A look back at the life and career of one of Britain's best-loved actors, Sir Roger Moore, who died in 2017, just months before his 90th birthday.
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My name's Bond. James Bond.
And I'm licensed to kill.
There's a royal premiere tonight, it's the latest Bond,
The Spy Who Loved Me. It has women, action and me.
And so have you, tonight, on Nationwide at 6.20pm.
I'm Roger Moore, so watch The Spy Who Loved Me,
and you'll love James Bond.
It still works on the third take.
Suave and charming,
deadly and debonair,
saving the world with his finger on the trigger
and his tongue firmly in his cheek.
No wonder that Sir Roger Moore was
the spy who we loved.
The man with the golden pun,
dispatching villains with a combination of punches
and punch lines, gadgets and gags.
I'm now aiming precisely at your groin...
..so speak, or forever hold your "peace".
For over 50 years, Roger Moore was one of Britain's best exports,
known across the world for playing iconic heroes
on television and film.
On the small screen, there was Ivanhoe in the 1950s,
Maverick and The Saint in the '60s,
and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! in the '70s.
And on the big screen, well, you don't get any bigger than...
Bond, James Bond.
And as we will see in this programme,
Roger always seemed destined to play 007.
We will also explore how he was one of the most self-effacing stars
of all time,
always first in line to criticise himself.
And we will be looking at how,
once he has handed in his licence to kill,
he took on another, life-changing mission -
which was perhaps his greatest.
But let's start with Simon Templer and The Saint.
Roger had at one point wanted to produce his own series
based on the popular novels by Leslie Charteris.
That didn't happen.
But when others got the rights,
Roger was still cast as the modern-day Robin Hood,
who robbed from the corrupt and gave most of the loot
back to their victims.
This interview took place in 1963,
and starts very tellingly.
Mr Moore, why do you think you were chosen to play The Saint?
Because Sean Connery wasn't available.
No, let's have a truthful answer.
I tried to buy the show five or six years ago, I tried to
buy the rights, but I didn't have enough money at the time,
or Leslie Charteris wasn't interested in selling to television,
which put the price up.
So when I was approached,
you know, I was delighted to do it.
I thought it was a character for a running TV series.
You know, it had a built-in premise.
Sort of part Superman...
..and natural hero.
Things one is not allowed to do on television because of censorship,
or the hero must always be white.
I think that a hero... You know,
heroes don't exist, as far as I'm concerned. I...
..think that people who have read the books know that The Saint
was a crook, although we never say it in television,
and for this reason, he has a double interest.
He has another aspect to his character.
You enjoy packing punches?
Yes. You know, I like to win because in life I am a devout coward.
I have a yellow streak up my back, to prove it.
What I really like about playing The Saint is I have been
under contract to MGM,
to Warner Bros and to Columbia,
and always playing heroes that were, you know, true blue.
And I was never allowed to be photographed with a cigarette
or a drink in my hand.
And now, you know, I play The Saint - it doesn't matter.
But with all these series you have been in,
have you got any stories to tell us about the dangerous moments
you've had when you perhaps packed a punch
and received a broken leg in return?
Well, I... When I first started Ivanhoe,
we were doing a sword fight on horseback,
and this was before I started wearing gloves as the character.
And one day we were... It was three o'clock in the afternoon,
we were out in the field,
and we had about six or seven horses charging at me.
There were great screams of "Ivanhoe".
I went into the battle,
someone came in with a sword straight on my finger...
..and the nail came shooting off.
So, I said "Cut, please."
and stopped, and they put an adhesive tape on.
And then we went back into action again.
The next cut took the adhesive tape off.
So, they put the adhesive tape back on. By this time, you know,
I really don't know what day it is.
And we started charging in again.
The saddle slipped, I ended up underneath the horse.
There's shouts of "Ivanhoe", and I'm shouting, "Cut! Cut, please. Cut."
And I got up and I went home.
Maverick, Ivanhoe and The Saint,
I'd say that Roger Moore never had it so good.
Why... What is the attraction behind playing
in these long-running series?
That wasn't the end of the interview.
Here, for your eyes only,
are some fascinating outtakes
displaying Roger's famous sense of humour.
At home, you will see the glossy finished article.
What you don't often see are the moments when we are not
quite so smoothly professional.
I think after playing The Saint you now have enough money
to buy the series.
No, actually, I have been paid in Green Shield Stamps.
And I have... I have...
Now, I have enough to have a trip to Majorca
and buy a washing machine.
The man who created The Saint describes him as having a quick wit,
built to pack punches and with an eye for pretty girls.
Is this you? Let's start with the girls first.
-A quick punch, no, and I don't know about wit.
You've been in Maverick, you were Beauregarde Maverick,
you played Ivanhoe, and now The Saint,
you must have worked with any number of actresses.
You've gone through the whole lot. How do actresses rate as women?
Cut, I'm sorry. Rolling.
What? Sorry, Bob. Cut...
Let's try that again, shall we?
You've played Beauregarde Maverick, Ivanhoe and now The Saint,
you've been through plenty of actresses in your time.
How do actresses rate as women?
You can't say that!
I was lucky enough to be one of those actresses
who appeared with Roger in The Saint.
