'THIS MORNING' INTERVIEW
Transcript of interview on THIS MORNING show, with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan on Monday 29th December 1999 at 11.20am GMT. The interview is word-for-word, only the spelling mistakes are our fault!
Richard says people often remember old TV shows through their memorable title sequences, and this is one such show. They then run the opening credits to THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN....
Richard Madeley - The man they re-built is here now...Lee Majors. Very nice to see you...
Lee Majors - ...Thank you.
R - Thanks for doing that stunt earlier with our chef (earlier in the show, the resident chef had "struggled" to open the lid of a jar and Lee had slo-mowed onto the set to the SMDM music/sound effects to open it for him!). Did the Bionic Man have Bionic lungs as well to enable him to carry this enormous capacity for speed & strength?.
L - No, we didn't...
R - ...forget that bit.
L - But they always came up with some gadget as they do in the Bond movies with this little thing in your mouth (Lee puts his hand to his mouth as if putting in some kind of aqua-lung device) and you can go for hours...
R - (in background)...so to speak...
L - ...underwater.
Judy - Although presumably all that stuff was done with trick filming, you were actually doing all the stunts weren't you?.
L - Yes, m'am (Judy laughs). I would say that was the most physical, exhausting series I've ever and I'm doing my 8th right now, and everything was running and jumping and my knees are kinda to the point where I have to have this one (indicating his left knee) replaced: I have no cartilage left and, of course, it started with a football injury - American football...
R - Right (in background...J - Yeah).
L - ...but it kept persisting, you know, and getting worse. No cartilage. But I'm waiting 'till itt comes out in pill form (R & J laugh) to replace it.
R - Just rub it in with a cream, or something?.
L - Yeah ( and laughs).
J - It was a real trail-blazer of it's kind. I mean, we can look at it now with huge affection and look back and laugh abit. But actually at te time it was completely ground-breaking, there hadn't been anything like it in terms of hat sort of vaguely science fiction storyline.
L - Well, we were very lucky. I don't know if it's really that true, or not, but most people, and as you look back you see it really started this whole genre of those kind of films. They even brought back Batman & Robin, Superman. Terminator movies started, cyborg movies, and all this and at that time there was nothing like it on the air.
R - I'm always fascinated by how America with very big celebrity-in-America, as oppossed to Britain. Beacuse in Britain big actors in this country are able to kind of walk round and do their shopping, go to the local hyper-market, whatever. What was it like for you when the show took off in America?. Did you suddenly find yourself having to go from house, to car, you know, to door security and all that?.
L - Eh, yes, it was a quite amazing period of time and, of course, it didn't help when you were married to Farrah Fawcett at the same time.
R & J laugh.
R - ....had she started in Charlie's Angels then?
L - Yes, eh, well actually I put her in Charlie's Angels and helped her career.
R - (interested) How do you mean you "put her in"?.
L - Well, she had only been in Los Angeles for 2 weeks when I met her, and we our first date, and she stayed. She was going back to Texas to University of Texas to go to school, but she stayed, eh, and we were together for 12 years, and I helped guide her career. She was in some of my earlier series. Like I did a series called Owen Marshall: Councillor at Law, she played my re-occurring girlfriend. Nobody would even know who she was, but smalller parts, and then we got her into Charlie's Angels.
R - You were kind of the Jennifer Aniston/Brad Pitt - the other way round, of course - of your day. The golden couple, the golden American couple.
L - Yeah. It's very tough, and I imagine it is for them too, because you're splashed on every magazine nd every newspaper and you can't really go anywhere. In fact I ran into them in the street, a couple of blocks away.
J - What Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?.
L - Yeah, and he had an old sock on his head and he was kind of hiding, and she had the floppy hat and I was coming across the street and then I looked up and they said "Hi, Lee", and I said "Oh, it's...". He was doing a film here I guess.
R - And did you share abit of information with them about how it is to, you know...
L - No, it was raining and it was dark, so I just said "Hi, guys, nice to see you, I'm out of here I'm off to see my lady..."
J - Yes, you said to them "Now look, you two, are you engaged, or not?" because there's a different story about.
L - Well, this was way before they came out. This was about a month ago.
R - So it was that kind of spotlight that you mentioned, that did cause, the you know, the main problem in your marriage with Farrah?
L - Well, if you want to say, I, in the last last year, the 12th year, I saw her 2 weeks in one year.
R - Well, that's like death to a marriage, isn't it?.
L - Abscence do not make the heart grow stronger.
R - No.
L - I've a very nice lady, now, that I've been with for the last five year, and everything is wonderful and her name is Faith and we're very happy. We live in Fort Luaderdale and getting along, more-or-less.
R - (to Judy) Who's the British verson do you think of him and Farrah, and Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston?. (Judy thinks....). Posh & David?.
J - Posh and David (in confirmation).
L - Oh yeah, I've heard of them.
R - Set you up for a meeting, give them some advice. Actually they do seem to be handling it.
L - Yeah, I would like to meet them, yeah, they're very charming.
J - The whole Bionic series, not just the bionic man, but also the Bionic Woman, is coming out on video....
L - I think, I think today's the day. It's being released today I think. Yes, the 29th.
J - The 29th it is, let's see another clip....
A clip is them shown of Lee chasing some bad guys who try to escape in a van, but not before some corrugated sheeting falls on his legs.....
L - Very good.
