JIMMY NAIL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - PART THREE

JN - I’d like to begin by making clear that the following are my thoughts and recollections of events, some of which took place almost 40 years ago. Others will doubtless have their own recollections, their own versions. They may differ from mine. All are valid. Everyone has their own truth. I’ve written at length about my AWP experiences in my 2004 memoir and for that reason my answers here will be comparatively brief. Copyright: Jimmy Nail 2022. This article is not to be reproduced without consent.

Do you have something to add? 

If you have something to add, whether it be pictures, a magazine interview or something else, we would love to have it  on the Fansite! Please use the Contact link above in the navigation bar and Email us. 
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 1983 - 2022
Home About Behind The Scenes Filming Locations Beco Building Site Shop Cast Forum Fans Videos Links Contact
Question 17: Such is the continued popularity of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, fans go to incredible lengths, regularly gathering at iconic filming locations up and down the country and across the world to unite, celebrate, photograph, video and exchange stories about their favourite TV show. What was your favourite filming location and why?   JN - It amazes me how you guys find all those locations! I will always have a soft spot for the hut as despite all his moaning about the conditions, that was where Oz was happiest, lying in his manky cot, pontificating while scratching his bollocks. I was sad to see the place go up in flames.      
Question 18: It is well documented you enjoyed your time working with your Auf Wiedersehen, Pet ‘family’. During the 30th Anniversary celebrations ‘Back with the Boys, Again’ filmed at NewcastleGateshead Hilton Hotel in 2013, you were asked if you had one favourite Auf Wiedersehen, Pet memory. You passionately recalled having “so many great memories”. Would you kindly share just one of your fondest memories either on, or off- screen?   JN - The first read-through when I met the other leading actors was quite a morning. As befits the new boy I’d arrived a half an hour early. The 10 am start time came and went. Executives’ um’d and ah’d. Six actors were sat in a seven-chair semi-circle awaiting the last of their number who was running late. The chair to my left was empty. I wondered who on earth would dare keep this lot waiting. Eventually, enter one very flustered, out-of-breath young man who apologised, sat down next to me, held out his hand and said in a south London accent, ‘Hello, mate. I’m Tim’. We began reading and it took about two minutes for me to realise the late-comer sat next to me was someone very special, even by the standards of this company. His reading of Barry Taylor was a revelation and had everyone, myself included, in fits. Spall and I have been the best of friends ever since.    
Question 19: The two-part Special based in Thailand brought with it a poignant, emotional and sincere farewell to Brian ‘Bomber’ Busbridge (Pat Roach) when Dennis (Tim Healy) read a letter announcing the Gentle Giant would not be joining them for their final adventure, deciding instead to hang up his tools and settle in Arizona. “If I pick up a hammer and a saw again, it’ll be to build a shed at the back of the house. Every Englishman should have a shed, even if it’s in the middle of Arizona. I want you to read this letter to the lads when you’re all in the bar then I want you to drink to the past and to the future.” Brian Bomber Busbridge The comradery between cast has been well documented and shines through each and every scene. Following the passing of your good friend at time of filming ‘The Special’ in 2004, would you kindly share one of your fondest memories working with Pat on or off set?   JN - I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with Pat, both on and off the set. He was just as lovely as he seemed, maybe even more so. He was softly spoken, I can’t remember him ever raising his voice, but when he laughed, he roared like a lion. And he absolutely loved being a part of AWP.  Shooting the first series at Elstree Studios in 1982 I’d often watch Pat's mini traveller, a little white thing with bits of wood on the side panels, pull up to the kerb, then somehow, he’d get himself out, eventually standing like a superhero, towering over this tiny car. It was extraordinary, like watching a conjuring trick. He always called me Big Jim, which made me smile as he had a good two inches of height on me. It was also typical of Pat to move the spotlight away from himself and onto someone else. He had humility and wisdom in equal measure, gained from an incredible life. I was fortunate to know Pat as a colleague and friend for 20-odd years and our friendship had a profound effect on me. I think of him often, always with great fondness.  
Question 20: Fans of the show are incredibly clued up when it comes to all things Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Can you give us one little known inside fact, trivia or story fans couldn’t possibly know about your time on or off set?  JN - Here’s three: Directly after my very first meeting with the Central Television execs, casting director Barry Ford, a gentle soul, took out a Sharpie, obliterated my name from his casting list and said, ‘Well we never want to see him again!’ Roger Bamford replied. ‘Hang on - I think I may have found our leading man!’ Roger faced a lot of opposition but (thankfully for me) he held firm and I was in. In 2002 we obtained permission from the Cuban government to shoot Series 4 in its entirety in Cuba. This was unprecedented, would be a first and we were all very excited until George W Bush declared Cuba to be on the USA’s Axis of Evil list. As the UK was allied to the USA the Cuban government, at very short notice, pulled our permissions. We had to quickly decide whether to continue or cancel the whole thing. The Dominican Republic was a possible alternative but nowhere else on Earth looks like Havana. So a film crew was hastily despatched to Havana, their official purpose being to film exterior locations for a proposed holiday programme. Don’t tell Fidel.   Ian told me of an idea someone - I think it was Liam Neeson – had mentioned to him where the lads would be in the middle-east, a mile below ground, building an underground palace for Saddam Hussein. After a week in the bowels of the desert they surface to find Saddam’s been overthrown and there’s a war on. I believe that idea was just a bit too real for the execs at the BBC. Not to mention the cost of recreating a war.
