Over the last month or so, I’ve been enjoying reruns of both The Persuaders and The Saint on TV, and admiring the casual, misleadingly easy way Roger Moore made the characters he played in both so entertaining – a sense of self-deprecation, an effortless style and a definite charm that you knew came from the man, not the character. Hearing of his death, aged 89, has saddened me more than we might have expected.
Moore was the marmite Bond, and I’ll admit to not being a fan of his films in the series; he seemed too cartoonish and the films too trashy. But others have quite the opposite viewpoint, and their opinions are just as valid as mine – everyone has their favourite Bond, and it’s all a matter of taste. In any case, there was always more to Moore than just Bond. His anti-Bond character of fflokes in the much-underrated, but increasingly loved North Sea Hijack showed his versatility and comic ability, and his pre-Bond The Man Who Haunted Himself remains one of the most intriguing British horror films of the 1970s, underpinned by a genuinely magnificent performance by Moore.
He made other interesting films too – Gold, Shout at the Devil, the fantastic all-star action movie The Wild Geese, Escape to Athena and That Lucky Touch among them. And he was a snappy dresser too, designing his own clothing for The Persuaders.
But more than that, Roger Moore seemed like a thoroughly decent sort of chap. As with Christopher Lee, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see his like again, and that’s something to regret.