In fact, Roger and I clicked quite nicely,
and got on so well I ended up in several episodes,
each time playing a different character, in a different wig.
Roger was the ultimate professional, always on top of his lines,
putting everyone at ease, cast and crew,
because he was just so funny and relaxed.
Actors wanted to be on the show
because he was such a joy to be with.
We knew that a day working with Roger
was always going to be enjoyable.
And you were guaranteed a good time.
You were marvellous!
Well, that's the sort of gratitude I like.
But there was much more to Roger than just fun.
He was creative, a hard worker,
and always liked to push himself.
One little-known fact about The Saint is that
several of the episodes, and some very familiar faces,
were actually directed by Roger himself.
Well, television for a director is very good.
It's a good training ground
because you have to direct off the top of your head.
You have to do your homework at night,
be ready for any eventuality, and be able to change.
You know, it's all very fast.
And I would really love to direct a feature that I am not in,
where I don't have to direct myself.
The way I shot was mainly from Simon Templar's point of view.
So, I would set up a master shot,
and I would have the camera move over my shoulder.
And now, I'm back behind the lens and I'm the director,
and Simon Templar's giving the lines. And at the end of the day,
send everybody home and I'd do my close-ups
talking to the script girl. It was much quicker.
And also, I didn't have anybody to argue with.
-Whose bunk is that?
Or maybe that one is, haven't decided yet.
-Yeah, that's right.
Then decide now.
So, you're The Saint?
It's hard to overstate just how successful The Saint was.
Six series, comprising nearly 120 episodes -
it was a huge international hit,
and made Roger one of the most famous faces on the planet.
Not bad for a man who was once best known
for modelling knitwear.
A friend of mine was a photographer who said that I could earn
30 bob an hour,
..knitting pattern or something.
From then on, I was sort of inundated with work.
I managed to push it up to two quid an hour,
and I got it to the stage where I was able to farm out work
if I couldn't do it.
The jumper modelling meant Michael Caine
would nickname Roger - The Big Knit.
So, how did The Big Knit become an acting knight?
Roger never liked talking about his private life.
He rarely discussed his four marriages,
or the fact that, for a while,
he had a wife far more famous than he was -
the Welsh singing star Dorothy Squires.
But this exchange with Michael Parkinson
does at least throw some light on how he got the acting bug.
I've always wondered about you.
Were, in fact, you a good-looking child?
-Was I a good-looking child?
No, I was rather fat, I think.
Fat and spotty. Yeah, I was a little overweight.
My father always used to get furious at me with, you know,
schoolboys' raincoats, those blue ones.
And he would pull that belt and he'd say I looked like a sack of...
..you can't say it, tied up ugly in the middle.
Yeah. What were their ambitions for you, your parents?
Because your dad was...
-To get thin, I think!
-To get thin.
Did they have any theatrical ambition for you?
No, no. My father was keen on amateur dramatics
when he was in the police, and he organised
the dramatics society for E Division,
and he used to produce and direct and star
and do the make-up and all the scenery.
It was a one-man show.
You weren't, of course... You started acting, but then
your career, as it was, was interrupted by National Service.
You went into the forces. You were commissioned, as well.
Were you a dashing subaltern?
Er... Well, yes, I suppose I was.
By that time, I had lost weight.
The only reason they commissioned me, I looked good in uniform!
-I looked like a hero.
-Little did they know!
-Did you enjoy it, the army life?
Well, I was determined not to.
My first six weeks, you know, basic training in Bury St Edmunds,
It was really Bury St Roger up there, it was so cold.
And the sergeant would always say to me,
and I knew nothing about the army, except my mother's family were army.
My mother was born in India in barracks.
My grandfather was the senior RSM in the British Army
in the First World War.
And so I was rather a disgrace, not wanting to go.
And I was dragged in and I had yellow jaundice,
and I was doing a season of Shaw at Cambridge.
And you know when you have jaundice,
you have peculiar symptoms apart from yellow eyes
and of jaundiced skin that,
when they ask you to deposit. You know,
-"over there", says the doctor...
..and it was a very strange sort of colour and they passed me A1.
-Yeah. So, now you know why they commissioned me.
-They were desperate.
-To put you in the works?
But the sergeant would always say to me, he would say,
"I Corps for you, lad."
And I thought he meant that I was going in the opticians' branch
-of the medical corps. What he meant was Intelligence Corps.
Anyway, they commissioned me, and then I was fortunate enough
to get transferred to entertainment.
When you went to Hollywood, was this your great ambition,
to get to the film capital?
I think Hollywood... Well, in those days, I don't know today,
but as a struggling young actor, Hollywood, I mean, you know,
if you were English, was an absolutely wonderful place to go.
And what was your first impression of it?
Did it live up to expectation, or what?
Oh, yes, it was everything I imagined.
I would always walk up to people like Gary Cooper.
I thought I knew them.
I'd be brought up with them on the screen, you know?
I'd say, "Hello!", you know?
You wonder why you get the blank from them.
Do you remember your first movie?
The Last Time I Saw Paris.
Is that all you want to say about it?
Yeah, well, I remember it distinctly,
because I was signed by MGM,
and I arrived to start the contract on April 1st, April Fools' Day,
which was an appropriate day for me to arrive in Hollywood,
and I did it with Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson.
