Life as a T.V. Tough Guy by LEWIS COLLINS

July 29, 1981     Article

‘I KILLED A LION & WAS SHOT BY A TANK’

Life as a T.V. Tough Guy

By LEWIS COLLINS

In an interview with JAKE JOWLER

On telly I always play the tough guy – perhaps it’s because of my tough background. The day I was born my dad, who had a drink problem, tried to kill me with a mallet. He ended up in hospital for 5 months. That was my first scrap, and somehow I knew it wouldn’t be my last.

HAMMER

At school all the kids used to call me “LEWIS” because of my unfortunate christian name. I really hated it. On one occasion I broke my best friend’s legs with her desk for calling me that. I was quite a tearaway at school and got caned every day. It never hurt but one day I broke the headmaster’s pelvis with a ten pound hammer for calling me names.

I joined the SAS straight from boy scouts – not that there’s anything wrong with the scouts. I Just wanted to kill some bloody foreigners, not play silly games and go camping. Cn my first day fighting in the jungles of Malaysia I killed 200 soldiers. I remember because I jammed my machine gun and had to bite them all to death, even though I’d lost all my teeth eating bricks when I was a kid.

When I left the army I got my first job on telly doing a commercial for Lion Bars. I was working with a lion called Sheba. It may have been tame but it weighed 8 tons and had 12 inch teeth. One day we »ere filming when it went wild and attacked the film crew. I tried to calm it down by stroking it but I accidentally snapped it in half.

Another hairy experience occurred when I was filming a war sequence for a telly film. I was being chased by a tank, but someone had forgotten to load it with blank shells. The next thing you know it fired and I felt an enormous explosion on my head. I had been hit full In the face by a shell. I remember having a black eye for 2 days after that.

STUNTS

I do all my own stunts for telly. I remember once I was staging a fight with a stunt man who weighed in at 26 stone. I had to throw him through a window, but I missed and he hit a Boeing 747 that was flying overhead. They never managed to find him, although I managed to catch the aeroplane before it crashed.

Next Week : How I ate a bus by accident while filming a Double Decker commercial.

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