Gorillaz, Diane Birch, Bobby McFerrin

The show started with Gorillaz playing a tune called StyloDamon Albarn sang lead from the piano facing away from the audience. The band was fronted by two black guys that I never recognized, until their vocals came in, it was none other than Bobby Womackwho is still in good voice. Mos Def rapped over a good funk beat. On their second song, On Melancholy HillDamon Albarn sang from upfront of his all star band, featuring Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash on Guitar and Bass. Jools interviewed Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, the animator for the Gorillaz. Strangely the animation, that was apparently appearing on screens above the band, was not being shown on television, until after the interview. It then featured heavily, maybe the director needed a reminder. Their third song was a duet between Albarn and Little Dragon called To Binge and featured numerous Japanese beer bottles in the graphics.

The Drive by Truckers played a rock song with some nice slide guitar. It featured some country type vocals that reminded me of Tom Petty when he sings in that style. Their second song was a heavier/grungy rock number featuring a different singer, that this time made me think of Neil Young.

Laura Marlin sang Devils Spoke a folky rock tune with a bluesy feel. Her Bass player used a violin bow on an electric bass for an interesting effect. Her second song, Good Bye Old England Covered in Snow, she played solo on acoustic guitar, finger style. It was a nice Joni Mitchell type contemplative tune. Her last song Rambling Man was more serious young woman music.

Jools interviewed Bobby WomackBobby was kind of evasive and gave some vague answers about spirituality, then rushed into If You Don’t Want My Love on acoustic guitar with Jools playing some nice piano fills. Bobby said this song was not a hit, but it has been covered by numerous people, from the Four Tops to Ron WoodBobby still has the most soulful voice and I am sure if you looked up Soul in the dictionary there would be a picture of him there. .

Diane Birch played Valentino on piano, an up beat funky tune that also had country feel. There was a nice trumpet break. She has a good vocal range and huge saucer like eyes. Her second song was called Fools and was very Carol King like, but I think Diane is a better singer than the legendary songwriter.

Bobby McFerrin played the old song Smile, that I believe was written by the silent film star Charlie Chaplin and was Michael Jackson‘s favorite song. This was kind of an instrumental on voice. He never actually sang the lyrics and had 2 or 3 things happening at once. It must require an amazing amount of practice and training to achieve these skills. He keeps time by beating his chest, which also changes the tones. He got a big reaction from the crowd. This really took me back, because in the 80’s Bobby Womack and Bobby McFerrin were two of my favorite artists. In fact I remember one Bobby McFerringig as one of the best I have ever been to and it featured no instruments all night. The support act was a local all girl acapella group called the Mint Juleps. Then Bobby came on with no supporting musicians, or instruments. But he called up people from the audience to rap and break dance with him. At the end he called back the Mint Juleps to join him and two of the singers from the Flying Pickets, who had a huge acapella hit in the UK with Yazzoo’s Only You, were in the audience and they joined him too. What a night!

Mos Def did a solo spot with a tune called Quiet dog bite hard. It sounded a lot like a Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five track. Mos Def played drums and rapped at the same time, with only a bass and some decks spinning for backing.

Gorillaz closed out the show with a song called Superfast Jellyfish, with De la Soul and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals rapping.

The next edition of Later will be on the 12th November on ABC2 at 10:20PM featuring Hole, Joanna Newsom, Mumford and Sons, Angelique Kidjo, Lissie, Ian Hunter andThe Rant Band

Kate Nash, Band of Horses, Plan B, Spacial AKA

This weeks Later started with Kate Nash singing a song called Do-Wah-Do. She played piano and sang in a strong cockney accent very reminiscent of Lilly Allen. The Lyrics to her songs were very similar to Lilly Allen’s too, domestic issues, kitchen sink dramas etc. Kate’s songs are far more musically sophisticated and I am sure she is a more competent musician, she played guitar too, but I don’t feel the world needs another Lilly Allen. Don’t get me wrong I’ve got nothing against a cockney accent, I’ve got one of my own, but it just does not seem appropriate for music in most cases. I am reminded of the story of the Small Faces hit Lazy Sunday AfternoonSteve Marriot the lead singer, who was from the heart of London’s East End and spoke with a strong cockney accent, was asked by Alan Clarke of The Hollies why he never sang in his own accent. So they wrote and recorded Lazy Sunday Afternoon. It was meant to be a novelty album track, but the record company chose to release it as a single. Although it was a big success, the band were never happy about it, as they wanted to be taken more seriously and Marriot chose never to emphasise his own dialect in music again, as far as I am aware.

