Saturday, 5 December 2015

Biography of a bounder: Oliver Reed

In which G.M. Norton introduces his first rapscallion idol.


Welcome to the first of a new segment where I'll take an in-depth look at my favourite cads and bounders. Who better to start this less-than-truthful series than with chief rapscallion and every pub landlords' wet dream, Mr Oliver Reed. 

Oliver Reed was born in a drinking tavern. You could say he was a natural born drinker. You might be right.
When he wasn’t partaking in a little liquid libation, Oliver enjoyed nothing more than to read to his Elephant.
 
Oliver got his big break in acting, when he starred in the first ever shampoo television advertisement. It was filmed in a woodland area to convey the hair product's woody notes.
Of course, acting is full of ups and downs. Sometimes, you have to take a menial job to pay all the large bar bills. For a few dark weeks, Oliver worked at a call centre helping the Great British public to claim for mis-sold payment protection insurance.

Call centre life was full of high jinks but there was a high turnover of staff. Here is Oliver, taking part in the monthly ‘Take your axe to work’ day. 
Some people had the audacity to accuse Oliver of having a big head. Naturally aghast at such an accusation, he took legal action and presented a sculpture of a large head to prove that his own cranium was of average proportions. Oliver was so smug at winning his first legal battle that he had to have his carpenter widen the doorway so he could get his head through it. 
When he wasn't consuming staggering amounts of alcohol, or having his day in court, Oliver often performed heroic acts. The hell raiser famously saved Diana Rigg from choking by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre. 
With Scottish blood running through his booze-soaked veins (well, he lived there once), Oliver would celebrate Burn's Night in the time honoured way of a naked wrestle in front of an open fire.
Sadly, reading to elephants and saving beautiful actresses from certain death does take a toll on one's health. During a break in filming Gladiators with John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson, poor Oliver suffered a heart attack.

Thank you for the fabricated memories, Mr Reed. Bottoms up. 
 
G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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