TAKING to the Centaur stage to rapturous applause 84-year-old Roger Moore looked neither shaken nor stirred as he reached for his seat.
Famously known for his roles as James Bond between 1973 and 1985 and Simon Templar in The Saint between 1962 and 1969, there was not a person present who didn't know and love him for his work. I would also throw in The Persuaders, where he played alongside Tony Curtis in the early 1970s.
He has survived all manner of Bond, Saint and Persuaders villains, and, in his own personal life, cancer in 1994 and a collapse on stage in 2006, to which he said: "All of these things are pretty scary, but I am here to tell the tale." This is exactly what he does in his new book "Bond and Bond," which features all of the Bond films, including his own witty accounts of playing the role himself.
According to Roger, the films were "exciting to make" and each time, although it was with a different director, it was "with the same crew. It was like going to back to my family." At the time he took the part the current incumbent Sean Connery was considered too old for it. With a wry smile, present throughout, he said: "They said Sean was getting too old for the role, but I was older than him when I took it."
He does not consider himself to be the best Bond. That honour Roger has bestowed on the new 007 Daniel Craig, especially with his performance at the London Olympics.
"Wasn't that marvellous. What a tribute."
About the new film Bond film Skyfall he said "I think he will go on to be the best Bond."
That is all the accolade he should surely need.
We were in safe hands when Roger Moore played the part, but, if he is to be believed, then we are in even safer hands now.