‘The clergy’s loss was the stage’s gain!’ ‘Which one was he, again?’ Ah, to be a Grand Old Man of the stage and have your name eternally invoked with mock reverence by old duffers who keep confusing you with Olivier. Filmwise, though, we hope things are less brandy-clouded and vague. Early roles in vintage efforts like Boris Karloff’s The Ghoul and fantastically weird bus-crash portmanteau Friday the Thirteenth led to his first lead role: appropriately enough, Major Hugh ‘Bulldog’ Drummond. After that the upper lip never slackened, even through the Art Deco pomp of Things to Come, the serial number espionage of Our Man in Havana and the chilly reminiscence of Dr Zhivago, on to a dotage boring the arse off fellow travellers in The Wrong Box, avoiding atomic mutation in The Bed-Sitting Room and looking mildly apologetic in a suit in Time Bandits.
FINEST HOUR: Do you know, we’re stumped. So let’s chuck in O Lucky Man! for the pure bally hell of it. ‘Beware of Mrs Ball’s treacle tart, ‘ indeed.