16/09/2021

My dark side

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I was trained by Darth Vader! Not James Earl Jones who merely provided his ‘voice’, but Dave Prowse who was the body of Darth in the original Star Wars trilogy (1977, 1980, 1983). This doubling-up was necessary because Dave’s very broad Bristolian accent would not have made Darth in any way scary.

My father was a fireman and so was Dave Prowse; they were both posted to Bristol’s Southmead fire station on the same ‘Red’ watch. For a period, Dave agreed to give me weight-training lessons at the station. This was just before he became uber-famous.

Dave was 6ft 6ins and was British heavyweight weightlifting champion in 1962, 1963 and 1964. As a professional bodybuilder he wouldn’t let me, just a teenager, bulk-up and made sure that I ran off the effects of the weight-training around the parade yard. At the time I was quite disappointed by his decision, but obviously he knew his stuff.

Dave Prowse MBE
with Sir Alec Guinness CH CBE
Dave was also the Green Cross Code Man in the early 1970s

.Dave trained Christopher Reeve for his role in the 1978 film ‘Superman’ and was awarded an MBE in 2000 for services to charity and road safety. Dave didn’t make Christopher Reeve run off his training!

Not too many can say they were the prodigy of a Jedi Knight from the dark side of ‘the Force’.

ASIDE: I may have mixed with supermen, but Jane can trump this. While teaching in Bedford she taught a God. One of her class was a member of a sect that had proclaimed him a God at birth. It meant he was not allowed to cut his hair until puberty and then only in India at the seat of the sect. He was also consulted by members of his sect if they were unwell. On one occasion Jane asked how he decided whether they would recover, he calmly replied that if he liked them then he suggested their future was positive.

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