And I knew nothing about pictures.
And I remember Dick Brooks had a reputation of being
a shouting director, and he was really going mad my first day
on the set, not with me, but he was getting mad with the censor,
or the girl from the censor's office,
because she had come down to say that the camera was too high,
and Liz Taylor's cleavage was exposing too much,
and he started in such language.
I was quite embarrassed.
It was terrible.
You were, in fact, of course,
you were in that line of the good-looking English leading actor,
weren't you? Probably the last in that line, weren't you,
to go to Hollywood? I mean, there was, what, Stew Granger before you?
Stewart Granger, James Mason.
All at MGM. And Edmund Purdom.
Yes, yes. What was the reception like for you there?
Was there any hostility at all?
Well, they weren't going to put up with any more from an Englishman,
you know, so I learnt to smile a great deal.
I can remember
my first job in rep, when I came out of the army,
the director said, "You're not very good, you know?"
He said, "Smile when you come on."
So, I've smiled ever since.
Did you have a sort of clenched look about you then?
Er... Yeah, I guess so.
I remember in Hollywood,
when I was going to play the Duke of Wellington's nephew
in a film called The Miracle,
they said, "Would you mind sort of working on your English accent?"
I said, "What's wrong with my accent?"
What they meant was, I spoke with my teeth together, my muscles,
all the time, because I was afraid of what was going to come out.
There was a marvellous phrase you used once.
You said that after the movies and MGM, you went through the treadmill
of television. And in fact, actually,
it was a treadmill for you,
but it did in fact establish you, didn't it?
I mean, things like The Saint, particularly.
Yeah, well, The Saint,
I made 120 episodes, I think,
and it was shown in every country in the world apart from Red China
and Russia, so it had at some point an enormous audience,
not that they necessarily liked you, but they knew who you were.
Roger filmed his final episode of The Saint in 1969,
the same year that he married his third wife, Luisa Mattioli,
after several years of waiting for Dorothy Squires
to grant him a divorce.
It felt like a time of change,
and Roger was determined not to make another TV series.
But as a certain other actor would also learn...
..never say never again.
Before Roger knew it, he was starring in The Persuaders!,
and there were different accounts of how he was persuaded into it.
I had said I was not going to do any more.
I thought I'd had enough.
Lew Grade called me and said,
"I've sold The Persuaders!".
And I said, "Lew, but I said I didn't want to do it."
So, he stuck his cigar in my mouth and said,
"The country needs the money."
He says, "Think of the Queen."
He said, "You can have any leading man you want."
He says, "I can get Rock Hudson, I can get Glenn Ford,
"I can get Tony Curtis..." and a couple of other names.
I said to him, "I think that probably Rock Hudson and I
"are too similar in type as leading men,
"but Tony Curtis, I think, is a great actor and has great humour,
"and I think that would work." So he said, "All Right. We'll sign Tony."
And here's Lew Grade's version of events.
He remembers things a little differently.
Roger was always suspicious that when I went to America
that I would do a deal with him for a television series again.
And he knew I was going to America.
He said, "Lew, I'll do anything you want, but no more television.
"I've spent seven years on The Saint
"and I don't want to do any more."
And when Roger Moore says something,
he means it.
And I'll give you an example.
I was in America, this time at ABC.
And I'm talking to them.
They say, "We need a show for ten o'clock on Wednesday night."
I said, "What about Roger Moore?"
He's told me he's not going to do television any more.
They said, "Well, Roger Moore's been on The Saint, he's been on
the two networks", you know.
I said, "What happens if I get Tony Curtis?"
He says, "You have a deal. 22 episodes."
I call Roger Moore and I said,
"Roger, I'm in trouble."
"I've committed to a series of 22 episodes with Tony Curtis and you,
"a series called The Persuaders!".
He said, "Lew, I'm not going to do any more television.
"I'll do anything you want, but not television."
I said, "Just a moment, Roger."
I opened my drawer and I
pulled out a substantial cheque.
I said, "Roger, this is something to start with."
And without a flicker of an eyelid...
..he said, "When do I start?"
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Well, we played it tongue-in-cheek...
..because I play most heroes tongue-in-cheek, you know,
because I really don't see myself as a hero.
Although I play them and so I play them as though,
you know, it's all a joke.
And I think you have to sort of make the audience feel that...
.."Hey, listen, it's all right to laugh."
Daniel, I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in us.
-Wait a minute, you didn't give her a...
-100,000 big ones.
That's the most conniving, dirty...
Wait a minute.
She only needed 100 grand, which I gave her.
And I gave her.
-When we drank champagne, it was champagne,
it wasn't ginger ale,
and so I was rather inclined to drink too much and eat too much.
Lew Grade did once say that Roger and Tony
weren't as friendly off screen as they were on...
..but that, it seems, wasn't the case.
Tony, at the beginning, had not done television and...
..I think he had a sort of feeling that, well, this was a step down
in the world from being an enormous movie star.
His ideas gradually changed on that.
We had quite a lot of fun bouncing off one another,
but I think Lew sort of thought, yes, I want to say that,
because that makes it more attractive
so that they would then look to see what was going on between them.
