Tea boy asked to make video for the millennium video

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The Independent Online
A CHARITY cover version of the Rolling Stones hit "It's Only Rock'n'Roll" is released today, with an accompanying video directed by a film-office tea boy.

Simon Rinkoff was the runner chosen from dozens of hopefuls to direct the video - his first - which features the Spice Girls, James Brown and Ronan Keating.

Backers hope the single, intended to raise money for the Children's Promise charity, could reach No 1. Modelled on the BBC's charity version of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", the song features 30 singers, from long-established acts such as Joe Cocker and Iggy Pop to more youthful bands including S Club 7. Each act performs a line from the song.

Despite his lack of experience, the 24-year-old Mr Rinkoff impressed producers with his idea of using schoolchildren playfully to impersonate the Rolling Stones, with footage of the singers, filmed in grainy Super 8, projected in the background.

He said yesterday: "A friend told me the production company was looking for ideas, so I sent one off. They called me in for a chat, and a few days later just told me, `You've got the job'. I couldn't believe it."

Within days the fledgling director - whose job as a "runner" in a Soho film production firm meant he had to make the tea - was pointing a camera at the soul legend James Brown.

"I have to admit I was nervous and shaking at first. But I got through, and that's when I thought, `I can do this'."

He said the video, shot mainly in a series of hotel rooms around the world, presented its own particular challenges.

"I had Ronan Keating lit by a big spotlight, and got him to thrust his arm out at the end of his line," Mr Rinkoff said. "His arm hit the spotlight, which toppled over, just missing Arthur Baker.

"I was imagining the stories in my head, `First-time director puts end to charity single as Ronan Keating kills legendary pop producer'." He added: "When I filmed the Corrs, to make them look different from the others in the same room, I covered the floor in tin foil to make a sort of shimmering light.

"You can see the look on their faces in the video - they're thinking, `What on earth is this guy doing?' Some of the ideas were very much made up there and then."

Mr Rinkoff, the son of an east London baker, has now been promoted to freelance director with the same company for which he used to make the tea. He admitted there would be an extra reason for celebrating if the single made it to No 1 in time for Christmas - knocking Sir Cliff Richard off the top spot.

"Obviously I would have to share the credit for it, but I would know I'd done my bit," he said.