THE first car was a Rover 110 from 1964 and it coincidentally cost £110. It was guaranteed for three years or 300 yards, whichever came first. It was bought down the docks from a scrapyard in what is now the home for the O2 dome. Before all that was built it was Blackwall Reach and it was in the little warren of scrapyards and second hand car part places that used to be down there. It was glistening, even though it was a bit rusty, and I saw it and fell in love.
How many times did it take to pass your test, who taught you and what in?
I HAD three tests and I was taught in a Datsun Cherry. My father, however, let me practice in his 3.0 litre Capri. He would go out for dinner and I would drive him.
Who would be your ideal fantasy passenger and where would you go?
THE Queen would me my ideal passenger and I would like to go across the North York Moors. She has done so many things, met so many people, and been to so many places that I would just be able to learn so much from her.
What is your dream car?
I have been very fortunate, because I have had a lot of cars, Bentleys, Aston Martins and things, so I think the the dream car would be something you just couldn’t have. I quite like the idea of Lady Penelope’s Rolls Royce, but I would have to have it painted in British Racing Green, with a red leather interior. I wouldn’t have Parker, but rather Lady Penelope to drive me herself. I did see they built one for the recent film, but it’s probably based on a Ford Transit or something like that.
How would you describe your driving style?
I try and suit the style to the vehicle. So, if I am in a commercial vehicle from the 1950s I will drive as if I am making local deliveries. If I am in an E-Type Jaguar, I will drive in a 1960s style. It’s important to suit the vehicle and adapt all the time. I have a completely different demeanour depending on the car, it’s like putting a different hat on or a different pair of shoes. I have got old cars that go very sedately and you have no desire or requirement to go fast in them and others need to be driven a bit harder, they are a bit sportier.
Tell me one driving anecdote from your past?
Years ago we made a film in New Orleans and we had an Oldsmobile 88, a 1970s one, which had a 7.0 litre engine in it. It was a fantastic 1970s gas guzzler, but we wanted a convertible so we got Lee Dorsey, the noted New Orleans singer, who also happened to have a garage, to cut the roof off for us. As the film progressed the car, because we didn’t have the chassis strengethened, was slowly buckling up. By the end of the film you couldn’t open the doors.
What is playing in your car at the moment and why?
I’ve got my own CD in the car at the moment. I like it because it’s got lots of different artists on it, everybody from Jessie J to Paolo Nutini. It’s quite interesting once you have made a record to play it in the car because it gives you an idea of what it sounds like everywhere. I think it’s ideal driving music because of the variation of all the different artists. When you’re driving, it’s a good time to listen to music, you don’t want it too loud, it musn’t stop you concentrating on what’s going on around you, but it can take you to a different place. It’s good to have music on when you are doing something else, such as pottering around the shed or papering the ceiling or fixing the aerial on a neighbour’s roof. In these modern hectic times music is fantastic.
What do you drive now and why?
We currently drive a Range Rover because after the snow two years ago when we had to cancel some shows I thought I had better get something that can deal with all that. Our research showed that the Range Rover had the best off-road capabilities of any vehicle in its class.