by Stuart Gilles / Manchester Evening News
5th January 1993
DRIVING around Piccadilly in London for six hours with David Bowie in the back was a nerve shattering experience for Reece Dinsdale.
“It was a Sunday afternoon and we were scheduled to shoot the whole scene in about two hours. But unexpectedly, the traffic was so heavy it took us much longer than that.
“But David was wonderful. He sat in the back of the stretch Mercedes I was ‘chauffeuring’ and took it all in his stride, as we went round and round Pall Mall and St. James’s and Piccadilly Circus,” 33-year-old Reece, a Bowie fan, recalled.
“We chose Sunday because we thought it would be a quiet day. But it was absolutely choc-a-bloc with cars and tourists, and we just could not get the shots in.”
Reece was driving the rock star for his role in ITV’s new six-part series, Full Stretch, which starts tonight. It is the first comedy-drama to come from the new Meridian commercial station.
Created by Auf Wiedersehen, Pet’s Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it is about a fictional former Chelsea footballer, Baz Levick (Kevin McNally) who decided to run his own luxury limo hire service in London.
One of its first customers turns out to be David Bowie, who appears in this opening episode in the cameo role of himself. In his other scene you get a sample of the normal Bowie action when you see him singing in a South London club.
Reece, who plays Tarquin Woods, a ‘resting’ actor who drives limos when the stage has no call for him, which seems often, said, “Bowie is an idol of mine.
“I knew I was going to do the scene with him, but for weeks I had not really given it a second thought.
“Suddenly, one morning, I was on my way to meet him at his hotel suite and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I just broke out in a cold sweat.
“I was completely tongue-tied. But he was very charming and lovely. And when it came to doing the scene, he knew his lines and was very professional. He did it in one with no messing about.
“He is also very down to earth. He does not walk around saying, ‘I’m David Bowie’. So it is our fault if he comes across as a bit removed,” Reece said.
David also provided Reece with a perfect souvenir. “I asked him to autograph a giant poster of himself. Normally, fellow artists do not do that, but he was more than happy to sign. “It was the most embarrassing thing I have done in my life.
“But it was not for me. I promised my girlfriend I would ask him for her brother. He is an even bigger Bowie than I am. It made a lovely Christmas present for him.”