Celebrities choose the TV moments that have shaped their lives. John Hannah talks about The Champions, The Sweeney, and whose anarchic and ridiculous humour tickled his fancy.
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TV, the magic box of delights.
As kids, it showed us a million different worlds,
all from our living room.
-This takes me right back.
-That's so embarrassing!
I am genuinely shocked.
Each day, I'm going to journey through the wonderful
world of telly with one of our favourite celebrities...
It is just so silly.
Oh, I love it! Is it Mr Benn?
..as they select the iconic TV moments...
..that tell us the stories of their lives.
Oh! Oh, my gosh.
Some will make you laugh...
..some will surprise...
..many will inspire...
-Look at this. Why wouldn't you want to watch this?
..and others will move us.
Seeing that there made a huge impact on me.
Got a handkerchief?
So, come watch with us, as we rewind
to the classic telly that shaped
those wide-eyed youngsters into the much-loved stars they are today.
APPLAUSE Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The TV That Made Me.
My guest today is a brilliant actor.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is the one and only Mr John Hannah.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Oh, good to see you, mate. Good to see you. Welcome to my flat.
Come and sit yourself over there.
This boyish, yet ruggedly handsome, Scot shot to international
fame in the British blockbuster Four Weddings and a Funeral.
And he's had big, gritty TV hits with Rebus, and Truth or Dare
alongside the beautiful Helen Baxendale.
The TV that made him
is linked to the longest-running children's show in the world.
And includes the comedy of a madcap genius.
And the TV show that really did make him.
John Hannah is here.
-And you've brought someone with you.
-I did. The dog, actually.
-She wants to come over. Come on, then. Coco, this is live television.
-What's the dog's name?
-Coco. You coming up? Come on, up you come.
-Up you get.
It is like having another pillow, isn't it, really?
-Yes, she is kind of toasty.
-How old is she?
-Six. What sort of breed?
It's a female.
-They are different from us, aren't they?
-It is a bichon frise.
A bichon frise. Oh, bless.
John, today is a celebration of some TV classic moments that
Stuff that we hope has probably shaped you,
-to make you the person you are today.
We are going to have a little look back now,
look back at what it was like growing up.
-There's the young John Hannah.
John Hannah was born
and raised in a small town just outside Glasgow,
where his mum, Susan, worked at the local sweet factory,
and his dad, also called John, was a toolmaker.
Little John grew up with two doting older sisters, Elizabeth and Joan.
I think it is fair to say that the young John Hannah preferred
football to book reading in his school days.
He left when he was 16 years old, and after four years working
as an apprentice electrician, he downed tools and took to the stage.
He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
in Glasgow, and was catapulted to international
fame after his fantastic performance in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Then came Nick in Truth or Dare,
Spendlove James in The James Gang,
and John Wade in Sea of Souls.
Where did John Hannah grow up?
-Where or when?
-Oh. Because I've not really grown up yet.
I'm still only about 12 in here. East Kilbride.
It was great, actually, it was a great place to grow up.
You know, there was green fields, cows at the bottom of the street.
They weren't in the field, they were just wandering around the streets. No, they were, they were in fields.
Did you take it for granted that you had a telly, or was it a big thing?
Most people had a telly,
-but I remember the first people in our street that had a colour telly.
Yeah, I remember we all went in to watch Doug McClure in
-Journey To The Centre Of The Earth.
-Oh, God, yes. In colour.
-In colour, yeah.
That was like the first colour television in the street.
And did your mum and dad put any restrictions on you watching TV?
Parents didn't give a toss in those days, did they?
You could do anything. I never did homework in my life.
I never read a book. Stayed up late.
Had a bath once a week, you know, on a Sunday, after my sisters.
Never washed behind my ear. Never brushed my teeth before going to bed.
I was Scottish, my mum worked at Schweppes, I didn't have any teeth.
But I was very popular at school with the other kids,
because we used to get these bags of broken chocolate and things, you know?
-So, yeah, the teeth had gone.
-So you used to get bags of broken sweets.
Broken, like, chocolate bars, like Cadbury stuff, you know.
Don't move, don't move. I'm just going in the kitchen. All right.
Should I just carry on talking to these people, Brian?
-There you go, John.
-Is that some broken biscuits?
-Sorry, Coco, no,
-they're not dog biscuits. There you go, some broken biscuits.
-What is it?
It's not toffee, is it? Because that'll pull my fillings out.
