Fresh from the hilarity of the City fans chanting of my name at the Salzburg match the other night, it's time for my annual festive 12 parter to start. This year, I am writing about a great war film. Hope you enjoy it.
I used to watch Shoestring regularly. I think it was about a sleuthing DJ in Bristol. Some light research proves me correct, and adds the forgotten detail that he was a traumatised computer expert before becoming Radio West’s ‘private ear’, and the programme was possibly shown on a Sunday night, around 9 o’clock. I actually really enjoyed it at the time, but (and Dave Gorman recently mentioned this in relation to a strange episode in his life where he watched the pilot of The Six Million Dollar Man at the Cannes Film Festival. The programme, he said, just looked so terribly dated, and ended up causing much hilarity among the audience) I’m sure the same would not apply now. A regular contributor to Shoestring was The Sound Engineer, played by Colin Maitland. I had a great deal of difficulty turning up a picture of Mr Maitland via Bing image search (it’s extremely irritating to be directed towards people who are either a) Colin Maitland, but not the Colin Maitland; b) people called Maitland but not Colin; or worst of all, c) people called Colin but not Maitland!) and, although his images appear to be in short supply (fame is fickle, isn’t it?) Google demonstrated its superiority by displaying two pictures of the main man immediately. Followed by loads of people who aren’t him.
Colin was born in 1942 in Birmingham. He played perhaps the least famous member (one could perhaps say even, the least famous of the 'Back Six') of the Dirty Dozen – Seth Sawyer. All I can seem to discover about the character is that he was sentenced to 20 years hard labo(u)r. And that he dies (by means of a very specific weapon) after being shot down from a roof. It looks as if Colin’s personal life after the Dirty Dozen may have been just as much of a slog. Well, not really, but you get my drift.
Prior to his big break, he appeared as Charlie Sedgewick in Lolita (1962) and as Seaman Jones in The Bedford Incident (1965) which is a ‘highly rated Cold War submarine thriller’. I saw Lolita, didn’t particularly enjoy it, but can’t recall watching The Bedford Incident, though reading about it, I think I would like to. In neither film can I remember Colin Maitland.
It just goes to show how hard it must be to break into the big time. The Dirty Dozen was the number 1 box office film of 1967, and made a net profit of over $18,000,000 – a pretty tidy sum over 40 years ago I would imagine. How much of this money got through to someone like Colin is anyone’s guess. Probably not a huge proportion of it, but one would have thought that the part would at least look pretty good on the guy’s CV and provide him with a springboard for greater things. But it was not to be.