As with The Saint,
Roger directed a couple of episodes of The Persuaders!.
And he was also responsible for some of the fashions on display,
which were very much of their time.
I had a credit for designing the clothes.
Actually, it was all my cloth,
because I was on the board of the mills in Bradford,
Pearson and Foster,
which unfortunately didn't materialise
as a successful enterprise,
probably because of my involvement.
But all the cloth was mine and it was made up by my then tailor,
Yes, I would say, you know,
"I'd like this sort of look and that look."
And if you remember, back in the early...
..the beginning of the '70s, late '60s sort of...
..men were rather extravagant in their dress,
we had the kipper ties and big knots or else a scarf around the neck.
We were pretty lairy.
The lightweight nature of The Persuaders!,
and the fact that it looked so much fun to make,
added to a general sense that Roger may have been a big star,
but perhaps wasn't much of an actor.
It was a constant theme throughout his career,
that over the years he really didn't help to dispel,
as this little selection demonstrates.
You're very self-deprecating about your acting.
-Is that defensive?
-Yes, it's defensive.
I always try to say it before anybody else does.
No, but if you didn't say it, perhaps nobody else would.
I'd never thought of that. Maybe I started the wrong way!
Why do you always put yourself down when people ask you about acting?
-Because you do, don't you?
-I've stopped doing that.
-I now say I'm marvellous.
-That's all right. What caused the change of heart?
The critics started believing me.
You always claimed that you can't act.
No, I didn't say, I used to.
-Then I started saying I could.
And then they started arguing with me!
So, I've gone back the other way.
Roger's modesty, false or otherwise,
was maybe one more reason that people loved him.
He was, of course, being unfair to himself.
Between The Saint and The Persuaders!,
his performance in the 1970 thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself
was very highly praised.
In fact he had two roles -
an uptight businessman and his wild alter ego.
I'll go to the police!
-Daddy. Daddy, what's happening?
-What's going on out here?
Who on earth is that?
Talking about the film years later,
Roger once again criticised his own performance,
although on this occasion that provided an interesting insight
into how seriously he took the role.
This is the one reading of a line that I hate,
when I say to the boys.
Basil said, "No, say it to Jamie."
And as I look at it, I can hear myself imitating him,
and it's the wrong reading of the line.
I'd like to go back and re-voice it.
Here's the line coming up now. Oh, dear.
Eve? Mike? Jamie!
The Man Who Haunted Himself was Roger's personal favourite
of all his films
and helps show that you don't last as long as he did,
and become a national treasure, without talent.
It also contains this little exchange.
-So, there has been a leak.
-Well, I don't know.
I'm getting too old for this jungle.
How could it happen, Pel?
Come on, Charles. Espionage isn't all James Bond
and Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Industry goes in for it too, you know?
That was one of the many moments dotted throughout Roger's career
that point to it being almost fated that he'd play James Bond.
The references to 007 are many.
From the contents of a suitcase in The Persuaders!...
Clever. Arranged by Schubert, I should imagine.
It has all his trademarks.
And his rather bizarre sense of humour.
All the James Bond books.
..to this example of character confusion in The Saint.
Ah, Miss Hill, come in.
-You fixed it?
-Yes, I did.
It worked out just as you said it would.
The Joysons have left
and this apartment is available from tomorrow
for your friends in the FBI.
I just can't wait for my next assignment.
-Me! Me, working for James Bond.
I'm so excited. You're not just teasing me, are you?
You really are James Bond?
There's even a full-on spoof in this comedy encounter
with Millicent Martin from 1963.
With its female Russian agent,
it could almost be considered a dress rehearsal
for The Spy Who Loved Me.
Over there, Mr Bond.
Yes, well, I am on holiday.
-Yes. Mr Smith.
-Yes, and I'm 007, as if you didn't know.
James Bond, what are you doing at my hotel?
And what, may I ask, is Sonia Sekova, Russia's master spy,
doing staying at my hotel?
Why have you come to spy on me?
I might ask you the same question.
You mean, you don't know why you've come to spy on me?
Typical British intelligence, muddle through as usual.
Well, you Russians always were a little thick in the head.
If you're coming here to spy on me, you must know that I am on holiday.
Oh, don't give me that. James Bond is never on holiday.
Everybody knows that. Besides, I haven't come to spy on you.
In 1973, it finally became a reality.
George Lazenby's stint as Bond hadn't worked out,
Sean Connery's comeback was for one film only,
producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli needed a new 007.
Roger lost the weight he'd gained from champagne and high living
in The Persuaders!,
he had a haircut and accepted his licence to kill.
He was 45.
Well, you know, I came into it after he was very well-established,
and obviously I couldn't play it in the same way,
so I had to have a different approach,
and I am a lighter sort of actor than Sean.
How did you categorise? Did you think a great deal about how
you were going to approach this part?
Did you attempt to motivate yourself?
-Well, I thought about money.
-Sort of method school of acting stuff.
-Just the money, eh?
-No, no, no.
My only worry ever about...
..doing it was...
..being, you know, the comparison with Sean,
was that I would say to myself,
"My name is Bond, James Bond," but I would hear it in my mind...
-AS SEAN CONNERY:
-"My name is Bond, James Bond."
