Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Saint of Stockwell

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Saint of Stockwell

Article excerpt

Roger Moore thinks we live in a different world from him, but he's not sure which Jewel of Radio 2's At the Movies season is Roger Moore reading from his memoir My Word Is My Bond (starts Friday 24 April, 9.15pm). Opening with a burst of music that only approximated the 007 theme ("Problems with the rights," the nation muttered) the actor launched excitedly into "Part One -The Story Begins!" (not exactly a catchy title that, Roger).

He started life, he said, at "23 inches and from Stockwell. I am quoting from hearsay, being much too young to actually recall the event." Nice to hear an actor being accurate. The early years were lovely. Some days he would stand at the window of his parents' second-floor flat, lathered up in his father's shaving foam, smoking a pipe and hoping someone would look up. But the weekends were the best. "Oh, those wonderful trips to the Wandsworth Road," he murmured, "to watch Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe." All gone now, the picture palaces ... turned into luxury flats ... such waste.

Several moments passed while Moore bought firmly into the tragedy of the boarded-up cinema, clearly oblivious to the fact that 50 years on, the rest of us are literally praying for release from the moving image. But possibly Moore has never been forced to watch TV on the 73 bus.

Next came the war. "What evil. What slaughter." Yes, Rog, it was a drag. One began to get the impression, from the way his voice frequently threw up little inverted commas around certain words, that Roger suspects that we all live in a different world entirely, but is unsure of which, hence he must remember to qualify certain things, flag up lingo that might come over as mysterious. For example, on one occasion some friends took him, he says, to a "pub", where he opted for a glass of "bitter" and someone gave him a "cigarette". …

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