-I don't know.
-It is toffee.
-Better suck on it.
-Yeah, I will do.
All right, this is your first choice now.
This is your earliest TV memory.
'Here Come The Double Deckers, screened on the BBC in 1971.
'It was a co-production between British and American producers.'
'They're dancing and everything.'
'So no expense was spared on the budget, then.
'They're definitely on a bus in London, aren't they?'
'I don't think they are actually singing that song.
'I think this might be some Chinese remake,'
because their lips are all moving at a different time to the words.
'The 17-part series followed the adventures of the coolest
'TV gang of the '70s.
'Its swanky set and super-technicolour look
'gave it production values most other
'British children's TV shows could only dream of.'
What used to happen on Double Deckers?
There was usually some sort of mystery that they had to go
'and solve or something, wasn't there?'
I still don't see why it has to have a skirt!
If it didn't, all the air would rush out the sides
and then it wouldn't lift up, would it?
-Aren't you clever?
-Ooh, pardon me.
Look at that! The Peter Firth.
'Peter Firth, of course,
'went on to star in the BBC's
'smash hit spy caper Spooks.
'But he's not the only one who went on to have a brilliant career.
'Spring went on to form the reggae band Aswad.
'Billie is now a professor
'of women's performance history.
'And Doughnut became a theoretical physicist.'
You wouldn't get away with some of those nicknames now.
No, you wouldn't, would you?
No, definitely not.
That must've been very early.
That must have been primary school, definitely,
because it's obviously a childish thing.
I think that was one of those shows
that you watched in the summer holidays.
You know, where they suddenly had
things on like Don't Just Sit There, Let's Go And Do Something More
Interesting and, like, The Flashing Blade and Belle and Sebastian
and stuff like that, you know?
Those, like, European programmes with dubbed dialogue.
But do you think something like this...?
Did you desperately watch this and want to become an actor?
No, I probably wanted to kind of, like,
incorporate some of those things into having our own little den.
You know, the way the doors open and stuff.
So who would you have watched this with?
Well, it's kind of embarrassing.
You wouldn't want anyone to see you watching this, would you?
"Don't tell anybody, right?" No, no, don't tell anybody.
We're going to move on. We're going to look at must-see TV now, John.
When Sharron Macready, Craig Stirling
and Richard Barrett crashed in the snows of Tibet
and encountered the lost people,
they could not even have imagined the powers that they would be given.
So they had special powers?
They had special powers, yeah.
They were, like, telepathic and they knew stuff.
'The Champions was one of the first accidental superhero series.
'It followed the adventures of three UN agents who foil fiendish
'with their super-human abilities,
'though the out-of-this-world
'looks of Alexandra Bastedo were all her own.'
So would you say Alexandra was your first TV crush?
Oh, totally, yeah. Totally, yeah.
She just seemed so exotic. Like, the make-up and everything
and that hair. She had hair and lips and stuff. It was just...
-She looked like a woman.
-Yeah, she looked like a woman.
You know, I mean, it was the '70s.
We didn't have vegetables in Scotland at that point.
There weren't any women!
You're going to tell us sooner or later, so why not now?
'The Champions was produced by Monty Berman,
'the man behind The Saint, Department S and Jason King,
'shows where the baddies always wore the latest, most stylish suits,
'and the action took place all over the world, even though it was
'mostly filmed in the back lots
'and car parks of Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.
'I think he looks like he's on the toilet, doesn't he?'
It was in the garage. Quickly!
'Yeah, that's her powers there. She obviously knows what's going on.'
Jag. Nice car.
Craig! Craig, where are you?
Oh, look at that, in the boot. There you go. Good night.
-I think he dived over that car.
-Yes. So you would watch this with your family?
-I don't know.
Probably not. It's kind of silly, isn't it?
My dad was probably asleep, or fixing the car.
My sisters would've been doing the dishes, you know,
after dinner. It would've been an early evening thing, wouldn't it?
I never had to do the dishes, being a boy, I had two sisters.
Terrible, isn't it?
-Still don't do the dishes, I put them in a machine.
We'll have a look at what you did all watch together, John.
-And this is...
-Growing up, good stuff.
-Yes, here we go.
-Granada three litre.
-Sing the tune?
-Go on, mate.
THEY HUM THEME TUNE
THE SWEENEY THEME TUNE
'The Sweeney was British TV's antidote to the Hollywood-style
'glamorous shows like The Saint and The Champions.