You know, and I mustn't do that.
It's very difficult.
Have you changed the role at all or have you considered to...
Are you playing it exactly the same way each time?
I think we have injected a little more humour.
Yes. It seems to me to be more and more for laughs,
and more and more enormous effects, of course.
Well, I think...
Bond films are so outrageous, the stunts are so outrageous,
everything is, you know, beyond belief.
I mean, there is no such thing as a spy who can walk anywhere
in the world and every bartender recognises him and says,
"Ah, Mr Bond, vodka Martini, shaken not stirred."
Spies aren't like that, are they? They're...
They're sort of unknown faces that would pass in a crowd
and not be noticed, real spies. So, you might be good for the part.
-LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Thank you. On my side.
It's hard to imagine now,
but back then there were real fears that without Connery the Bond series
With Live And Let Die, Roger brought it back to life,
each of his films earning huge sums at the box office
as his popularity increased.
But as he would recall years later,
his first Bond action sequence meant things were nearly all over
before they'd begun.
In fact, I very nearly didn't do it.
The first day of shooting, before we started the first day of shooting,
I was rehearsing with this jet ski boat.
And they turn, you know, on a sixpence, jet boats.
But they have to be in full power when you do it.
You have to say, "I'm going to turn now,"
so you have to have the guts to say, "Push it right forward,"
give it all the acceleration, and you come around.
That is great. If you're going and the engines cut out,
you don't have anything to steer with.
There's no rudder. It's going through the engines.
And so you go in a straight line at the speed the engines cut out.
And this is what happened. We went around a bend on a bayou
and the engines cut out and I just went straight into...
..a boat hut or something that was stupidly stuck
on the edge of the water.
And I had about ten seconds, you know, as I saw this coming,
what am I going to do? And I do this, or that,
and by the time I thought about it, I'd smashed my teeth on the thing,
and been thrown into the back of the boat.
I walked with a stick for three weeks.
I was very fortunate I didn't lose all my teeth.
Everybody thought these were done by stunt people.
Well, I had to learn to drive the boat.
It wasn't until I was on my way to the first press screening of Bond -
I suddenly got nerves.
Oh, dear. This is not the time to get nerves.
And after about five minutes, I said, "If they don't like it,
"they don't like it, and I go back to modelling sweaters."
Live And Let Die was a hit,
but as ever, Roger had his critics,
who preferred Connery's toughness to Roger's less serious approach.
He addresses this in the next interview,
which was filmed on the set of the 1975 comedy That Lucky Touch
and which coincided with his second Bond film,
The Man With The Golden Gun.
Can we talk about, can we talk about the knocks?
I mean, I don't know how you react to good or bad publicity
but the Bond films inevitably, when you took over from Sean Connery,
because it was new and because it was different, people all said,
"Oh, well, Roger Moore is not my idea of 007
"and he's not like Sean Connery, and it's all a great failure."
I mean, do you mind that kind of hammering?
No, not really, because I say it before they do.
It is always nice to get a good notice.
-You do like a good notice?
-Well, of course you do,
but you don't take any notice if they're bad.
And so by the same token,
-I shouldn't take any notice of the good ones.
Not that there are many, but, still, people still pay to see the films.
I think the first time they went to see...
..Live And Let Die was just to see if I was going to be as bad
as they thought I would be.
Now, this one is doing equal business,
in some countries even better...
..so maybe it's a different audience,
that hadn't seen Live And Let Die.
-You never can tell.
-Have you played much comedy before?
According to the critics, all the time.
But anything that was seriously called a comedy...
-..no, I haven't.
-BANGING IN BACKGROUND
Is comedy, and I'm shouting a bit because of the...
I think they're rearranging the sets back there.
Well, they're all critics.
Is playing comedy much more difficult than playing Bond?
Well, it's an entirely different technique.
The important thing of comedy is timing.
It really is very simple.
Not that Bond makes people cry, but it's very simple, you know,
to do drama and make people have tears welling up in their eyes.
-To make people laugh is difficult.
Would it be so that... Because you have to do...
..a lot of different takes,
have to repeat things very often,
does a funny script end up in the end as totally unfunny?
You start feeling you're being unfunny.
It's very difficult. When you start rehear...
It's the difference between filming for television
and filming for cinema,
where you have much more time in the cinema to rehearse,
whereas filming for television, you know,
-which I did for so many years...
That your performance is off the top of your nut.
You go in and you really want to shoot on the first rehearsal,
when it's bright and sparkling.
Filming for the cinema's rather like the theatre,
where you have a long time together
with the off-the-top-of-the-head performance
to get into the depth of it,
then stop being bored with it and make it come to life in every take.
And this is concentration,
and that's all you require, is concentration.
-concentrating during one moment filming
The Man with the Golden Gun,
which resulted in him becoming a real life-saving hero.
Oh, all the time I had trouble with explosives.
We were shooting on what's called Phi Phi Island.
It's now called James Bond Island, in the Gulf of Siam.
-A big tourist destination now, isn't it?
-Oh, you know...
It was then. I mean, the Japanese tourists would come
from the other side of this tiny island
and we were trying to fight them back.
One day, we were shooting the whole sequence where it's all blown up...
and I said, "Now, where are the cameras going to be?"