Band of Horses played three songs ComplimentsFactory and North West Apartment. These were all good songs and well played. Quite diverse, there was an up tempo pop tune, a slower more elaborate song with strings and horns and a good rocking tune, in that order. Apparently the band was stranded in London unable to get back to their native Seattle because of the Icelandic volcano that caused the cancellation of all flights in Europe earlier this year. But this meant they booked their spot on the show and we got to see them. I would have liked to have included a clip of NW Apartment, the rocker, but I couldn’t find one I was happy with, so here’s the orchestrated Factory

Jerry Dammers Spacial AKA Orchestra followed. Now musically they were very interesting, if a little weird. The band were all dressed in costumes from around the world, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian African etc. many of them wearing masks. Jerry Dammers was however dressed like he lived on the streets, with scruffy hair, shaggy beard, no front teeth and many, many dinners heavier than his Rude Boy days with the Specials. Their first tune was kind of big band modern Jazz, their second was sung by a girl in a mask and the whole look reminded me of the party scenes from Eyes Wide Shut, except with more clothes. They finished up with a version of the Specials Ghost Town which they called Ghost PlanetDammers did not sing this either, but a genuine reggae man did and was pretty good, although the tune was even more of a dirge than the original. Jools Holland interviewed Dammers and asked about the recent Specials reunion, to which he was not invited, I think I understand why. He said just because they couldn’t do what he did it didn’t mean he couldn’t do what they do. Not a good look airing your grievances in public.

Benjamin Paul Ballance-Drew is Plan B and sometimes known as Ben Drew. He appeared immediately after the Jerry Dammers band and funnily enough looked more like Jerry Dammers in his Specials days than Jerry Dammers did. He sang a nice soul/funk tune, but rapped in a Jamaican accent. He was later interviewed by Jools and explained how he learned song writing from Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears. When he sang his second song Writings on the Wall, a break up song, you could hear the Smokey influence.

There was a brief interview with Jack Bruce at the piano. He was there to promote his new book and talked about Blues in London in the early 60’s, mentioning pioneers he played with such as Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner, Charlie Watts and Ginger Baker. He also talked about how he wrote Sunshine of your Love, the opening line “it’s getting near dawn” being something his lyricist Pete Brown said after they had been up all night. Interestingly, Bruce said he would consider another Cream reunion, where as Ginger Baker said never again, when he was asked on an earlier show. Jack does seem to be in better nick health wise, so maybe that’s why.

Melody Gardot is a Jazz singer, who has been through life’s wringer. The victim of a serious road accident at 19 she suffered multiple head injuries and pelvic fractures. Her music served as a therapy for her and brought her to where she is today. Having recorded two albums she still finds touring difficult. She appeared sitting on a stool with a guitar, showing an acre of thigh (very nice legs). Her hair is blond, she wore huge dark glasses and looked like a 60’s Italian film star. Her first song Baby I’m a Fool was less Jazzy than her normal fare. The second song, Who Will Comfort Me? was more like a Jazz Gospeland featured scat singing, a nice Jazz cello solo, an Acappella break and a sing along. I enjoyed both her performances, legs and all. See what you think.

Next weeks Later, 10:20 on ABC2, features Gorillaz, Drive-By Truckers, Laura Marlingand more (the ABC site somehow dropped off the others)

Paul Rodgers, Paul Weller, Marina & The Diamonds

Later with Jools Holland returned to ABC2 on Friday 22nd October. It was a good show with some interesting music, but not one of the very best. The show kicked off with Paul Weller. He did three new songs which were all good, although I thought that in some parts they could have done with a better singer than him. His second song Aim High had a big orchestrated sound, with strings etc. and reminded me in parts of the Theme from Shaftby Issac Hayes. His last song Find the Torch Burn the Plans also had a very familiar feel to it, but I can’t identify what it reminds me of . Paul and one of his keyboard players were sporting some interesting 60’s/70’s influenced haircuts, that looked like they were cut with a knife and fork.

Next up were Hot Chip, who also played three songs. Which was a pity, as they didn’t really appeal to me. The guy that did most of the singing reminded me of Jimmy Sommerville from Bronski Beat and The Communards, but without any of the disco fun.

