Caine could be forgiven for retreating once again to play Harry Palmer, the spy who helped to make him famous years ago. Let's face it, he has never done anything as good since and the Palmer role may save us from more television mini-series such as the awful Jack the Ripper, in which Caine played a policeman with a performance worthy of a mid-week matinee at the Bradford Alhambra.
Many people would share your outrage at Caine's recent interview in the Sunday Times in which he anointed himself the British Gene Hackman, a character actor who could teach the younger generation a thing or two - presumably about how self-promotion can compensate for limited talent.
For those who missed your letter to the newspaper yesterday, it is worth quoting its conclusion at length. You say of Caine: "He is an over-fat flatulent 62-year-old windbag, a master of inconsequence now masquerading as a guru, passing off his vast limitations and pious virtues."
Great stuff, but there is a problem Richard, isn't there? You hardly represent a model for the future yourself. Your criticism of Caine for masquerading as a common man might carry more weight if it did not come from someone who lives (survives might be a better word) in the Savoy.
And as you admit: "We dared to cross the threshold from sophisticated drawing room, stangulated drollery to the wilderness where we not only faced the lion's roar but smelled the breath of their bad habits; a voyage most great actors embarked upon where on occasion they might touch the gods to ignite their craft." In other words you like the odd drink, now and then, just socially you understand, with anyone you can find.
Luckily, actors seeking a model to combine long life, with success and an ego of manageable proportions, had an alternative on offer over the weekend as Adam Faith gave both you and Michael Caine a lesson in staying young.
The 54-year-old pop star-turned-actor-cum-share tipster-and-entrepreneur was out in Hyde Park rollerblading - admittedly rather shakily - with the stunning Louise Lombard, 30 years his junior and star of television's 19th-century fashion drama The House of Eliott (she is comforting him over the recent collapse of his marriage).
Faith, never too proud to test his skills in front of the paying public, is co-starring with Ms Lombard in the comedy Now You Know at the Hampstead Theatre in north London. When did you last get close enough to an audience so they could smell your breath?
So Richard, I know the thought of it may make you sick. I know the sight of you flying around Hyde Park with protective pads all over the place, nicotine-stained hair flowing in the wind, small bottle of brown liquid in one hand and cigarette in the other would alarm mothers with young children. But Richard, get off your backside, out of the Savoy, into the fresh air and get your rollerblades on.
JOHN PLUMMERReuse content