Question 21: Series 2, episode 8 ‘Marjorie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ was largely filmed on location in the north-east of England. The closing scenes see Oz approve of his son, Rod (Barry Holinshead), migrating to Italy whilst reminiscing on the banks of the Tyne prior to bidding him a heartfelt farewell. Such is the power and delivery of the script, your line “Never forget your roots son, you’ll always be a Geordie no matter where you go” continues to strike a chord with AWP fans making an everyday bus stop under the shadow of the Tyne Bridge arguably the most photographed in the north east! You’re proud of your Geordie roots both on and off screen. Through your performance, how does it feel to have placed Newcastle, its people and unique dialect firmly on the map?   JN - That episode was tricky; there was Oz being the concerned father, when from the off we’d watched him wash his hands of his wife and son. I reasoned it was just another example of Oz’s contrariness; you never knew which Oz you’d be dealing with from one moment to the next. I’ve known people like that. And that parting line was also something of a veiled threat; ‘Divven’t start acting all Italian, mind!’  As for the series’ impact, it’s lovely that recognition is due to something so beloved and fondly regarded but really, we were just one part of a long line of film, television and sports stars who flew the flag for Geordieland and mangled those vowels along the way; Stan Laurel, The Animals, The Likely Lads, Get Carter, When The Boat Comes In, Paul Gascoigne, and following on from us, Ross Noble, Sarah Millican, and Ant and Dec, television’s current favourite Geordies. For trivia buffs, Henry Travers, who as Clarence the angel saves the life of James Stewart in Frank Capra’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, was born in Prudhoe, Northumberland. Prudhoe is about ten miles west of Newcastle but I say we make Henry an honorary Geordie.    
Question 22: You co-formed the Sunday for Sammy Trust with Tim Healy in memory of the late great Sammy Johnson who played tearaway Martin Cooper in series 2. Since the charity’s formation in 2000, it has raised in excess of £560K providing much needed funding for creative, talented and enthusiastic young people from the North East who aspire to a career in theatre, TV, film and music. During these incredibly difficult and challenging times, what advice would you give those wishing to follow in your footsteps in performing arts?   JN - I’m not the best person to ask as I had no real wish to be an actor yet I ended up having a comparatively successful career. That said, I would advise anyone thinking of becoming an actor to do it for the love of it. Don’t expect to make any money. If it’s a good living you’re after, then train to be a plumber or a software engineer. It’s almost impossible to make a decent living solely from acting, especially right now. For every part that comes along there are literally thousands of hopefuls chasing it. On top of talent and a large dollop of good fortune, an aspiring actor needs a heart like a lion, skin as thick as an armadillo’s and access to deep pockets.    
Question 23: We recently touched base with Bill Paterson who welcomed the opportunity to revive his character as the superbly executed villain Ally Fraser to address some much overdue unfinished business with our Magnificent 7. Almost 20 years have passed since we last saw Oz with pals Dennis and Neville on a new adventure; destination Germany. Would you ever consider reviving your character one last time if the script and time were perfect and if not, why?   JN - Never say never. In February 2020 I teamed up with Tim, Kevin and Chris to do some AWP scenes for Sunday for Sammy’s 20th Anniversary gigs. We had such a laugh I wrote the bones of a 30- minute pilot episode, kind of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ meets ‘The Kominski Method’.   Goodness knows if anything will come of it; times have changed in terms of the content broadcasters are looking for, and we’re all seniors; making tv shows is like waging a military campaign, it takes so much out of you. As you get older, you’re less inclined to want to roll that boulder up the hill.  
Question 24: Such is the timeless quality of writing, acting and production, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet stands up to repeat viewing with an ever-growing dedicated fanbase. Do you have a short personal message to fans who have followed the adventures of Dennis, Oz, Neville, Bomber, Wayne, Barry and Moxey and taken our Magnificent 7 into their hearts for almost 4 decades?  JN - It’s an honour to have been a part of something which to this day is held in such high regard by so many and has stood the test of time. On behalf of fans across the world, the team at the Official Auf Wiedersehen, Pet fansite would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions and for bringing the legendary Leonard Jeffrey ‘Oz’ Osborne to life on our screens.  JN - It’s been a pleasure. And well done to everyone for keeping the AWP flame burning.  
  The Official Auf Wiedersehen Pet fansite would sincerely like to thank Jimmy for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us and share his memories. Copyright: Jimmy Nail 2022. This article is not to be reproduced without consent. Missed part 1 & 2 of our Jimmy Nail Q&A? Read it here.    

