Des Bishop: My Dad Was Nearly James Bond, Assembly Rooms
Tuesday 24 August 2010
The buzz coming off this show has been as loud as the sound of a devilish gadget fashioned by Q. The name that counts here, though, is Bishop, Mike Bishop, not James Bond. Mike Bishop, father of Des, is a former actor and model who was in line for the James Bond role but was beaten to it by George Lazenby. Though this could be seen as a lucky escape, Bishop tells us that his father can't watch the spy films because they remind him of a career that might have been. That regret paled into insignificance when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year.
The news brought the comedian's Irish-American upbringing into focus and here he outlines why his father is as heroic, if not more so, than the character he wanted to play. Picking his way through childhood memories, Bishop conjures up gentle comedy and pathos, recalling being bewitched by his father's scene in The Day of the Triffids but also how he and his brothers would use their father's lines from the film to thwart his attempts to discipline them.
There are always questions raised about art meeting life when it comes to impending mortality, and at the end of the show Bishop defensively asks us not to listen to those critics who say that this show is sentimental. By this time he's already done the hard work, convincing us that he can meld memories with mirth to forge a show that tickles the comedy palate and fully engages the heart and mind.
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