They said, "Well, there's a camera there
"and there's a camera over here."
I said, "All rather exposed, aren't they?"
"Oh, well, there's not going to be anybody there."
And we were left on the island on our own, with a pyromaniac, er...
..explosive expert, who was setting off these,
and there were five big explosions.
And the first one was going to go off as I came through a door.
They said, "So you come through that..."
And I was with Britt Ekland, who was wearing a bikini.
There was nothing to grab hold of.
And my hands now were getting rather wet
because I was waiting for the next explosion to go.
And I ran, dragging Britt.
But she was sweating and my hand was sweating,
and she was left standing there and I was halfway round the corner.
And I realised then, was I going to be Bond, was I going be Roger Moore,
was I...? I went back, actually, and I got her.
And when the final explosion went,
the flames came around the side of this rock overhang
and I felt all the little tiny hairs on her back,
you know, she was wearing a bikini!
And it all just crisped up.
-And it was not very pleasant.
-I hope you can swim, goodnight.
Roger had originally been contracted to make just three Bond adventures.
His third was the one he liked best.
For many, The Spy Who Loved Me was the Bond where Roger stepped out of
Sean Connery's shadow and established the role as his own.
A different 007, but certainly not an inferior one.
The film is a cocktail as potent as any vodka Martini.
A perfect blend of incredible gadgets,
exciting action, exotic locations,
with a gorgeous Bond girl, Barbara Bach,
and an unforgettable baddie in the shape of Jaws.
And a jaw-dropping opening.
One particular stunt, which got a guy 40,000 for one jump,
can you tell us a little bit about that?
Well, they wanted me to do it, you see.
-And I said, well, you know, I couldn't do it for 40,000...
-..because I wouldn't live to spend it.
But it was to go off a 5,000-foot precipice.
When cinemagoers saw this for the first time,
there were reports of them standing in their seats and cheering wildly!
And did he do it in one take?
One take, and his last.
That was Roger Moore joking, of course.
And typically, he would make light of another of those incidents where
something went horribly wrong and could have ended very nastily.
And there's a scene where Curt Jurgens, who was the villain,
is going to shoot a rocket at me under the table.
And I was supposed to be standing behind the chair.
And I said, you know, "I don't think that it's quite so dramatic
"as if I'm sitting in the chair."
Well, they'd built behind the chair, er, steel,
so that I would be protected from the explosions.
It didn't occur to lunatic Moore.
I sat in the chair and went,
and the explosions went just before I got out of the chair.
And... So where most people have one hole,
-I have three.
-I knew you were a versatile character.
It was very painful, I don't mind telling you.
But there were three terrible burns there and I had to go off for
-about a month...
-Can you give us a look?
-Yeah, if you want to...
-The audience don't really believe that, I feel.
Well, it's now just scar tissue.
Oh, it's a disappointment, then.
But, you know, at the end of every shooting day,
I had to go to see the nurse at the studio
-and have my Vaseline dressings changed.
Sit down, Mr Bond.
Your time's running out, Stromberg.
Yours too, Mr Bond, yours too.
And faster than you think.
You've shot your bolt, Stromberg.
Now it's my turn.
Now for an example of his famous charm.
There aren't many stars who would tolerate being told that an element
of their work is appalling, but Roger doesn't even bat an eyelid.
The script itself, I mean,
it's deliberately appalling, isn't it, really?
Every other line, you've got a gag.
And you say it in such a way, which, er, just about saves it.
Well, that's it. The whole point is, this is a romp.
It is fun, it's entertainment.
The problem today, I think, with the vast number of films,
they are not entertaining.
-I like, when I go to the cinema, to be entertained.
I do not want to come out feeling miserable.
And I think a Bond film, you usually come out having had
a good couple of hours of laughter and action.
Ian Fleming, who wrote the book, originally thought of you,
actually, as the perfect James Bond.
One of the producers told me that.
Now, Bond is slightly ruthless in the books.
Erm, he's certainly very, very vicious.
He's a man of action.
He adores beautiful women.
What about you?
Well, that's why he thought I would be right for the part,
-because that's what I'm like!
-You could have fooled me!
-What are you like?
Oh, it's an acting part, isn't it?
You know, they do say I don't act.
But really, you know, I'm the world's worst coward and, of course,
I look terribly brave.
-I mean, that is acting.
The rumours are you were contracted to do three Bonds.
-Er, this is your third.
And the rumours are that there's a bit of hustle going on now about you
doing any more. Erm, what's the truth about that?
Are you going to do another Bond, or what?
Well, we're negotiating.
I was swimming a couple of weeks ago and got an ear infection,
and I don't hear too well.
-What's the problem, do you not want to do it again?
-No, no, no, no.
It's a problem of dates,
that I really want to know when we're going to start and...
And I have to lock out six months to a year of my career, or my life,
to make the Bond film.
-And so I want to know when exactly it's going.
The dancing around Roger's contract would of course continue
for four more films,
in which the humour quota increased progressively.
Moonraker sent Bond into space
in an attempt to cash in on the success of Star Wars.
To some, that was more believable than a motorised gondola travelling
through Venice, and a double-taking pigeon.
