Was William Hickey ever young? Like Alan Whicker and Cliff Michelmore he seems to have been privvy to the Fountain of Eternal Youth (Reversed) in that he looked as if he had emerged from his nursery with brilliantined hair and a Woodbine. There is evidence that Hickey, who plays the grizzled old man with a strange accent (natch) in this, did at one time look slightly less than 90 as he played the grizzled drunk with the strange accent in the interval bar during The Producers (proper edition) an in which sported – albeit under a knackered hat – hair with a definite colour to it. Between then and this he didn’t really crop up in anything that would be of interest to us here but his apparent total physical decay byt the time he made this gangster froth, even at the age of only about 57, got him masses of work. Clearly in his case the 200 Capstan Full Strength he must have smoked every day did him a power of good, giving him an unlikely connection in that respect to Colin Crompton. He really hit the grounding shuffling with the likes of The Name of the Rose and My Blue Heaven in which he brought his character of choice, Alarming Dead Person Upright, to perfection. He worked loads in his last couple of years, unfortunately involving himself in a load of hoary old bobbins like the execrable Mousehunt, but we don’t suppose dinners at Brinsworth House are free and in any case it kept him busy right up until his last film, completed somewhat incongruously after his death in 1997, and which was called with a sense of irony lost on most of our transatlantic cousins, Knocking on Death’s Door. As we say by the time it was seen Bill was on the other side of that door and sleeping peacefully in front of the telly but anyway, he was always worth a look.