Star who's never been in the film industry

PUBLISHED: 11:49 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 22:02 26 October 2009

Barry Norman, in the critic mode familiar to viewers of TV’s Film series

Barry Norman, in the critic mode familiar to viewers of TV's Film series

THE son of film director Leslie Norman, Barry started out on a newspaper in Kensington, later progressing to the Daily Mail and The Guardian. I got a job on the BBC because they had seen my work at The Guardian and liked it, he said. But it had nothing

THE son of film director Leslie Norman, Barry started out on a newspaper in Kensington, later progressing to the Daily Mail and The Guardian.

"I got a job on the BBC because they had seen my work at The Guardian and liked it," he said.

"But it had nothing to do with my father - I went into journalism rather than film and I am the only member in my family never to work in the film industry."

But he has met many of the stars behind the films. Some were memorable for the wrong reasons.

He said: "I had a run in with Robert De Niro where we almost came to blows in the corridor of the Savoy hotel.

"I don't particularly like him.

"I am not a fan of Madonna either after she kept me waiting two hours for an interview, so I just walked out."

He added: "A lot of them make you wait to prove they are more important than you, but I would be much happier if they just turned up on time and told me they were more important."

The father-of-two, now aged 74, has also had many positive experiences with the stars... in particular Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese and Ewan McGregor.

He also developed an enormous respect for Tom Hanks after an interview for the film Forrest Gump, where his film company Paramount sent the star to the wrong hotel.

He was an hour-and-a-half late in the end.

"A lot of people would have just gone home, but he phoned Paramount up and found the right hotel," he said. "The fact that he did that put him up in my estimation."

Asked what makes a film a success, he was less certain: "What you need is a really good screenplay, with good dialogue and character delineation.

"Then you need a good cast and director, with good backup support."

He added: "But on top of that you need a great film, which is something quite indefinable, a chemistry.

"A good example is Casablanca -but if I knew what that something was I would patent it and sell it all over the world."

Since leaving the BBC in 1998, be brought out an interactive film quiz DVD in November and even launched his own brand of pickles in supermarkets.

Barry Norman's Pickled Onions, as they are called, are based on a 19th century recipe handed down through the family. Barry's home made pickles were just a family treat until his daughter's friend, who works in marketing, saw the potential and launched them in the shops.

Barry has not ruled out developing this line.

l Friday's show at WGC's Campus West, starts at 8pm. Tickets are £12.50, with proceeds going to the YMCA in WGC. Box office: 01707 357117.

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