'It was shot with hand-held film cameras in real locations.
'And even though the stars Dennis Waterman and John Thaw
'had a rugged charm, there was nothing pretty about The Sweeney.'
What was it about The Sweeney that you love so much?
I remember, one of the things I remember about The Sweeney
was it didn't always have a happy ending.
It didn't always end with the cops getting the bad guy.
Regan, I mean, he was a flawed character, wasn't he?
-You know, he had a drinking habit, things like that.
Yes, I suppose it was the start of... We're still
dealing with all those flawed characters with drinking habits
and problems with authority. I mean, that's every cop show
-that's ever been on the TV since then, hasn't it?
-Who are you?
-We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner.
You've kept us waiting, so unless you want a kicking,
you tell us where those photographs are.
-"We're the Sweeney, son."
-They were asleep there, weren't they?
-They should've known that was coming!
-Yeah, come on.
'It may have looked rough and ready, but at £85,000 per episode,
'The Sweeney was considered to be a very expensive drama.
'And the risk paid off for ITV. As many as 19 million of us
'tuned in to watch every week for guaranteed action sequences
'and well-choreographed fights like this.
'And we all repeated Waterman and Thaw's classic one-liners
'every Tuesday morning. "You're nicked."'
I've got on this card here some classic lines from The Sweeney...
-..that we're going to re-enact.
-All right, mate.
-You better get your glasses...
-Better get my glasses on, yeah.
I'll read the first one, you read the second one and we're going
to let the audience judge as to who is the best DCI Regan, OK?
So, I'll go first.
"All right, Tinkerbell, you're nicked."
"We're the Sweeney, son, and we haven't had any dinner."
"Get your trousers on, you're nicked."
That's the same as the other one, wasn't it?
Yeah. This one rolls off the tongue nice and easy.
"Now, listen, little lord spy master, you may be Special Branch,
-"but that doesn't make you God almighty."
"What are you doing standing around, looking like...?"
Do you mind? LAUGHTER
I'm trying to be evil.
-It's comedy, Brian, you've either got it or you haven't.
-Mate, you've got loads of it.
-Thank you, love.
-It's oozing out of every orifice.
"What are you doing standing around, looking like a motorway breakfast?"
OK, ladies and gentlemen, so by applause,
what do we think of...DCI Conley?
Thank you, that's very good.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-I have played a cop before, actually.
-Bit of an advantage there.
-Give it me one more time.
-See? He means it.
John Thaw's Detective Inspector Regan of the Flying Squad
set the template for many flawed cops
who followed him into our living rooms.
It's easy to forget John Nettles' Detective Bergerac
went in into the first series recovering from a nasty divorce
and a heavy drinking problem.
And Dominic West's multilayered creation McNulty had the same
problems as he negotiated the mean streets of Baltimore in The Wire.
At the end of Ashes to Ashes, it turned out Philip Glenister's
DCI Gene Hunt was literally a cop with a tortured soul,
caught between Heaven and Hell.
That might explain the language.
Luther's major flaw is that he is emotionally damaged
by his tragic life.
Idris Elba gives this tough cop a soft heart
that makes the best of us swoon...
..but one of the most complicated cops in recent times
is Sarah Lancashire's Catherine Cawood,
whose human frailty is barely hidden
in the brilliant Happy Valley.
-Can I tell the ladies and gentleman...
-..that we once done a film?
I wondered what you were going to say there. We did a few things!
And there's a scene where John had to threaten me with a gun
and I was by the camera and John had to lift the gun up
and threaten me with the gun and I would then deliver my lines.
John lifted the gun up and I
-was so terrified that I moved out of the way.
I moved out the way.
And he said, "Why are you moving out the way?"
I went, "Because you looked as if you were going to fire it at me!"
And then John went, "I'm acting."
-But that is how good an actor John Hannah is.
It's a film called Circus and that is how good this man is that
I honestly believed
-that you were going to fire that gun...
-I'm going to kill you?
-Yeah, that's how good you are, John.
-Thanks, Brian. Thanks, yeah.
How did it all start for you?
-Yeah, I mean, when did the first love of it, or...
you know, when did that spark ignite?
It's a funny thing, you know,
I hear a lot of actors say they fell into it and I fell into it.
