Saturday, October 24, 2015


At the King's Head with Eddie
While I was at the London film festival I heard that a film is finally being made about  Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards, the worst-ever Olympic ski jumper whom I got to know well 27 years ago.
Edwards, 51, was working as a plasterer when he qualified, entirely self-funded, for the 1988 Winter Olympics ski-jumping competition.
 Despite finishing last in both the 70 metre and 90 metre events, he became a household name.
 When the Olympics finished he flew to Los Angeles where I picked him up in a limo at the airport and took him to NBC studios in Burbank where he was due to appear on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.  While I waited backstage sampling the free beers in the hospitality room Eddie turned on the charm for Carson and presented him with an Olympic pin.
  Afterwards we did the rounds of pubs and clubs--starting at the King's Head in Santa Monica where he wanted fish and chips and then to downtown Los Angeles where we hit several clubs including the now-defunct Stock Exchange where a group of girl clubbers recognised him and sent him notes across the bar, much to his delight. 
 He sold the rights to his story 17 years ago but a film is only just being made by Matthew Vaughn with the Welsh actor Taron Egerton as Eddie and Hugh Jackman as his fictional washed-up coach. 
 The fact that Eddie finished last didn't sit well with Hollywood and Jackman says: "The story of Eddie is amazing and very heartwarming but the studios in America didn't quite get it. I think the Aussies and the English really get that folk hero thing."
  Eddie himself isn't too impressed. "I've been warned only 10 to 15% of it is based on my life."he says. "I've not really seen the script so I don't know what they've picked out of the things that happened in my life and what is made up.
"There's always a certain amount of poetic licence but I'm kind of anxious. What exactly have they put in about my life and how have they portrayed me?"

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