Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dave Prowse Isn’t Dead

Over the weekend, after plotting various bank heists and the ultimate downfall of the Government, Karen and I decided to relax by watching “Bring Back...” hosted by fat, friendly, fun Bristolian Justin Lee Collins.

The premise of the show is simple. Mr Lee Collins picks a programme or film from yesteryear and attempts to get the original cast members back together for a brief televised reunion. It’s sort of like Friends Reunited for rich has-been celebs who all hate each other... Not particularly edifying I must admit but Justin’s targets this time were the original cast of Star Wars and naturally, being a fully paid up member of the Star Wars generation (original motion picture trilogy) it was an absolute must-see.

Now the show only works because Justin is so charming. Which is quite inexplicable given that he looks like an overweight foreign exchange student from Sweden. Too much hair. Too much beard. Too much gut. And yet Justin has undoubtedly got “it” – whatever “it” is. You can’t help but like the guy.

So. Justin draws up his hit list – Princess Leia, Luke, Han, Chewie, Darth Vadar, the droids – even Boba Fett. The air is momentarily heavy with anticipation... if he could actually do this it would be truly amazing. But despite Justin’s initial success charming his way into not only Carrie’s Fisher’s house but also her bathroom, reality, out of the blue, suddenly bites.

And it bites hard and on the arse.

Mark Hamill refuses to do it. Or rather his agent refuses on his behalf to do it unless Justin can come up with $50,000. Hmm. Methinks Luke to the dark side has turned... so Skywalker bites the dust. Harrison Ford you just know from the outset is unattainable. There’s no point even trying and Justin knows it. Han gets scrapped. Justin manages to collar Leia, Lando and Chewie – they all agree to interviews but not to the reunion. Close but no cigar. It’s all looking a bit ropey.

Typically – in the end – it’s only the Brits who are up for it.

Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Kenny Baker (R2D2) and most amazing of all, Dave Prowse (Darth Vadar) all appear for the considerably downsized reunion.

Now I must confess when Justin first drew up his hit list my first comment to Karen was “well snugglebun, he can forget Dave Prowse – he’s dead.”

And I genuinely thought he was.

I’m sure I remember reading a news report about Dave Prowse popping his enormous clogs years and years ago. Did I dream it? Did I just imagine it? I must have ‘cos there he was larger than life on the small screen. Or rather smaller than life. Poor bloke. The years have not been kind... but at least he bothered to turn up (unlike the big walking carpet and Leia in her metal bikini). Other than that though it was a case of Star Wars without the actual stars... Oh well, nice try Justin.

The only other highlight of the show for me was witnessing what a complete and utter arsehole Anthony Daniels (C3PO) is. Pretentious. Arrogant. Haughty. And, aside from his “golden rod” role, a complete failure as an actor. The man was totally irredeemable. Civil but politely sneery and awfully condescending. I didn’t like him at all. And to make matters worse he was, by all accounts, really nasty to Kenny Baker throughout the filming of all three films, refusing to talk to him most of the time and obviously seeing dear old Ken as being well beneath him.

No dwarf jokes please. You just don’t do that to Artoo.

Funniest moment of all was Justin showing old Tone a very rare Top Trumps card featuring an enhanced image of Threepee-o. It seems that a malicious graphic artist had endowed the golden one with an appendage of humungous eye-watering length. Any normal person would have laughed nay chortled at such ribald naughtiness. But not our Tony. He articulated at length how unfunny he found it as he considered C3PO to be a very dear friend to whom he felt a good deal of unswerving loyalty towards. Tosser. He finished by pointing out (in case we hadn’t yet sussed it) that “Of course, I don’t have a wonderful sense of humour...” Really? You don’t say.

What could Justin do but wave the offending card beneath Tony’s nose one more time and make the inevitable comment “Anthony, I’ve looked at this long and hard...”

Needless to say Anthony Daniels chose not to attend the reunion. Who needs a protocol droid that doesn’t understand common courtesy anyway?


-eve- said...

> He finished by pointing out (in case we hadn’t yet sussed it) that “Of course, I don’t have a wonderful sense of humour...” Really? You don’t say.
Heheheh ;-)
That says it all...heehee ;-)
Well, I think he suits the character; I never quite liked C3PO anyway ;-)

Anonymous said...