R - That was Lindsay Wagner, of course, as the Bionic Woman.
J - We haven't seen her yet....
R - Hmm, didn't you see it there (to ear piece and off-camera)?.
J - It's the next one.
R - Oh, the next one!.
L - I'm having a hip replacement after that (referring to the clip).
R - When you did the slo-mo sequences, obviously they were replayed or something?.
L - They were not in slow motion.
R - You didn't have to act in slow motion?.
L - Any time I was running, I was running as hard as I could run. And for example, I remember many times I'd be running, sa on a runway, and the focus man would get spots every 10 yards, you know, and of course when I got to the finish...missed one... (R. laughs)... Go back and do it again. Afer 3, or 4, you start looking at the focus man very seriously as (Lee gives a stern look to camera) "if you miss it this time..."
J - It's such a simple idea though to have those slowed down sequences of film because that's what comes to everybody's mind.
L - Well, let me tell you one think real quick, when we first started we tried to do it extra-fast and it looked like the Keystone Cops running around (Richard makes some silly Keystone Cops-type sounds)...yeah, like that. So it looked ridiculous so they finally came up with the slow-motion which gave it the more powerful...
R - ...a device which they borrowed, of course, for the incredible hulk, which I think owes quite abit to the SMDM, doesn't it (to Judy)?.
J - Same genre. We have a wonderful comedian over here called Eddie Izzard, and does the most fantastic spoof of you (to Lee).
R - It's "Bionic man, can you go abit faster, cause they're getting away?". It's (and Richard moves his arms in Bionic slow-mo style, as if running) "They're in the van, now Bionic man...they're putting it into first...oh god, he's gone". But you're up for that aren't you?. Although it was a very important turning point in your career, looking back, in the nicest way, as Judy says, it's amusing. It's funny, 70's.
L - It's very nice, it's kinda flattering even still today. I notice alot of your crew, ere...
R - Everybody's...
L - ..some, though, were six mill. and some were younger, so like Fall Guy, and you had a couple of old ones who remember THE BIG VALLEY, the western with Barbara Stanwyck.
R - The western, that's right.
J - Mel, on auto-cue, was say, telling me earlier that the Fall Guy was her, she was absolutely hooked on it. And that was all stunts, and stuff, wasn't it?.
L - Yeah, Speaking of that, I have tremendous courage for that fella you had on, Mr. Kid.
R - Eddy Kid, yeah, yeah (a previous guest earlier in the show, a British version of Evil Kenivel, who is recovering from a bad accident during a stunt which went wrong).
L - He was, it was a wonderful segment. I wish him all the best. That's one (?) lady he's got.
R - Yeah, isn't she fab.
J - He's great too, because he's got a really positive attitude and he's...
R - ...Huge sense of humour.
J - ...a good guy.
R - Anyway, I mentioned previously Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman, now we've got abit of the two of you in action...but you're more active than her, I think
Clip from "The Bionic Woman" SMDM 2-parter of Jaime and Steve escaping the bad guys, but jumping through a window.
R - Yeah, you're right we can see the knees going there.
L - Yeah, you're not suppossed to go to your hands, you know that...
R - ..so you're suppossed to land, then (and Richard gets off the chair and bends down without putting his hands on the floor, in a half-crouch)...
L - ...way. you're knees, it's a killer.
R - So you're suppossed to what?. Just do a half-duck?.
L - Yeah, that's it.
R - Why?. If you go too far, you're stretching the cartilage?.
L - Well, no, it's just with the Bionics you wouldn't do that, if you had Bionic knees (and he smiles). So they say you can't go all the way down with your hands on the ground. So try doing that even off of a 3-foot box.
R - You can't do it?.
L - No.
J - Is Lindsay's...do you ever see anything of Lindsay Wagner now, then?.
L - Yeah, periodically...
J - She's still got her own knees then?
L - ...because I'm in Florida and she's in L.A., but, periodically we run into each other and she's doin' fine.
J - She's got her own knees?.
L - Eh, yeah, she's probably having the same problem.
R - And you're shooting a sitcom aren't you?.
L - I'm shooting a 1 hr sitcom for TalkBack productions, called TOO MUCH SUN, for the BBC. Be on maybe, in January.
R - Right, you play an ex-cowboy?.
L - With Mark Addie, from THE FULL MONTY, and Alex Jennings, and a very fine ensemble cast.
R - And you play a guy who used to be a screen cowboy?.
L - Well, he's an over-the-hill kind of western star, living in a mansion in Beverley Hills and he's got these 2 blokes, I guess you'd call them?.
R - Yes, yes.
L - I'm picking up a few words...living in the guest house who're not paying the rent. One's trying to be a writer and one's trying to be a director, and they're not having too much of a go with it. And, of course, my character is,...it's going to be very funny, because I think he's in the closet., you know (R & J laugh)?.
L - In fact, my golfing buddies, in Florida said "Oh, you're going to be in England to do a series. Are you playing the King?." I said, nah, I think I might be playing the Queen... (big laughs from R & J again).
R - Well, we look forward to that.
J - You're got a great tan - that's living in Florida for you.
R - It's good to see you, thanks alot for being her.
L - Thank you, and don't forget the parcel... (the show is running a "give a parcel" promotion to encourage people to donate gifts for under-privileged children for Christmas)
R - Pass the parcel...
Judy then gives a run down of what follows after the commercial break.