JIMMY NAIL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - PART

THREE

JN - I’d like to begin by making clear that the following are my thoughts and recollections of events, some of which took place almost 40 years ago. Others will doubtless have their own recollections, their own versions. They may differ from mine. All are valid. Everyone has their own truth. I’ve written at length about my AWP experiences in my 2004 memoir and for that reason my answers here will be comparatively brief. Copyright: Jimmy Nail 2022. This article is not to be reproduced without consent.
MENU
Auf Wiedersehen, Pet 1983 -2022
Question 17: Such is the continued popularity of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, fans go to incredible lengths, regularly gathering at iconic filming locations up and down the country and across the world to unite, celebrate, photograph, video and exchange stories about their favourite TV show. What was your favourite filming location and why?   JN - It amazes me how you guys find all those locations! I will always have a soft spot for the hut as despite all his moaning about the conditions, that was where Oz was happiest, lying in his manky cot, pontificating while scratching his bollocks. I was sad to see the place go up in flames.
Question 18: It is well documented you enjoyed your time working with your Auf Wiedersehen, Pet ‘family’. During the 30th Anniversary celebrations ‘Back with the Boys, Again’ filmed at NewcastleGateshead Hilton Hotel in 2013, you were asked if you had one favourite Auf Wiedersehen, Pet memory. You passionately recalled having “so many great memories”. Would you kindly share just one of your fondest memories either on, or off- screen?   JN - The first read-through when I met the other leading actors was quite a morning. As befits the new boy I’d arrived a half an hour early. The 10 am start time came and went. Executives’ um’d and ah’d. Six actors were sat in a seven-chair semi-circle awaiting the last of their number who was running late. The chair to my left was empty. I wondered who on earth would dare keep this lot waiting.  Eventually, enter one very flustered, out-of-breath young man who apologised, sat down next to me, held out his hand and said in a south London accent, ‘Hello, mate. I’m Tim’. We began reading and it took about two minutes for me to realise the late-comer sat next to me was someone very special, even by the standards of this company. His reading of Barry Taylor was a revelation and had everyone, myself included, in fits. Spall and I have been the best of friends ever since.
Question 19: The two-part Special based in Thailand brought with it a poignant, emotional and sincere farewell to Brian ‘Bomber’ Busbridge (Pat Roach) when Dennis (Tim Healy) read a letter announcing the Gentle Giant would not be joining them for their final adventure, deciding instead to hang up his tools and settle in Arizona. “If I pick up a hammer and a saw again, it’ll be to build a shed at the back of the house. Every Englishman should have a shed, even if it’s in the middle of Arizona. I want you to read this letter to the lads when you’re all in the bar then I want you to drink to the past and to the future.” Brian Bomber Busbridge The comradery between cast has been well documented and shines through each and every scene. Following the passing of your good friend at time of filming ‘The Special’ in 2004, would you kindly share one of your fondest memories working with Pat on or off set?   JN - I have so many wonderful memories of time spent with Pat, both on and off the set. He was just as lovely as he seemed, maybe even more so. He was softly spoken, I can’t remember him ever raising his voice, but when he laughed, he roared like a lion. And he absolutely loved being a part of AWP.  Shooting the first series at Elstree Studios in 1982 I’d often watch Pat's mini traveller, a little white thing with bits of wood on the side panels, pull up to the kerb, then somehow, he’d get himself out, eventually standing like a superhero, towering over this tiny car. It was extraordinary, like watching a conjuring trick. He always called me Big Jim, which made me smile as he had a good two inches of height on me. It was also typical of Pat to move the spotlight away from himself and onto someone else. He had humility and wisdom in equal measure, gained from an incredible life. I was fortunate to know Pat as a colleague and friend for 20-odd years and our friendship had a profound effect on me. I think of him often, always with great fondness.
Question 20: Fans of the show are incredibly clued up when it comes to all things Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Can you give us one little known inside fact, trivia or story fans couldn’t possibly know about your time on or off set?  JN - Here’s three: Directly after my very first meeting with the Central Television execs, casting director Barry Ford, a gentle soul, took out a Sharpie, obliterated my name from his casting list and said, ‘Well we never want to see him again!’ Roger Bamford replied. ‘Hang on - I think I may have found our leading man!’ Roger faced a lot of opposition but (thankfully for me) he held firm and I was in. In 2002 we obtained permission from the Cuban government to shoot Series 4 in its entirety in Cuba. This was unprecedented, would be a first and we were all very excited until George W Bush declared Cuba to be on the USA’s Axis of Evil list. As the UK was allied to the USA the Cuban government, at very short notice, pulled our permissions. We had to quickly decide whether to continue or cancel the whole thing. The Dominican Republic was a possible alternative but nowhere else on Earth looks like Havana. So a film crew was hastily despatched to Havana, their official purpose being to film exterior locations for a proposed holiday programme. Don’t tell Fidel.   Ian told me of an idea someone - I think it was Liam Neeson – had mentioned to him where the lads would be in the middle-east, a mile below ground, building an underground palace for Saddam Hussein. After a week in the bowels of the desert they surface to find Saddam’s been overthrown and there’s a war on. I believe that idea was just a bit too real for the execs at the BBC. Not to mention the cost of recreating a war.
Next Questions
Copyright: Jimmy Nail 2022. This article is not to be reproduced without consent.
Watch the very best of Jimmy Nail playing ‘Leonard Jeffrey ‘Oz’ Osborne’ in the confines of ‘Hut B’.