I was working as an electrician, serving a four-year apprenticeship,
and I wanted to give up and do something else
and I'd left school at 16 so if I wanted to go back to
further education I would've had to go to night school
and if I wanted to go to art school
I'd have had to have been able to draw
and music school, I'd have had to have been able to play
a musical instrument and the only thing that you didn't need
any qualifications for was drama school, you just had to go
and audition and through ignorance, really, I thought, I'll do that
and I did, I went, I auditioned and I got in, bizarrely.
The first year...was weird, but I kind of liked it, you know.
You weren't on a building site, up at eight in the morning,
seven in the morning, it wasn't hard work and there was women around.
It was great!
However, I think there was... I think there was a kind of epiphany
in the second year, we worked with this great director
and that was a moment where I felt like,
oh, I can do this.
I don't have to be like Laurence Olivier, or,
you know Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, I can be like me,
I can be truthful in that situation.
Er, I felt like I had something to offer at that point
and then that was it.
-This next show is not one of your choices.
But it will give you a clue as to what is.
-That's a bit cryptic, but have a little look.
-Right. Blue Peter.
First we're going into space.
Have a look at my bracelet and see if you recognise it.
-Is that Blake's 7?
-Right, OK. Cool.
BLAKE'S 7 THEME TUNE
'Blake's 7 was the brainchild of Terry Nation,
'the man who created the Daleks for Doctor Who.
'It was screened on Mondays on BBC One from 1978.
'Experts say it's one of the most influential sci-fi series ever.
'Although now it may seem a bit dated.'
'That theme tune's terrible, isn't it?'
'And that's, you know Star Trek's got the same sign,
it's just vertical, isn't it?
Ah, yeah, so that's where they got it from.
-It's not just advanced, it's...
There are a lot of controls that I haven't dared touch yet.
'Blake 7's studio set may not have been as swanky
'as the Enterprise, but in the UK,
'the show was more popular than Star Trek.
'Ten million of us were watching every week.'
LAUGHTER 'Stood in front of a hairdryer!
'Oh, that's lovely, isn't it? Oh, that is...'
'Touch the button, touch the button, look, we're going to crash into that big planet!'
Oh, God, the things you have to do as an actor.
-I hope they got well paid.
I mean, there was a whole raft of really bad British science fiction.
I mean, the old Doctor Who with the Daleks,
I never kind of got into that.
But if you never got into them as a teenager, what was you into?
Apart from when it rained, obviously, then I stayed in.
It rained a lot more than I remember.
Is it true to say John Hannah was a huge football fan?
Yeah, although I used to play football.
I played school Saturday mornings,
I played a team called Eastercraigs, a Glasgow team, Saturday afternoon,
I played with a local amateur team on a Sunday afternoon,
trained Tuesdays and Thursdays,
so I was out a lot, you know?
And the other thing, you'd make your own way there...
sometimes, especially with the Glasgow team, it was quite,
quite large distances to get to on your own when you're 12
and things, but you just got on the bus and went.
-Well, you did then, didn't you?
-Yes, you did. Nowadays,
even taking the kids to training, like my daughter swims
and my son plays rugby,
not only are you expected to drive them down,
you're expected to sit and watch them train for two hours.
Have you watched somebody train in a swimming pool for two hours?
I mean, I'm really proud of her and everything, but two hours
watching somebody go up and down, sometimes they use one arm.
-But John, this is your daughter.
-I know, but...
I'm from the '70s.
British TV is responsible for producing some of the best
sci-fi series in this or in any other world.
Our first ever sci-fi series for adults
was The Quatermass Experiment.
Screened in 1953,
five million people were completely hooked.
In 1963, Doctor Who was originally planned
as a time-hopping educational series.
But that idea was dropped
and it's now the most successful sci-fi series of all time.
The late great Douglas Adams wrote three episodes
of Doctor Who in the late '70s and went on to create the brilliant
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for TV in 1981.
The creator of Blake's 7, Terry Nation, also cut his teeth
on Doctor Who before giving us the post-apocalyptic sci-fi, Survivors.
That series was re-made in 2008 and featured Neil Dudgeon,
a very old friend of the one and only Mr John Hannah.
We met down at Bristol. We were doing a DH Lawrence play down there.
It was very funny, because there was two phone boxes out the back,
stage door, and it was...
it was in the old days where you needed money for the phone!
-Nobody had it, yes, 2ps and 10ps, yes,
and both of us had girlfriends at the time.
And we used to go out after the play,
phone your girlfriend.