Gogol Bordello followed. Now this was a really fun band to watch. Their performance was kind of ramshackle and hectic and some of the singing left a little to be desired, but I really enjoyed them. They called it rock and roll and apparently have members from various countries, but it sounded like Russian Gypsy music to me. They went full pelt at both of their songs. I would imagine a whole gig would probably kill you, or them.

Marina of Marina and the Diamonds, reminded me a little of Kate Bush. It just seemed to be one of those shows where everything reminded me of something else. She had very good vocal control and the songs were interesting. I think I might need to have a few more listens to really appreciate her.

I was looking forward to Paul Rogers most of all. He is one of my old heroes and I loved Free and saw Bad Company live at least twice. But there just was not enough of him. He had a short interview with Jools and performed the Ray Charles song Crying Time with Jools at the piano. It was good but not earth shattering.

The Villagers was a one man band, Connor O’Brien, who performed heartfelt songs on an acoustic guitar, that seemed to be held together with gaffa tape. Once again he made me think of someone else. His vibrato on his first song put me in mind of Fergal Sharkey, although nowhere near as annoying.

The Polar Bears are a band that I would like to see more of. Their drummer had a huge mop of, well mop like, hair. They performed a nice instrumental with a really good groove and nice saxophone breaks.

This clip is not from Later but it is the tune they performed and worth a look.

This Friday on Later, Kate Nash, Band of Horses, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial A.K.A. Orchestra, Plan B, Melody Gardot and Jack Bruce. Should be well worth tuning in for.

A Journey Through American Music, Planet Rock Profiles

A great nights music on ABC2 tonight. It started with one of my favourite shows Later with Jools Holland. Tonight’s show started with the fabulous, soulful and funky Joss Stone. Truly an old soul in a young body. Strangely that young body was dressed in a pair of curtains and she had another curtain on her mike stand, each to their own I suppose. Fashion sense apart, Joss could not be faulted. She did two superb songs of her own and a great rendition of Ray Charles “I believe to my soul” with Jools at the piano. Jools’piano playing was equally as impressive.

Joss was followed by Alice in Chains. So let’s get the negative bits out at once. I didn’t enjoy Alice in Chains, too heavy a sound for my tastes, which was unfortunate, as they played three songs to everyone else’s one or two. One of them, surprisingly was acoustic, but this still didn’t do much for me. The other act on tonight that I wasn’t too keen on was Delphin. Again capable and probably good in their genre, but electronic music also has little appeal to me.

OK that over with, everything else was well worth tuning in for. Ricky Lee Jonesperformed an acoustic song apparently written by her father, nice song and featured some nice upright bass. Martha Wainwright performed an animated version of an Edith Piafsong. There was some very carefully pronounced French lyrics, so much so that even I was able to understand some of them. The only thing that was a little distracting is that she was obviously reading the lyrics from a music stand, or autocue, you just don’t often see that in modern music.

An act that I had not heard of before was Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, these guys were really good, very funky. Their first song owed a lot to James Brown and made me feel like getting up off that thang. The second song was a bit too short, but as they say always leave them wanting more. This video can take a while to load and the song starts a bit slow, but play it loud, play it proud and get your funk on. Two things to notice here, first is Joss Stone getting on down with her bad self in the background and second, check out the trumpet player, he bears a remarkable resemblance to the trumpet player in Joss’s band. It’s not the same guy, but it could be him in disguise.

A big surprise of the night was Steve Martin and The Steepcanyon Rangers. I’ve seen Steve Martin play banjo before a few times and although I’ve been impressed with the talent and ability, the music itself was not really appealing, as I’m not a huge fan of country music. But I guess you would call what he did tonight Bluegrass and I enjoyed both tunes. The first was was an instrumental featuring two banjos, a violin, a mandolin, a guitar and a double bass. The second was like a 1940′s style country song with some comic lyrics. It reminded me a little of the The Soggy Bottom Boys from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Which is a good thing

The night was rounded off with A Journey Through American Music – Blues Beginnings introduced by Morgan Freeman, followed by Planet Rock Profiles which featured the New York band The Bravery. More on those two programmes very soon.

OK the following has nothing to do with Later with Jools Holland or even anything that was on TV on Friday night. I just stumbled across them when I was looking for video clips and I liked them, I hope you do too.

Martha Wainwright and Charlotte Church, from a British TV special, I believe, performing the Carol King classic Will you still love me tomorrow?

