Interview: Roger Moore

ELENA PALA gets a bit shaken and a little stirred by 007 legend SIR ROGER MOORE. They talk James Bond, Audrey Hepburn and how to mix the perfect martini.

Alcohol audrey hepburn Cambridge Cambridge Union charity Film Gin James Bond Martini Roger Moore unicef

“I do like dry martinis a lot!” Roger Moore tells me, and already I know that this interview is going to be fun. “The gin has to be Tanqueray, and they should be iced – not stirred, not shaken. You pour the vermouth in, then throw away a little, then pour the gin and just put it in the fridge. Oh and a lemon twist around the rim of the glass. I highly recommend it for alcoholics!”

But as all self-respecting Bond fans will tell you, Sir Roger never actually uttered the immortal phrase himself in his long career as MI6 sexiest and deadliest asset: “Obviously I couldn’t imitate what Sean did, and that’s why I have never ordered a Martini! I ordered whiskeys a couple of times, but never a Martini.”

At this point, a member of the Union committee smart bunch quietly sneaks out and reappears with two luscious dry martinis. I watch Sir Roger pose for a photo, raising his glass and his signature eyebrow. I’m in heaven.

Shaken, not stirred

Speaking of sexy eyebrows, does Sir Roger agree that Simon Templar, Brett Sinclair and James Bond have a lot in common? “Yes, well, they all look like me.”

I tell him I was thinking more along the lines of them being all debonair scoundrels who drive Aston Martins with personalised plate numbers, solve international mysteries and sleep with a lot of women in the process. He laughs.

“Yes. You’ve answered the question! They’re all very lightweight, on-the-surface characters, that don’t really exist except as a joke, which is why I always played them tongue-in-cheek. I enjoyed doing all of them.

“I enjoyed all work really, I just liked being in the film industry. I loved the atmosphere of filming, there’s a camaraderie, a companionship amongst the film crew, and especially when you’re doing a series of films, or for television, you work with the same people all the time, so you all know one another, you can speak in shorthand to one another.”

More cheeky grin than suave smile…

But, as it’s often the case for international jet-set playboys, there came a point in Sir Roger’s career where a life of drink, women and gambling just wasn’t enough: “Twenty years ago, Audrey Hepburn called asking if I would co-host the Danny Kaye International Children’s Awards in Amsterdam. She wanted me to be there the day before the show, to take part in the UNICEF press conference.

“I protested I didn’t know enough about UNICEF to handle a press conference, but she said: ‘Don’t worry, all they want to do is talk about the movies, anyway!’ She was right – they did. But she wouldn’t let them. She would bring the discussion back to the children, their rights, their needs, and she was absolutely fascinating, so intelligent, so passionate, that I got hooked. I had to learn more. I had to become part of UNICEF as an official representative, so I signed a contract, for a dollar a year, tax-free, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Is there anything more attractive than a handsome spy with a soft spot for children?

Sadly, before I can fall more deeply in love, my time is up. And as I walk out I reach for my phone to tell my mum and my four aunts that no, unfortunately I didn’t have time to ask for his autograph. I’m definitely a bit shaken (but not stirred).

Photographs by Tamsin Lim