Guest writer Stu Rolls reports from the first evening of Sir Roger Moore's UK tour...

On Tour With Sir Roger

9th October 2012

On 7th October 2012, a sell out crowd gathered outside the theatre at Great Malvern, Worcestershire, hoping for a glimpse of the spy they loved; with his cheeky smile, dry wit, charisma aplenty and engaging self deprecating style. Roger Moore was about to arrive and take us on an anecdotal and intimate journey into his career and his happiest memories alongside the memories of stars past and present.

The setting echoed the intimacy of the conversation about to ensue, as this wonderful modern and yet quaint theatre filled with an audience varying from eight to eighty, with even some suave attendees in black tie. The atmosphere pre show was full of anticipation and chatter surrounding Sir Roger's work. Everyone behaved as they had arrived to a good friend's private party and the evident respect from all generations was a testament to Mr Moore's appeal and timeless talent.

The evening commenced with 'Live and Let Die' playing over the auditorium in a almost inaudible, muted fashion it has to be said - no glitz no glamour this evening, it didn't need it. All the glitz and glamour was personified by the man who came on to take his seat on one of the two golden chairs on stage. The throne was owned by Sir Rog for the next 2 hours.

Questions were respectfully positioned by Gareth Owen with gentle professionalism and pace. Roger reciprocated with much the same style, as has always been his way. It was hugely refreshing not to get the sensationalist questioning so favoured by the sycophantic ex-tabloid editors of this world. We started in London with an account of evacuation and childhood events that moulded the young Roger Moore and his wonderful admission that he "loved being an only child" because (with a grin) he "didn't have to share anything". This typified the mood for the evening as he spoke with a permanent and welcoming wink to crowd who just lapped it up.

The first half of the evening took us across the Atlantic to MGM, back to Britain for a stint due to Time magazine likening his Hollywood debut to "a lump of English roast beef" - Sir Roger diverted from that quote and told us about the lovely roast beef dinner he had enjoyed in Great Malvern that very afternoon.

After the interval, during which Roger assured us he was going to enjoy (drink) as much as we were, the focus steered to "The Persuaders", Bond and UNICEF. The story about Tony Curtis smoking a certain prohibited form of cigarette on the steps of 10 Downing Street was a great one and painted a picture of a decidedly renegade era in Moore's career. He fondly remembered the subsequent meeting on the set of "The Man With The Golden Gun" where he bumped into the policeman on duty at Number 10 during those shenanigans.

Whilst there could have been more Bond discussed, it was understandable that the whole evening was not just dedicated to this, and one could have happily have listened for days however. A surprise for Roger was in the audience in the shape of Elaine Schreyeck the continuity lady on "Live and Let Die" through to "Octopussy". It was after we had heard of the numerous rewrites and practical jokes played on Desmond Llewellyn with his script that Elaine introduced herself and Roger was extremely touched that she had come to see him after all these years.

 


Above: Tony Curtis with Sir Roger Moore on location for "The Pursuaders".

It would be wonderful to recount all the stories told but Roger has more dates coming up and my intention is not to take anything away for those waiting to attend this great event. Sir Roger took time to educate the audience on the plight of the children of this world who die needlessly every day as he told us of his work and the importance of UNICEF. An eye opening and humbling moment indeed. Roger also cited Barbara Broccoli as being a fantastic force for good in raising the profile and money required to provide essential services for UNICEF.

The evening was closed off with a Q&A session. The audience interaction ranged from sincere appreciation to some rather inane fan specific questioning. One question asked required Roger to rank the Bond movies in numerical order and give reasons why (a collective groan and tut came from the audience), Roger simply replied with that fact that he doesn't really watch them over and over again but he "had been very impressed with Timothy Dalton whilst watching 'The Living Daylights' the other day".

All in all, the evening was a supremely relaxed affair.

Many thanks to Stu Rolls. Sir Roger Moore's UK tour continues with the following engagements: October 14 at The Rose at Kingston, Surrey; October 16 at The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton; October 17 at The Bournemouth Pavilion; October 19 (matinee) at The Theatre Royal, Bath; October 23 at The Anvil, Basingstoke; October 26 at The Theatre Royal, Norwich.

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