Another sensational performance from Joss Stone and the sensational legs deserve a show of their very own. Here she sings the Dusty Springfield hit Son of a Preacher Manfrom the 60′s and gives it everything that Dusty did back then.

Deals of the day on recordings for Joss Stone, Martha Wainwright, Ricky Lee Jones and Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears

Peace Has Broken Out Between Delta and Jessie

On Sundays blind auditions of The Voice the female rivalry was billed to resume. The scene for the Delta/Jessie battle field was set from the offset.

The first contestant up was Tamara O’Callaghan who sang Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend in a basic sort of Marilyn Munroe impersonation. Marilyn traded on her sex appeal and wasn’t really a singer, Tamara did pretty much the same. Her boyfriend really set us up for what to expect, when he said that the only thing close to her looks was her voice, which is not a huge benefit when the judges can’t see you.

Once again Jessie J told it like it is, while Delta Goodrem tried to put a positive spin on a pretty ordinary audition. While Jessie made another valid point Delta took off her mic and walked off the set. This appeared to be a script that Delta was working to, while Jessiewas unaware.

A truce was called in the ‘feud’ after some interview segments tried to convince us how real it was. Jessie and Delta were all pally and sweetness and light together for the remainder of the show, and even ended up collaborating on some harmonies.

Next up was Mahalate Teshome, who had only ever sung in front of an audience at two weddings previously. She was nervous and stumbled over some words. But she had some good qualities to her voice. She seemed to be far from ready for prime time, but Jessie Jand the Maddens turned for her. She chose Jessie.

Stephen McCulloch sang the Cat Stevens‘ 60′s classic Father and Son. The intro is sung in a lower key and initially I was not very impressed, but he was so much better in the second part. Delta turned and it will be good to see what he does next.

I liked Hailey Marie McFadden‘s version ofWicked Game. I thought that she had some very interesting components in her voice, but no one turned, so we won’t get to see more of her… this year anyway.

Jeremy Ryan from Perth and his 7 kids had featured in all the promos for the show and his last note was not as big as it had been billed, but he did sing very well. Ricky Martin played to the crowd, surrounding himself with the kids, as a sort hunky Latin Santa Clause. It seemed to have been effective and persuaded Ryan to join Team Ricky.

It’s quite amazing how the show is used as a launching pad for so much self consuming media. Jeremy Ryan‘s audition prompted a plug for a web video and a segment on A Current Affair, where they will in turn plug The Voice, it’s a never ending circle.

I was kind of confused by Jake Howden‘s audition. It was a mixture of interesting and off key. Delta turned after a lot of teasing by her and the Maddens. We may find that more exposure to Jake will reveal his true abilities. At the moment my jury is out.

Country singer Temeaka Powell from central Queensland had some nice qualities to her voice, but lacked any highlights for me and I wouldn’t have picked her based on that audition. The Madden Brothers disagreed and she is through to the Battle rounds.

The final competitor for the evening was Elizabeth Rimbo, who has done all her previous public singing in church. Although not religious myself, I am a huge fan of gospel music, but this really did not deserve a bigger audience. However Jessie J jumped on stage, to show her how it should be done. Not wanting to be left out, Delta and Ricky Martin joined her and the roof was raised, praise the lord and pass the cheese.

In case anyone doubts Jessie‘s authority to tell anyone how to sing gospel music, here she is killing it, as a blonde.

So it looks like the bitch fight promotion is over, for now, and I’d like to think that the show will concentrate on the contestants from here in. But I very much doubt it. They are paying a lot of money to have these international artists on The Voice panel, so I am sure that they will make the most of them.

The blind auditions continue on Monday and Tuesday this week.

We have links below to music from the battling judges, just click on them for more details.

Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Ray Davies

I made the mistake of tuning in a little late for Later this week, damn the ABC for moving it to Thursday nights. I must set up my PVR to record it automatically, so I don’t miss any of the show again. I think I probably missed the first two, or three songs. But something very interesting was going on when I got there. Cyndi Lauper was singing a blues song with Jools Holland’s band. I’ve never particularly been a fan of Cyndi Lauper, I mean, boys wanna have fun too. But this was really good. The first tune I saw was called Shattered Dreams and was excellent. The second was Just Your Fool, it featured some great harmonica, which I believe is played by Charlie Musselwhite on the album Memphis Blues. I don’t think it was him playing on Later, if it was I didn’t hear Jools mention his name. Gilson Lavis the drummer from Jools’s band was particularly getting into the tunes.