And in Octopussy, where Bond disarms a nuclear bomb
dressed in a clown costume -
it seemed to represent where the franchise had found itself.
I've a feeling the scriptwriters have written more and more humour,
to accommodate your interpretation of the part. Would you agree?
Er, I suppose you have to make it funny if I'm in it!
No. It's, er...
since I've been doing it,
and they may have done it with Sean as well -
I don't know, I wasn't there - but...
A joke may be indicated in a script that doesn't work within the context
of the scene when you're playing it, or the set, and so...
Be it Guy Hamilton, or Lewis Gilbert,
or John Glen now directing.
And so, you know, "What do you want to say here?"
And, "Do you have any ideas?" And I say, "Have you got any ideas?"
And we probably do six or seven takes,
throwing in different punch lines...
..which I enjoy. I mean, that's an inventive part of playing it.
That'll bring tears to your eyes.
Stinging In The Rain.
That's not funny, 007.
Do you get an extra salary for the writing?
No, but it's a good idea.
Roger, I wonder if you have made Bond less lethal.
He seems to me now to be less of a cold killer, more reluctant.
I know he's still licenced to kill, more reluctant to kill.
Do you sense that, as you pass through the films?
Well, I always played it with a certain reluctance to kill
because my only key to playing a Bond
that I had from the books
was at the beginning of one of Fleming's stories
where it said, "Bond was on his way back from Mexico,
"where he had eliminated somebody.
"He didn't like killing particularly,
"but he took a pride in doing his job well."
And that's my key to it, I don't like killing.
As these films go on, they get more and more spectacular,
no doubt about it, with Octopussy.
You have the most incredible train and plane chases
in which you are obliged to cling to both.
How do you manage to do it? It's no secret that you're past
your 21st birthday.
Am I? I didn't know that!
How do I manage to do it? I tell you, I have glue on my shoes,
that's how I stick on planes and trains.
But it must be quite an exertion for a man who perhaps would prefer
to play chess or do the Times crossword.
No, yes, well, I don't know, I suppose I keep myself in shape,
I always have done.
As a man, Roger, you are rich, you are famous,
and you look amazingly comfortable.
Is life really that good?
-Yes. I've been very lucky.
Is there anything missing?
Well, I suppose, from the ego point of view,
it would be nice to be, sort of, getting wonderful reviews
in a marvellous play somewhere, but that is not the path I took.
When I had the choice between Hollywood
and Stratford, I took Hollywood.
I was greedy.
There were, of course, other films between the Bonds,
like the military adventure The Wild Geese,
which saw Roger comfortably holding his own
alongside acting greats Richard Burton and Richard Harris.
Oh, and another hit, The Cannonball Run,
where he wholeheartedly embraced his talent for comedy
and spoofed himself completely,
playing a character who claims he is the actor Roger Moore.
I'm looking at my son, Seymour Goldfarb Jr,
son of Seymour Goldfarb,
God rest his soul, and heir to the Goldfarb Girdles fortune.
And what is he doing?
Walking around, acting like he was some goy movie star
named Roger Moore.
And for this I sent you to the best schools?
And now, this.
The sleep-in maid found it under your pillow this morning.
What is the meaning of this?
BOND THEME PLAYS
The meaning, Mother dear, is a quick death.
I warned you not to interfere in my affairs.
Seymour, put that away, it's liable to go off.
I'm terribly sorry, Mother, but you know too much.
-Zei gezunt, Mama.
When it came to Roger's final Bond outing,
A View To A Kill, many people,
including himself, felt that at 56 he was possibly past his best,
and age wasn't the only difficult thing he had to contend with.
There was another problem in the shape of a rather tricky co-star,
I'm afraid my diplomatic charm was stretched to the limit with Grace.
Every day in her dressing room, which was adjacent to mine,
she played very loud music.
One day, I snapped.
I marched into her room,
pulled the plug out and then went back to my room,
picked up a chair and flung it at the wall.
The dent is still there.
On December 3rd, 1985, 12 years after Live And Let Die,
Roger announced that he was retiring as James Bond.
The end of an era.
He was then 58, and said,
at the prospect of more bullets and bombs and girls half his age,
it was starting to get a bit daft.
I was beginning to get a bit long in the tooth.
-You felt it?
..I didn't feel it, but I felt I looked it.
You'd been blown up and banged about enough
and it just started to seem like hard work.
Well, it was Love In The Afternoon. You start, you know...
If they're going to have a leading lady
that really matches up to you in age,
she is already going to be a grandmother,
and that's not quite what James Bond is about!
He'd kept the franchise going,
created a new generation of Bond fans,
and generated millions of pounds for the British film industry.
But after all those years in the tuxedo, it was time for a change.
# Because I'm free, nothing's worrying me. #
The stage was beckoning, and in 1989,
it was announced that Roger was to join a cast
that included Michael Ball in the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical,
Aspects Of Love.
Can you give us a quick tune?
-Give us a song.
Just a hum, even.
# Hmmm. #
That's it, that's my range.
His reluctance to sing at that press conference perhaps provided a clue
as to what was going to happen next.
On to some showbiz news now, because Roger Moore has announced
that he's to leave the cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber's
latest musical, Aspects Of Love.
