29 April 2007

Hello Everyone,

An earlier TBE page featured a 1967 interview with Jeremy Brett from a "fab" British teen magazine called Jackie. Well, it seems Jackie had a cousin named Diana ("The Paper for Girls Who Love Good Stories") and "she" also interviewed Jeremy. Both interviews were prompted by JB's wildly popular appearance as "D'Artagnan" in the BBC TV serial The Three Musketeers. However, the interview from Diana is much more detailed--and delicious! So, without further delay, here's:

by Lucky Penny
["Lucky" indeed! -- LLO]
from Diana - The Paper for Girls Who Love Good Stories
25 March 1967, #214
(c) D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd., London

Jeremy (D'Artagnan) Brett and I got together for a coffee and a chat at one those swish hotels in Park Lane, London. 'Course, I never got around to drinking my cuppa--how could I, with this dishy-looking 'star' staring at me from t'other side of the table?

Jeremy Brett was the posh-talking Freddy Ainsford-Hill [sic] in the film My Fair Lady and sang the hit tune 'On the Street Where You Live.' Gosh, I wouldn't complain if this star lived on my doorstep. Yes, Jeremy's a really 'gay', gallant 'n' groovie guy.

[LLO Note: LP's questions are in bold and JB's answers are in lighter print starting below]

You were born in Warwickshire. What were some of your favourite subjects at school?
History and art. I loved painting landscapes and fish--they've marvelous colouring when you get to know them.

If you weren't yourself--which person,  living or dead, would you like to be?
Definitely, Christopher Columbus. What a thrill to be a discoverer of the New World. Imagine saying to your friends, 'I've just found a continent--care to join me?'

If you weren't an actor--what would you do for a living?
I'd run a stable in the sunniest corner of England--if I could find such a place. I'd also have practically every breed of dog sharing the premises--nothing like dogs for the company, they're helpful, too.

How did you get the part of D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers?
I was on holiday in Greece, swimming and sunning myself, and I'd been there about three weeks. One afternoon, the hotel clerk said there was a telegram from London waiting for me at the Post Office. I didn't want to collect it--I thought, 'Oh oh, time's up Bill Bailey, won't you please come home.' But, when I finally opened the wire, it was offering me the part of D'Artagnan and asking for a hasty reply. Of course, the answer was 'yay.'

Would you like to have lived during the 17th and 18th century?
Yes, I much prefer the way of life during those times. I'd far rather ride a horse to Calais than go by train. Perhaps life was more dangerous then, but it was far more exciting and satisfying.

You do a lot of fencing as D'Artagnan--where did you learn?
I learnt fencing as a student at the Central School of Speech and Drama. And, since then, I've done about a fight a year in different parts--which has stopped me from getting rusty. For the series, though, we four Musketeers were coached for a week by a professional fencing master before the show began.

Do you enjoy being a hero of another day and time?
Yes, I certainly do. I'm a terribly romantic person, anyway. I get a tremendous kick riding a horse and galloping off into the night. And showing good manners, bravery, and deep, sincere feelings for someone. But it's a bit of a letdown when I leave the studios and have to go to push and shove my way into the grey, jam-packed underground station again.

What do you think about the costumes of that time, compared with the men's gear of today?
Some of their gear was far more practical than we have today. Their riding boots, for instance, came well over the knee and protected it. But now, the boots are buttoned, come below the knee, press into you--and are terribly hard to keep on when galloping at speed.

What kind of music do you enjoy?
I'm a bit lazy when it comes to music. I use it--rather than sit and listen to it. I like it to be a soothing background.

If you were on a desert island, which record and which living thing would you like for company--NO RELATIVES ALLOWED?
The record would be the long player by the Beach Boys, 'Pet Sounds.' And, for company, I'd take my mongrel dog, Binks--known as Bonkers to his friends. 

Who is your favourite--male and female--film star?
The male is the French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo. I like him as an actor and as a person. And my favourite female is Julie Christie. To me, she's a great 'star' and personality in the entertainment world. 

What are your favourite colours?
All shades of brown, except the very muddy one. And bright, bright blue.

Who are your fave singers and groups?
Fave singers--Georgie Fame, Nancy Wilson. And groups--The Beach Boys and the Four Tops. 

Are you superstitious about good and bad luck?
I'm superstitious about one or two things. I'll never light three cigarettes with one match. They say that superstition was born in the trenches during the First World War when snipers would watch for lights--and kill the third man to accept a light. I don't walk under ladders unless I'm compelled to--or on the cracks in the pavement, which means you mightn't get an important phone call [or you might break your mother's back!--LLO].

If you could treat yourself to one thing--what would it be?
I'd like to own Cavallo--the chestnut horse I rode in The Three Musketeers.

What do you most like to eat? Can you give me the recipe?
I like to eat everything--my fave food is a very well-cooked, giant-sized mixed grill, with lemon pancakes to finish me off. But, I'm sorry I can't oblige you with a recipe, my cooking begins and ends with boiled eggs. 

Is there one special quality you look for in a girl?
Yes, there is--I like a girl who looks you 'straight in the eye,' especially when you're talking to her. Girls who give sidelong glances or look around the room the whole time, are no pals of mine. I also think the shape of a mouth tells a lot about a girl's character--and I'm not deceived by make-up, either.

Could you tell me of one amusing moment?
I know a number, but this incident was a big laugh on me. You know we mentioned fencing earlier on, and that practice week before the series began. Well, it was a terrific giggle--we all knew how to fence, but we weren't much good at 'parrying' with precision. We knocked off each other's hats, nearly sniped away glued moustaches, ripped and ruined countless silk jackets and lace ruffles, and I even made a whopping great hole in Porthos' best pair of silk hose. As long as we didn't get scratched and slashed, though, nothing else mattered.

At the end of the week with no fatal accidents, we thought ourselves very clever chaps.

The following Monday, the full cast arrived at the studio for the grand start and I had my first duel. About five minutes before this momentous moment, I decided to have a quick swing and pulled at the sword fixed in my scabbard, but nothing happened. The producer screamed, 'Jeremy, where are you? En garde, ready for action, NOW!' In a frenzy, I tugged like a superman--and, SMACK, sword, scabbard and chain broke off and belted me in the eye. What a cavalier!

What sort of person would you like to most like to be?
I'd like to be the kind of person whom people enjoy having around."
(I think JB achieved that goal.--LLO)

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"The Brettish Empire"/"TBE" Copyright Lisa L. Oldham.