said ok. The bug bit and that was it. I took myself off to a drama school in Essex for 6 months, left after that and I think that I learned more from watching big/main actors. From then onwards I have never looked back.
Can you tell how you got cast as medal bearer for Star Wars: A New Hope?
I was asked by my agent if I would like to take a very small part in a low budget film. Of course I accepted, thank goodness I did. This of course was Star Wars: A New Hope.
Are there (besides the medal ceremony) other scenes where we can see you? Are there other parts you played in Star Wars: A New Hope?
I never did any other scenes as I was too well featured.
What do you recall of the filming of your scene?
I was called to be the first Medal Bearer by Mr George Lucas and given directions what to do . What a nice man he was -and I hope still is-. Carrie Fisher was really lovely to talk with an so was Mark Hamill, but Harrison Ford just seemed not to want to speak with us. On the whole it was fantastic to work with such nice people.
What expectations did you have of the movie when it was filmed?
I never expected anything from the film as it was such a low budget film. Thankfully it made it as the best film ever.
I don’t think there is a movie that has such a huge and strong fan base as Star Wars. For over 35 years people buy the merchandise, watch the movies over and over again, and the movies have become a part of the modern culture. What do you think the ‘Force’ behind this is?
Well, the force behind the film is because of people like you who have made the film what it is: iconic. There will never be another Star Wars as good as the first. The later films in my opinion are too modern and are bit too much violent, but still good. Star Wars Conventions are still the biggest on earth and nothing will ever be as big.
What is the best memory you have regarding Star Wars?
The best memory is when I took my children to the cinema to see Star Wars and when it came to the ceremony of the medals my daughter, who was 5 years old, shouted out at the top of her voice “Look dad, there you are!. If there was a hole I would have slid into it.
Besides Star Wars you also played in two other cult Sci-Fi series: Blake’s 7 and a personal favourite of mine: Doctor Who. In Doctor Who you featured in episodes with Tom Baker and Colin Baker as The Doctor. I think that’s quite something. Can you share some of your Doctor Who experiences?
Doctor Who is one of TV’s biggest icons. My best experience is with Colin Baker in The Mark of Rani where I played a dumb coal miner who had his brain fluids extracted. We filmed this episode in Shrewsbury quite near the Iron Bridge. We were filming for nine days and had some great times. Regarding Tom Baker: I played a friend of the Doctor but was captured by his enemies and thrown into a cell but I would not give away any of the Doctors secrets. To me Tom Baker is the best Doctor Who ever. As for Blake’s 7, I played in two episodes. The Head Hunter where I played Mullers Android and then in The Animals I played a hairy beast. The make-up burned into my face on this episode and I had to go to Hospital. All cleared up now and I had my good looks back.
What are you currently doing? Are you still in the movie business?
I no longer work in the movie business as after 36 years in the business of getting up very early and getting home very late I now need a rest. My wife tells me that I am getting ‘old’ -if she keeps on she will have to find somewhere else to live-. I am just relaxing, going out running with my running club, and attending Star Wars conventions.
Please finish the following sentence: “When I look back at my work on Star Wars, I…”
I think what a lucky Medal Bearer I am, working on the most iconic film ever. Without all the Star Wars fans we as actors would never have met such nice and fantastic people. I am so grateful to you all. Thank you all very much. May your god go with you.