The show is already a sell-out.
It's due to open with a royal premiere in front of the Queen
in less than four weeks' time,
but now it's lost one of its biggest stars.
It could have been a major career embarrassment,
but Roger was refreshingly open about why he dropped out.
I'd booked a seat and everything...
-Did you get the money back?
-Well, yes, I demanded my money back!
..because you were going to sing,
-and what happened?
-Oh, I got cold feet.
But that's not like you.
You usually take your chances at everything.
No, yeah, but other people were relying
on notes that I might be singing to come in, you know...
Singing Lloyd Webber is not like
singing Another Bride, Another June in pantomime,
singing Lloyd Webber is opera,
and I did not have the experience or the courage to do it.
Did it give you an awful lot of heart-searching?
because I wouldn't have thought you're the kind of person
who accepts something and then says, "No, I can't do it."
Well, I didn't think I could do it in the first place, you see!
It was Andrew saying, "You can do it."
He saw me on Dame Edna, singing with Denis Healey.
And I think he...Denis Healey would have been right for the part!
Aspects of Love in Roger's personal life
were also going through a change.
A diagnosis of prostate cancer in 1993
prompted him to think hard about his future, and, as he said,
make some hefty decisions.
One of them involving the end of his marriage to Louisa
and marrying for the fourth time to Christina Kristina Tholstrup,
a Scandinavian socialite.
Another major decision was to take a step back from acting
in favour of a new role as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef,
the United Nations' children's fund.
His friend Audrey Hepburn had asked him to get involved,
and, after travelling around the world's most glamorous locations
playing Bond, now he was visiting
some of the toughest places on the planet,
trying to raise awareness of the problems faced by children.
The reason I became involved with Unicef was, A, you know,
an interest in children and in their needs,
and I'd done a number of things for Unicef,
and things that were related to Unicef.
But I got a lot of facts and figures,
and I thought, "This is..."
you know, "They're just facts and figures."
You know, the fact that 40,000 children die a day.
Every four seconds...
..a child dies, and while we've been...
Since you asked me that question, three have died.
It's a frightening thought.
Anyway, I wanted to see for myself what conditions were,
and the only way I could do that was to be an official representative,
and so I signed up...
..in New York,
you know, got the UN passport, the laissez-passer, and my button.
And a contract - I get paid a dollar a year,
but it's free of tax.
And off I went to Central America.
And part of the things that I was doing
was presenting the media awards,
something that Unicef gives the members of the press and television
who have brought the plight of children to the world's attention
during the previous year.
So I would have, in various countries,
prepared speeches from Unicef with the Unicef message.
And I found after the second country, I just...
Those words were words,
and I then had to speak from what I saw.
I used to watch Audrey Hepburn,
and I always felt that she slightly overdid it
in her fundraising speeches, until I ended up
in a hospital in Salvador, visiting...
..and I realised that she underplayed it.
It became one of the toughest things I've ever faced in my life...
..to see what man can do not only to fellow man but to children,
and to see the victims of... kids that have trod on mines,
that have trod on grenades.
And you suddenly say, you know,
this life is fairly lousy, that people can do this.
So it gives you more reason,
more passion to get out and do the fundraising.
And Roger later explained how visiting impoverished warzones
changed his view of himself.
and rather...rather ashamed that I had travelled so much making films
and ignored the poverty and hardship that was going on around me.
Was it a wake-up call?
Oh, very much so,
and I was exceedingly grateful to Audrey for having steered me
in the right direction.
The one thing that I now am so violently opposed to,
you know, the use of weapons and mines,
that I didn't like that image of me going around the world,
holding the Walther PPK.
It appears rather heroic,
and it's not.
The Licence To Kill may not have been heroic,
but Roger's long association with Unicef certainly was.
And he was suitably recognised for that work by a grateful nation,
first with a CBE in 1999 and then with a knighthood four years later.
It's a recognition of Unicef
and the thousands of volunteers that are in Unicef
who never get recognised at all.
It's just happened I have a name that became popular.
There's no arguing with that,
and just how popular Roger was became even more abundantly clear
with the sad announcement in May this year
that he had died at home in Switzerland
after a short battle with cancer, aged 89.
The wave of affection expressed for this charming man was overwhelming
and came from all corners of the globe.
Perhaps not our best actor, but certainly one of our best loved,
and a true national treasure.
Roger was adored for the twinkle in his eye,
the joy his performances gave us,
and of course that irreplaceable sense of fun.
The song was right -
nobody does it better.
So, let's raise a glass, and an eyebrow,
to the great Sir Roger Moore.
Sylvia Syms explores the BBC archives for a look back at the life and career of one of Britain's best-loved actors, Sir Roger Moore, who died in 2017, just months before his 90th birthday.
Interviews with the star from over the years reveal how he went from knitwear model to one of the world's most recognisable faces, thanks to TV shows like The Saint and The Persuaders. They also show how Roger always seemed destined to play James Bond, and how the humour he brought to the franchise and his self-deprecating style guaranteed its success throughout the 1970s and 80s - and made him Britain's greatest cinematic export of the era. We also get the tale of his life post-Bond, which included working as an ambassador for Unicef, a role he judged his most important - putting it even above 007.