Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Gary Oldman's popping up everywhere at the moment on the back of the launch of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, in which he plays the lead role. Oldman is arguably the most successful current British actor still working regularly, judging by the fact that he has appeared in a succession of blockbusters going back for more than 20 years (Harry Potter, Batman, Dracula etc.). Not bad for a working class boy from New Cross.
Oldman grew up in Hatcham Park Road I believe, along with his sister Laila Morse - Mo in Eastenders. Interviewed on the Robert Elms show this week, a listener emailed in a memory of him being in the nativity play at Monson Primary School (now 'Hatcham Temple Grove'). He went on to now closed South East London Boys School in Creek Road, Deptford. As Deptford Se8ker notes, Oldman told the Radio Times this month 'London changes, but Deptford is... Deptford. The same men I was always scared of but fascinated by are all still there. In the pub'.
He used to go to Millwall matches and told the Independent this week that his dad Leonard may have played a couple of times for the team: "Funnily enough, my mum's just told me a remarkable story about my dad. Just after the war, she ran a boarding house, for football players, Millwall players. And I knew that my dad was involved somehow with the reserve team. But two weeks ago my mum said, 'Oh yeah, your dad played for Millwall. When he was young he had a couple of first team games. It was in the kitchen, making tea. I said, 'What are you talking about? You tell me this now?'" He laughs. "We'd kick a ball around when I was very young. But I was rather surprised to discover that my dad – albeit for five minutes – had been a professional footballer. I was quite chuffed, and proud." Come on you Millwall historians check this out, is it family legend or fact? Of course you could be delving back into the murky world of wartime line-ups when the facts are hard to come by and everybody's uncle had a go on the pitch.
Would be good to see Oldman directing again, his 'Nil By Mouth'(1997) is a great London movie and draws heavily on his experience of growing up round here. Scenes on it were filmed on the old Bonamy Estate (Rotherhithe New Road - built in the 60s and demolished in the 90s), the Pepys Estate in Deptford and Hither Green Hospital. The pub scenes were shot in The Five Bells pub in New Cross Road and the recently closed Royal Archer pub nearby. There's also a bit of Deptford Park.