Anyway, at the end of that play, we both got dumped by the girls,
I don't know what that was about!
So I ended up sharing a flat with Neil.
Today Neil plays tough DCI John Barnaby in Midsomer Murders.
While the two of them were living together
they shared John's next TV choice.
Neil and I obviously sharing a flat and then this particular Christmas,
there was another mate of ours, Simon, who came,
he was sleeping on the couch. And...
They were all buddies from college, Simon and Dudge.
I came in the living room, made some tea and toast and stuff.
Er, for breakfast.
Two o'clock in the afternoon or something. Christmas, it was Christmas.
Dudge came in, got his tea and Simon was still sitting in bed,
so Dudge got in the bed and they were sitting, we were watching
It's A Wonderful Life.
We were watching it, got to the bit where he finds Zuzu's petals,
cos...his life had gone, then he's back
and he's got Zuzu's petals in his pocket.
And...I could feel the tears coming,
I was sitting there watching the telly, they were sitting in bed like this, Simon, Dudge,
me over there and I could feel, oh, my God,
I'm going start crying, and I looked over
and the two of them were sitting here, tears streaming down their face!
It was really sweet, actually, yeah.
And what age?
Oh, I was in my 30s!
Let's have a little look.
Oh, Wonderful Life, I'll start crying.
Quiet, quiet! Now get this, it's from London.
-"Mr Gower cabled you need cash. Stop.
"My office instructed to advance you up to 25,000. Stop.
"He-ha and Merry Christmas, Sam Wainwright."
'It's A Wonderful Life isn't just a great tear-jerker,
'it's up there with the greatest films of all time.'
-Ah, it's a great film.
-It's a classic.
To my big brother, George...
'It cost nearly 4 million to make,
'but when it was released in 1946, the movie bombed,
'putting director Frank Capra's film company into bankruptcy.
'There were no parties like the one depicted in the gloriously
'uplifting final scene.
'But when copyright lapsed on the film in 1974,
'TV companies discovered they could play it for free.
'Then it became appreciated as the ultimate Christmas
'feel-good masterpiece it really is.'
Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.
-Well, your next choice is comedy hero.
And you've gone with, well, as far as I'm concerned, a genius.
And utter madness. Have a little look.
'Spike Milligan shot to fame in 1951
'when he wrote a radio show
'and performed it with Harry Secombe, Michael Bentine and Peter Sellers.
'And The Goon Show was born, changing British comedy forever.'
-It is Spike Milligan in that costume, isn't it?
-Yeah, in the brown Hilda costume, yes.
'He looks good as a woman!'
-You need to get out more!
HE BLOWS RASPBERRIES
'Spike died in 2002 at the age of 83.
'And his gravestone reads, "I told you I was ill."
'But if it could make a sound,
'I'm pretty sure it will be something like...'
HE BLOWS RASPBERRIES
It's just so silly!
LAUGHTER It's ridiculous.
Is that what you loved about him, just that simplicity of it?
No, in truth, when I first started watching, er,
Q5 or something like that, right,
it was my dad, that was my dad's programme and I have to
hold my hands up and say I was a bit bemused by what was really going on.
-I didn't get it.
I probably didn't get it till about Q9, do you know what I mean?
But there was something that I did want to get.
I could see that my dad loved it and I could see that...
he thought it was funny and I'm looking at it, going...what?
'And I stuck with it because I kind of wanted to.
'He's just brilliant.'
-Did your dad have a good sense of humour?
-Yeah, he did.
One of the things that makes me really sad though is...
I never really... I don't suppose any of us do,
get to know your dad the way other people know your dad.
My dad used to have a lot...
He was a toolmaker and he had a lot of apprentices and stuff
and you knew a lot of the guys that were his apprentices
and they would tell me how brilliant my dad was and how funny he is
and what a great guy he was and I'd be like,
"Really? We're talking about the same person?" You know? And...
Do you think every child...?
I do, I think... And I notice with my own kids,
I spend a lot of time looking up and looking down at, you know,
what age was my dad when I was that age?
What age was I when they were...? That kind of stuff.
And I do think that, I feel like...
I feel like my kids don't realise how cool I am!
Do you know what I mean?
They're just like, I'm an embarrassment, "Dad, don't sing."
My daughter, every time I say,
"Give us a kiss", she goes like that.
I get to kiss the top of her head.
It's a great personal tragedy
-that they will never know how cool I really am.
The genius of Spike Milligan lit up British broadcasting
for over 50 years.