Based on these couple of tracks the album will be well worth checking out, it features other guest spots, apart from Mr Musselwhite, such as Allen Toussaint and Anne Peebles and includes the Muddy Waters standard Rolling and Tumbling and Robert Johnson’s Crossroads

Ray Davies was up next, he has released an album of his old songs in a new format. He duets with a number of artists on new versions of his hits. He played Days mixed with a lesser known song This Time Tomorrow backed up by Mumford and Sons. He was later interviewed by Jools Holland and he talked about recording with Bruce Springsteen for the album See My Friends, which also features such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Metallica, John Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora

Anthony from Anthony and the Johnsons did a song at the piano, solo, without his Johnsons. This guy always reminds me of Boy George after a bad night, having neglected his make up and thrown on whatever clothes were around. The song Thank You For Your Love was meant to be heartfelt, I guess, but just sounded repetitive to me.

Imelda May was up next with a song called Mayhem. A friend of mine in London put me onto her some time ago and I like her. The band has the Rockabilly look and feel and Mayhem is a really good song. I think it was one of her songs that I missed at the beginning of the show, damn and blast.

John Legend was interviewed by Jools at the piano and came across as very articulate. He talked about Gospel music and sang a little of I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free. Very nice stuff. Britishreaders will recognise the tune from the long running movie review show Film whatever year it was at the time.

Next up the Ting Tings. If anyone in Australia thinks that they don’t know them, just think about the Hyundai ad that has bombarded us for some time and the tune behind it Shut Up and Let Me Go. They played a song called Day to Day which was much more mellow and featured some nice strings.

John Legend performed Love the Way it Should Be, a lovers rock reggae tune. Nice band, nice song, nice voice. What more can I say.

Next up was a band called Chapel Club performing a song called Eastern Girls. The singer looked a lot like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and has probably as much chance of becoming a rock star. The song was a bit dark and gloomy and not to my taste at all.

Thankfully Imelda May was back to close out the show with Tainted Love. The song made famous by Soft Cell, but was originally sung by Gloria Jones, the woman that drove the car into the tree that killed Marc Bolan of T. Rex. All that aside this version featured some very nice trumpet.

Tom Jones, Vampire Weekend, Corrine Bailey Rae

Vampire Weekend were first cab off the rank, with quite a cheery pop tune. It was not what I expected, maybe Vampires aren’t as dark and moody as they used to be. It was an OK tune, but may be better with a few more listens. Their second tune White Sky, was a weird poppy song. The guitarist wore a body warmer, must have been cold in the studio. They finished the show with a song called Cousins. They definitely saved the best for last. It was a very rhythmic rocker, much more fun than the first two.

Corrine Bailey Rae was up next, also with a cheery pop tune called Paris Nights / New York Mornings it had a slow section. She was playing a white Danelectric guitar. Quite a striking look. Later she sang Closer more of a soulful ballad, the stuff she does so well. A very good late night kind of tune.

Metric were next with Gimme Sympathy, a slow, dark tune with a bit of substance, but they lined up like a pop band on a chat show. I quite liked it though. Their second song was Sick Muse. It had a big rock intro. It could have done without the keyboard parts. It was a bit of a reserved rocker, that never really cut loose. But it has potential to be a good live tune. The crowd liked it.

Tom Jones had a short interview with Jools. Nothing much was really said, something about the naming of his album Praise and BlameJools presented Tom with a Birthday cake for his 70th. He said he could blow out the candles if he wanted to, but they employed someone to do that. He sang with Jools at the piano Strange Things Happen Every Day. It was a great gospel boogie song, Tom was in great voice. What Good Am Iwas a slow dark blues, The drummer played with timpani beaters. The backing band was minimal, but Tom sings better than anyone else on the show, although he can give them at least 40 years. His last song was Burning Hell with just him, the slide guitar and drums. It was maybe not quite as good as the version on Letterman that I included here, but still great.

MGMT played Flash Delirium it was a good tune with strange vocals and it was hard to categorise. It was slightly spacey in a`David Bowie sort of style. Their second tune was also interesting, with a nice conga break. Some of the vocals reminded me of Steve Howeand Yes.

Jools interviewed Andy Serkis, most famous for playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films. He was promoting a film called Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll that he played Ian Dury in . He was very enthusiastic. They showed a clip, he sang with the real Blockheads. He said Ian Dury‘s family were involved in the making of the film and he had become friends with Chaz Jankel from the Blockheads and played Jazz saxophone with him. I hope it gets released here in Australia.