Well, it all sounds rather fun. Although it would be lost on me as I have never watched a Star Wars film and for years lived under the misapprehension that it was Dark Vader not Darth.

So whilst the logistics of getting all these people together would have interested me and seeing how horrid some of them are; I think if it had been a favourite film of mine I wouldn't want to see the real people behind the characters cos it might spoil it for me. Cos when I watch a film I like to think that it is real! So don't spoil things for me and pretend that ET is a glove puppet.

Glad it cheered you up anyway.

Old Cheeser said...

I only caught the second half of it and was kicking myself for missing the first bit!

Like you Mr Stevenage I am a SW fan and of course, us being of roughly the same age, I guess we were weaned on all things Empire-esque...

I can well believe what you say about Anthony Daniels - I have heard he is a bit of a tw*t to put it mildly - ironic (or not) that CP30 was as nasty to R2D2 in real life as he was on screen. Still Mr Daniels' lack of other acting roles is probably divine retribution for all his unpleasantness. Poor old Kenny Baker.

Shame I missed old Carrie Fisher too - she's a wry old bird and I like her sardonic and witty take on things.

It was good to see Dave Prowse - as you say, he wasn't looking his best - walking with a notable limp, his Green Cross Man/Dark Lord of the Sith days sadly long gone - but at least he was game enough to join in. Talking of the Green Cross Man, did you know I once saw him years ago at the Yorkshire Show, dressed as the aforementioned hero? I even got his autograph! Wooohooo!!

Anyway it was all enjoyable enough, as you say, the major stars opted out unfortunately, but then that always appears to be the case with Justin's reunions ... remember the Dallas one in which only the grown up Christopher bothered to show up?

Steve said...

Hi Eve, I always felt sympathy for C3PO because essentially he was the droid equivalent of a nerd. And being a nerd is fine. Unfortunately Anthony in real life seems to be something of an "up his own arse" kind of guy and that isn't ok. Needless to say when Anthony sent his apologies to Justin, Justin's first reaction was to punch the air...

Gina, everybody knows that ET isn't a glove puppet. I think he's purely animatronic with a little bit of voodoo thrown in for good measure. I've often wondered if ET was the result of early GM experimentation... it's amzing what they can do with potatoes these days... ;-) (only joking)!

OC, we are indeed brothers under the Empire. I love Carrie Fisher and would love her to present the Friday Night Project. She's a little batty around the edges but in a good way and I think has retained more marbles than she's lost. Carrie for me (and no dount for hundreds of others) will always be immortalised by her metal bikini. Sci-fi porn. With monsters, spaceships and fights all thrown in. Everything a growing boy needs.

I remember seeing the Dallas show and you're right it does seem to be the case that the big celebs make all the right noises in front of the camera and then fail to turn up for the reunions later. I'm sure part of that is the fact that Justin in an unknown commodity in the States... you can see them glazing over momentarily as he pounces on them: who is this guy? Is he for real? Will this help my ailing career...?

Rol said...

I must admit that I was tempted to watch this, but I was scared George Lucas might put in an appearance and I might do irrevocable damage to my TV when I kicked his childhood-raping face in.

Erm. Sorry. The prequels still hurt.

Steve said...

Totally agree, Rol. The more I hear of Mr L the more I don't like him. Dave Prowse revealed that ol' George didn't speak to him during the making of Return Of The Jedi as he blamed him for leaking the story of Darth Vadar's death... and has never ever spoken to him since. He also encouraged the film crew to give Prowse the cold shoulder too. Prowse looked genuinely aggrieved and still hurt after all this time. Poor Dave. George is an unfeeling twat as well as a "childhood-raping" fiend...

skatey katie said...

oh what a bunch of boring old codgers. and MARK HAMILL... crazy.
but it's not like he's rich'n'famous, is it? i haven't seen him pop up in a film since he put his light sabre on the shelf. maybe it's his retirement fund?

but ohgosh, i didn't realise there were so many family politics during/after the filming... sheesh.

oh, and i'm proud to say my kids are as addicted to SW as their parents!!
may the force be with you (couldn't possibly resist) X

Steve said...

