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Honor Blackman

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Acting royalty, Honor Blackman, is coming on the show to chat about her hugely successful acting and singing career that has spanned over 60 years.

Honor Blackman knew from the age of sixteen that she wanted to be a performer, when she opted for elocution lessons over a bicycle for her birthday. She has had a varied and bountiful career on stage, on screen and in music.

Some of her credits include My Fair Lady, Cabaret, A Night to Remember, The Avengers and Goldfinger.

You have been in this business now for over 60 years does it still interest you as much as it did as a 16 year old?

Almost as much. One is bursting in ambition early on. There are lots of things I would have loved to have played but now I have 4 absolutely adorable grandchildren - the eldest being 7 next month and they are at a wonderful stage in life and I wouldn't have liked to have gone too far away.

Is it true you did your own stunts in The Avengers?

Yes, yes - I did my own stunts - but it wasn't exactly stunts. We only had one commercial break so we had to go from scene to scene changing our clothes as we ran. I went from wearing leather clothes in a fight scene to another scene with a man and trying not to pant too much. It was so exciting and I loved that show.

You went on to be a Bond Girl - Pussy Galore - was it hard for you to keep a straight face saying her name?

It didn't bother me but it bothered a lot of people in America. It was just fun and I was surprised that people took it so seriously.

What was Sean Connery like as a leading man?

Guess?! He was the sexiest man on two legs. He was fun and he was a professional and we got on like a house on fire. It was great.

Do you still see Sean?

No, I saw him about 10 years ago. He's (a) not often here, (b) nearly always on a golf course and (c) has houses all over the world. In any case it is true to say that people with that echelon of money really run together because other people really couldn't keep up with that lifestyle.

Sir Roger Moore said that the new Bond movies are too violent - what is your view?

They all compete like mad. For example the last one I saw was shot like the Bourne Identity and that's not what they are about, anyway they are not written by Ian Fleming and they are not stories of Ian Fleming's and people are trying to write like him and it doesn't work. The whole thing about the Bond series was that in the books they are real characters and in things like the Bourne Identity it goes so fast and you don't really register anybody which is a pity. Half the fun was knowing the characters and the dry wit.

Is it true that one of your few regrets in life is that you didn't do more theatre?

The maddening thing is that I love theatre the best. Two years ago I did six months of Cabaret and you can't really live a life when you are in the theatre. I really want to do a short tour but there aren't many of them about. They always want you to do six months as that is how they make their money but especially since I have the little ones now I miss so much and I can't bear it.

What has been your favourite part?

I don't know which film - Pussy Galore was great because of the company I kept. I loved the The Virgin and the Gypsy.

Any part that you would loved to have played?

A million parts. What was tragic was when Peter Brooks offered me Juliet at Stratford and I had just signed up for a film the day before, and they wouldn't release me. So you never know my whole career might have gone in a totally different direction. I made that film and then I made another and then your life goes one way. I could have been a different type of actress which would have been lovely but I don't think I can grumble.

Actresses always say it's hard to get decent roles after 40 - what's it like if you are over 80?

They are very limited and they are bound to be at my age and I am going to make a picture at the beginning of June in Hungary called Whisky Galore. It's a small part. There's a script waiting for me at home. It's about what I would like, and I am not keen to over-work and to get up at 5.30am.
What do you think of the new generation of actors?

Nowadays you have to sing and dance and everything under the sun and it's very good for them. I have an enormous admiration for dancers having worked with them on 4/5 musicals. You realise how much effort and vitality they have to put in and they keep up such a terrific standard and they are terrified of injury and I can understand that.

I believe you admire Princess Anne?

I think she is terrific and I mean the Monarchy may be obsolete as far as I am concerned but she does terrific work and she is extremely intelligent, funny and very hard working.

On a completely different note you were diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, are you more health conscious now?

I don't know about health conscious - there's very little you can do when cancer wants to attack. I can only say I am very regular about my checks. I don't think it has made a big difference in how I have coped with my general health. I think I have always been reasonably sensible. People go on about having to take off weight before a wedding in June - if you have to get into a slinky dress you just pay attention.

Do you exercise every day?

I do fifteen minutes on my bike and I do some Pilates. I find the exercise bike so boring!

What are you working on at the moment?

I am going to prepare a one woman show. I didn't know what I would do one about, but I saw all my scripts and I have done 4 so far and I think I will incorporate one or two favourite scenes in the new show because they're fun and I know everyone loves them.