After The Goon Show,
Spike wrote A Show Called Fred.
It was a star vehicle for Peter Sellers
and it set him off on the road to Hollywood.
Spike proved he had another string to his bow
when he presented Muses with Milligan,
a show about poetry and jazz.
1969 saw the first in his legendary Q comedy series,
screened on BBC Two.
It was the Monty way before the Python.
And one of Spike's last and most poignant TV appearances was in 2000.
In the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast
he played headmaster De'ath.
And I know he would've chuckled at that.
The next choice is an interesting one,
this is an actor that had a big influence on you. Sir Alec Guinness.
Why don't we sit back, relax,
-and enjoy a little bit of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?
Do you know where your wife is?
I mean, at this moment?
'Look at that. Patrick Stewart.'
'Is that Patrick Stewart?
'I wonder if that's his own beard or if they stuck it on.'
'I don't know. 'It looks stuck on.'
He would've been at the RSC a lot,
so he might have had a Shakespearean kind of beard.
'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is quite rightly regarded
'as one of the best TV dramas ever made.'
Perhaps we could get in touch with her secretly?
If you stay with us, we might be able to arrange something.
In exchange for someone your people want returned.
What do you think of Alec Guinness in this? You know?
I thought he was brilliant. I mean, it was an amazingly...
It's just, it's Alec Guinness.
He's amazing. I mean, he's a genius at what he does
or how he does it or how he achieves it.
When you've got a very complex plot like that, you know,
shooting it is very... You have to be very, very careful
with how you tell that story, you know?
I don't know who directed these, actually,
if it was one director who did all of them,
but it was brilliantly directed.
'It was actually directed by John Irvin,
'whose next job was directing the big Hollywood movie The Dogs Of War.
'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy screened on the BBC in 1979.
'It won a Bafta for its brilliantly atmospheric camerawork.
'Alec Guinness won the Best Actor award for his superb
'central performance as George Smiley.'
So, John Hannah, who had a big influence on your acting?
Yeah, I had a mate at work who suggested that I go to drama school
when I was looking for something to do.
He was like, "You should go to drama school, you'd be a good actor."
I was like, "How do you do that?" He told me, I auditioned and got in.
I suppose, like, the films I used to watch...
I mean, Sunday when it rained in Scotland and I always watched films
and always liked the old films and stuff, but I knew I wasn't
like Alec Guinness or Laurence Olivier
or any of... Or any of the, kind of, famous actors.
I'd never been to the theatre.
So I didn't really know anybody... I didn't know anything about theatre.
I did have that epiphany in second year where I realised that what
I could do was what was truthful within me.
If I had to play somebody that was waiting for a bus,
I could play that better than Laurence Olivier could
because he probably never had to wait on a bus.
So there was an honesty and a truth which I've tried to keep.
That's why I jokingly say me because it's the only reference,
it's the only points that you can have where you know
you can be truthful.
When you start pretending then you're pretending.
So I got accepted for drama school bizarrely
and I thought, "Well, I'd better go and see a play,
-"see what it's all about, right?"
-So I took this...
-After being accepted?!
So I took this girl... I can't remember her name.
But I took this girl to see this play at the
Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.
The Citizens Theatre is very European, very, kind of,
not absurd but strange.
Me and this girl, I'm trying to impress this girl
and look at the play...
The play was called Marriage a la Mode
and I didn't find out until...
I had no idea what was going on in this play!
I had no idea, not a Scooby!
It turned out that what was going on was that there was a play within
the play and I didn't realise you could do that!
I didn't have a clue that you could
actually have a play within the play.
It was very, very bizarre.
But I'd tied my colours to the mast,
so I was going to drama school anyway!
I thought, "What am I letting myself in for?"
And at the end of the day, did you get off with the girl?
She was a nice girl.
We just went home and stuff. I didn't see her again.
I think she was like, "I'm not going there again.
"That's not a date, I wanted some chips!"
-John, I want to talk about your big break now.
-Still waiting for it, Brian, still waiting.
-Gritty Glasgow drama.
-'Have a look at this. There it is.'
'Stratford Johns, a bit like Alec Guinness as well. He was amazing.'
The name's Brond, James Brond.
I don't know why I did that.
-Because it's funny.
-My mum and dad came to this location, actually.
-First time I was ever filming, yeah.
-So what was the series about?
It was one of those, like, weird psychological dramas.