Hi Kate, yes it was a bit sobering to realize that the all the fun of Star Wars (as you perceived it as a child) was all a sham. Internal politicking, petty jealousies, egos... grief, it's just like being at the office! However, from my inner child's point of view I can still be found waving a ruler around occasionally, making light sabre noises... purely for own amusement and peace of mind!

Lucy Fishwife said...

The minute I saw the trailer I KNEW Mark Hamill was going to be an arse about the whole thing. Having made been the hero of one of the surprise hits of the CENTURY, only a complete and utter cretin could fail to turn it into some kind of career - if I was him I'd have fired his agent!

Steve said...

Maybe the agent - in light of Hamill's non existent earning potential - was desperately clutching at the financial straw that he though Justin was offering? Guess he has a family to feed too and Luke isn't bringing home the bacon like he used to...!

Daisy said...

I would have loved to see that...perhaps they will have a repeat performance when i am over...i always thought for the most part they were all a bit stuck on themselves...

Steve said...

I have to say Daisy, that for all of Carrie Fisher's obvious "kookiness" she came across the best. Both a little eccentric and yet very down to earth at the same time. Sadly she never got to keep the metal bikini. Apparently George Lucas kept that for his own amusement...

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Thought this was the worst of the "Bring Back" shows.
As I've seen people say on a few blog's and forums since it's showing, he could meet people like Jeremy Bulloch, Kenny Baker, Warwick Davis and Dave Prowse at pretty much any SF convention. Anthony Daniels always struck me as a person who thinks his contribution to Star Wars is actually greater than it is, the guys a complete twat.
If they're going to do "Bring Back" shows then do stuff that's a bit more obscure, I know they're doing a FAME one, now that could be fun as I don't have much of a clue where those actors went after the show, but there's also talk of a Star Trek one.
I'd love to see a reunion of the actors who were in Man About the House and it's two spin offs, Robin's Nest and George and Mildred, besides Yootha Joice I believe the rest are still alive.
Also a bring back Blake's 7 would be cool, again I think they're all still around besides the guy who played Gan and Peter Tuddenham who voiced Orac and Zen, and Slave in series 4.

Steve said...

Hi Andrew, that's a good point re: the conventions... but for me the show was worth it just for Carrie Fisher.

Robin's Nest? Wow. Wasn't that Richard O'Sullivan sporting some manly sideburns? I seem to remember regular gags centred around their one armed irish waiter...

Andrew Glazebrook said...

Yeah David Kelly who played the one arm waiter was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few years back. For years as a kid I thought he actually only had one arm !! Not too sure if O'Brien ever appeared as Robin Tripp in George and Mildred,but the show was a spin off from Man about the House as was Robin's Nest with Tessa Wyatt !

Steve said...

So he didn't have an arm missing? Wow. Two myths busted in one week - Dave Prowse not dead and David Kelly in 2 arm shock!

Andrew Glazebrook said... Look ma, two arms !!!

Steve said...

How bizarre - from the photo both his hands looks strangely fake...!

Old Cheeser said...

I'm sure Carrie would be a great host on "Friday Night Project"! She's certainly got a gift for the comic. "Postcards from the Edge" is actually a good read and movie.

And the metal bikini, haw haw!

Actually I had more of a thing for Luke even though Mark Hamill hasn't aged particularly well (miaow).

You could be right about Justin freaking them all out hence the reluctance to appear for the reunion. If Oprah Winfrey or Phil Donahue were chasing them up the street they'd probably be honoured ... Old Just is certainly eccentric but I admire his bravado approaching these people. Frankly I'm surprised half of them agree to be interviewd by him (far from trying to sound cynical I can't help feeling Channel 4 must press a few bank notes into these stars' hands in order to get them to comply ... )

Steve said...

To my shame OC I've neither seen nor read Postcards From The Edge despite it being recommended to me by several people... may have to correct that one day.

And you're probably right regarding financial enducements from channel 4... obviously they couldn't run to the rather large fee demanded by Mr Hamill. He hasn't weathered well at all but I do think most of that is due to the reconstructive surgery he underwent after his spectacular car crash... the force wasn't with him that night.