Crystal Castles played Celestica another spacey type tune. It had a sort of European/German feel. It didn’t really appeal to me, although the singer was cute in a heavy make up, weird sort of way.

Jools interviewed Bob Harris, he was the presenter of The Old Grey Whistle Test. A 1970′s music show that was very big to people of my and Jools’s age. It was an album rock show, that just about everyone appeared on. They showed a clip of Little Featplaying Rock n Roll Doctor with Lowell GeorgeBob is probably a better presenter than Jools (but I doubt that he plays piano as well) so he took over the interview.

This was the last of the current series of Later, next week it’s replaced by a concert from Blur Live at Hyde Park

The Greatest Dracula, Christopher Lee, Has Died, We Think

The great British actor Sir Christopher Lee has died in London aged 93.

Lee has been referred to in some circles as the most prolific actor of his generation, racking up 281 film and TV credits. But he is best known, to a generation of British film fans, for playing Dracula, in a slew of Hammer Horror films in the 1960’s and 70’s.

But what many people do not know, is that Christopher Lee was a real war hero and genuine bad ass. He was a member of the precursor to the SAS and commanded the Gurkhas.

Forces.tv reports his military and other massive achievements…

Today it was announced the most prolific actor in motion picture history, the on-screen legend that was Sir Christopher Lee, passed away in hospital after a lengthy battle with heart problems.

Known and forever remembered as an icon of the silver screen, his past achievements in front of the camera cement his place in Hollywood and British film industry folklore. Some of his greatest accomplishments, however, were collected not on stage, but on the battlefield during World War II.

Christopher served with distinction throughout WWII

Little known facts about Sir Lee’s service for the Army and RAF will escape many major news broadcasters and tabloids around the world today, but his distinguished career in the British military and the Special Air Service, will be recognized.

“I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let’s just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.”

Christopher Lee first enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940, where he worked as an intelligence officer specializing in decoding German ciphers. He was then posted to North Africa where he was based with the precursor of the SAS, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). While leapfrogging from Egypt across Tobruk to Benghazi, Lee moved behind enemy lines from base to base sabotaging Luftwaffe planes and airfields along the way. After the Axis surrender in 1943, Lee was seconded to the Army during an officer swap scheme, where he officiated the Gurkhas of the 8th Indian Infantry Division during The Battle of Monte Cassino.

When pressed by an eager interviewer on his SAS past, he leaned forward and whispered:

“Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes!” the interviewer replied, breathless with excitement.

“So can I.” replied a smiling Lee, sitting back in his chair.

After working with the LRDG, Lee was assigned to the Special Operations Executive, conducting espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers. For the final few months of his service, Lee, fluent in several languages including French and German, was tasked with tracking down Nazi war criminals alongside the Central Registry of War Criminals and Security Suspects. Of his time within the organisation, Lee said “We were given dossiers of what they’d done and told to find them, interrogate them as much as we could and hand them over to the appropriate authority.” Lee then retired from the RAF in 1946 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

“I’ve seen many men die right in front of me – so many in fact that I’ve become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.”

Although his service records remain classified and Lee himself was reluctant to discuss anything about his service, after his retirement he’d been individually decorated for battlefield bravery by the Czech, Yugoslav, British, and Polish governments. He was also on personal terms with Josip Broz Tito, presumably after their mutual involvement with the Partisan resistance movement (widely cited as the most effective resistance movement in occupied Europe).

Tall and talented: 10 reasons why Sir Christopher Lee is a legend:

• Christopher Lee was Ian Fleming’s cousin, serving alongside him during the war.
• At 6’5” tall, Sir Christopher’s imposing stature made him one of the tallest actors in the world.
• He was introduced to Prince Yusupov and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the assassins of Grigori Rasputin, whom Lee was to play many years later.
• Fluent in six languages including French and German.
• Participated in more on-screen sword fights than any actor in history
• He was a descendent of Charlemagne
• Christopher Lee released a heavy metal hardcore symphonic power metal concept album about Charlemagne when he was 88 years old.
• He volunteered to fight for Finland in the Winter War prior to WW2.
• Saw the Nazi concentration camps first-hand
• He was an opera singer.

Sir Christopher Lee continued working almost up until his death, featuring in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies which was released last year and he still has two films in the can, waiting to be released.

Rest in peace Christopher Lee, you deserve it, if that’s what you are really doing.