It was kind of about Scottish independent movement -
independence movement -
but it was a more militaristic
'You know, back in the '70s there had been statues blown up.
'The Tartan Army were taking, sort of,
'a republican view of things.'
Stratford Johns plays a kind of agent
who's brought in to infiltrate them.
I'm a student who's about to have peritonitis
and then everything is weird after that.
In as much as I don't know what's real and what's not real.
There's a scene on Gibson Street bridge in this sequence
-where I'm running...
-That's in Glasgow?
There's a sequence on the bridge where I stop
and there's a little kid looking over the bridge,
really cool little sequence, actually.
Stratford Johns comes up and just throws the kid over the bridge
and as he walks past, he winks at me.
That's, like, really spooky.
I watch him and I follow him and I lose him,
and then go back to the bridge
and the kid who was thrown over, who had landed on this big rock,
isn't there any more.
Then I've got a burst appendix so I'm not sure quite where it all...
-What I imagine.
-What's real, yeah.
Then James Cosmo, sort of, ends up being...
Inveigles his way into my life in a summer job...
It's really weird.
It's a mystery and we have to find out what goes on.
I saw a boy being murdered.
-I don't believe you.
'Brond was a high risk.
'It cost £2.5 million
'and everything hinged on the unknown actor playing the lead role.
'So no pressure for John Hannah, then.'
-John, how important was this to your career?
-Oh, it was huge.
I mean, I was out of drama school a couple of months.
It was huge for a short period of time, funnily enough.
Out of drama school a couple of months, worked with Michael,
it was a ten week shoot, six days a week
and I was in just about everything.
So it was like a course in film acting.
Michael is a terrific director.
Richard Greatrex was the DP - the director of photography -
and similarly he was great to work with, and great for me
to suddenly have this kind of education.
So it was good for me for a while and then, as I say,
it died until the '90s,
-'93 I think with...
-Four Weddings, yeah.
So let's talk about Four Weddings,
-the time schedule...
-..and how difficult that was to shoot.
I mean, I think with all things there's always a limit.
You know, there's never enough money, there's never enough time.
Rehearsals are important to get to know each other
but there was a scene that...
The scene before Simon dies that we had rehearsed for half a day
before we started filming and that was all great
and everybody knew what they were going to do
and how it was going to be blocked and all of that.
Then on the day it got to quarter to seven
and the sparks are pulling the plug at seven o'clock
and Mike was like, "Right, OK,
'"we'll do it in the doorway."'
-SPEAKER IN BACKGROUND:
-And also I want to thank
all those wonderful ladies in the parish
who did the flowers in the church...
'So he improvised how he wanted to do it.
'We had 15 minutes to do it,
'two cameras, possibly three cameras, just shot it really quick,
'really simple. We put it somewhere where it was already lit.
'So we ended up having to do a really, really important scene
'in 15 minutes, probably 20 minutes or something.'
-But it worked.
-Yeah, it was a beautiful scene.
-It added to it, added to the suspense.
-It did, it did in a way.
I think sometimes there's a certain energy, a certain frisson
that comes from having to think on your feet.
-But you'll always come up against that, whether it's The Mummy...
Whatever it is, yeah.
"We've got ten minutes, we need to shoot this somehow."
They didn't have that sort of...
They didn't shoot The Mummy in ten minutes.
There was stuff... It's funny, at the end of the day
you always want more, you always want more time.
So in the last ten minutes there's always things that they want to get
because maybe this is the last day on that location or you've
got 400 guys in the background that
you're not getting back tomorrow, or something.
So, yeah, I mean, it's big and it's a different planet
in terms of production,
but it still comes down to getting in front of the camera
-and doing your stuff.
That's like this, or like a student film
-or Blake's 7.
Does it irritate you that people keep bringing up Four Weddings?
-No, no. I like Four Weddings, you know?
-It was a great movie.
Yeah, and I always say it's not like I robbed a bank.
It's a bit of television or a film or something. It's good, yeah.
Somebody said to me at school the other day,
"Four Weddings and a Funeral was on and we watched the repeat.
"Oh, you've aged, haven't you?"
And you're like, "Yeah, well, so have you.
"It's just that we don't have you on television to go, wow,
-"you were kind of good looking back in the day."
-Could you see yourself directing or producing?
-No, I don't think so.
-No, I think you really have to be...
-It's a special art, is it?
-It is but it's also something you have to be driven to want.
There's so much you have to put up with, that you have to want it
so much in order to put up with all of that.
And actually I like the acting bit, I like doing that bit.
-Also, it's a lot less hassle.
-It's a lot less hassle,
-you get time off. You're not in every scene.
The director's got to be there for everything.
Well, what are you watching now?
Well, funnily enough, I was working down in Somerset recently
doing a wee film down there and I spent a lot of time on the train.
I watched this series called Mr Robot, which was great, really good.
It's about hacking and everything and I thought my son would like it but it got a bit rude.
-And what does Coco like watching?
-She likes watching anything.
She just likes getting rubbed, really. But she'll sit there and...
We've got a cat as well and the cat likes the football.
I think it's because...
Do you remember that first electronic game
-where you had the two things...?
-And the ball moved.
So the cat comes in and sits on the thing that the telly's on,
I mean, right in front of the telly like that.
It loves a corner.
It'll take a corner and the ball goes from there
and the cat's like, that, "Where did it go?"
It looks to the side of the telly.
"Oh, it's there, right, OK."
-Watches the football!
But I noticed you've got a very big telly because that was...
-That's another thing the kids won't appreciate...
-What, small tellies?
Do you know the other thing is, like,
because we've got the set-top box and all that
so you can pause live TV and stuff.
So you go away on holiday or something and you watch whatever
and they go, "Oh, can we pause it?"
And you're like, "No, no, we can't, no."
"Ah, I don't what to do!"
I still take analogue photography, film,
and I've got digital as well,
but when I've got the film camera out and take a picture they're like,
-"Oh, can I see it?"
So, yeah, they don't get it.
Have you enjoyed your time on the show today?
-Yeah, it's been great.
-I love sitting talking.
Well, thank God for that, otherwise you would have been a very boring guest.
Yeah, I love that about going to work
because you've got somebody to talk to because the kids
don't listen to you, my wife's usually too busy
with the washing machine. She loves her washing machine, mate.
I don't know what it is!
She loves her washing machine and now, she never ironed
anything for me, irons stuff for the kids,
makes proper dinner for the kids -
she's never made a shepherd's pie for me, you know!
But, no, the kids will get shepherd's pie and proper food.
-You come in at lunchtime... Sorry, Brian!
But you come in at lunchtime sometimes and she's got
something on for the kids and I'm like, "What have you got for me?"
"Some soup or something."
What I love is the only reason you came on the show is
that you'd have someone who would listen to you.
It's the only reason I go to work!
Sitting in make-up having a chat and a rant about everything I hate.
"See that Doctor Who! Shut it!"
Oh, John, it's been a real pleasure to have you on the show
-and Coco of course.
We've got to thank Coco.
She's been such a good little thing sitting here all this time.
We give you a choice now to go out with a theme tune.
What's it going to be?
Ah, well, I know what it's going to be
and it is one of the programmes that I loved as a kid.
Well, it's the Rockford Files but what I loved about
the Rockford Files, in that theme tune there's an answering machine.
Up to that point, the most advanced technological
piece of phone equipment I'd seen was one of the neighbours had
an address book that you moved a wee slider down
and it opened at a particular letter.
I thought that was amazing!
-They had it on the wee table next to the phone in the hall.
So the idea that James Rockford had a machine that
'answered his phone and took messages was...'
-'Mr Rockford, this is the
'Thomas Crown School Of Dance And Contemporary Etiquette.
'We aren't going to call again. Now, you want these free lessons?'
John, we've got an answering machine here
to pay homage to the Rockford Files.
So we're going to go out, press play.
ANSWERING MACHINE: 'Ladies and gentlemen,
'this was the TV That Made John Hannah.
'Please leave a message after the credits. Goodbye.'
MUSIC: The Rockford Files Theme by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter
Hollywood star John Hannah joins Brian on the sofa to take a look back at the classic television that made him the person he is today. John talks candidly about his childhood and how he went from being an apprentice electrician to one of the biggest stars from these shores.
First up, we head back to the 60s to revisit John's 'must-see TV' - The Champions. Next we take a look at the ultimate TV coppers-with-attitude in The Sweeney, a true British classic. We get to see some impressive sofa role-play between Brian and John and find out whose anarchic and ridiculous humour tickled John's fancy. Brian rounds things up by showing John a clip of his big break in gritty drama Brond and talks to him about his move to the big screen when he landed roles in hit films including Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Mummy.