The One Show: Michael Caine swears live on-air
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The 89-year-old’s life completely changed in 1964 with his breakout role in the film focused on the Anglo-Zulu War in South Africa. However, as a counterterrorism programme found Zulu was among the works that could be cited as “key texts” for “white nationalists” the actor has brutally written off the claim.
Sir Michael Caine, whose real name is Maurice Mickelwhite, catapulted to stardom at the age of 31 with his role as the posh Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in Zulu.
Filmed on location in South Africa, the film focused on the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, a pivotal moment in the Anglo-Zulu war which saw roughly 150 British troops defending a mission station against thousands of Zulu warriors in 1879.
Although the film’s basic premise is generally accurate, it is not a historical re-enactment of any means nor does it claim to be.
However, counter-terror scheme Prevent listed the film as a “key text” which could incite “white nationalists/supremacists” according to the Times.
The lengthy list of works that could potentially incite extremists also includes the likes of Shakespeare and political sitcom Yes Minister.
In an interview with The Spectator, to celebrate the lead-up to his 90th birthday, the actor slammed these claims.
He simply declared Zulu’s inclusion on the list as: “The biggest load of bulls**t I have ever heard.”
The film plucked the actor from relative obscurity as a penniless stage practitioner at the age of 30.
Sir Michael had dreams of being an actor from a young age and began acting in school plays at the age of 10.
As he soon celebrates his 90th, this means the actor has spent eight decades perfecting his craft.
At 16 he left school to serve in the Queen’s Royal Regiment and Royal Fusiliers, spending time in Germany and Korea on active duty before returning to the UK to launch his entertainment career.
At the time, the rising theatre star went by the stage name Michael White, but changed it in 1954 when he discovered another performer was already using the moniker.
The Alfie star ultimately decided on Caine when he walked passed an Odeon Cinema which was showing The Caine Mutiny.
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Two years later, Sir Michael appeared in his first film, A Hill in Korea, which was not the breakout role he had hoped for.
The film flopped at the same time he and his first wife, actress Patricia Haines, welcomed their first daughter, Dominique.
Sir Michael found work to be increasingly scarce and the family’s dire financial situation also sparked the end of his marriage.
The actor candidly admits on his website that this period of his life was increasingly “hard to cope with”.
The actor moved back home, “with a huge amount of guilt, out of work and penniless” according to his website, and abandoned his artistic dreams.
After his father’s death, The Italian Job star fled to Paris to “sort himself out”, and when he returned he was offered the role of an aristocratic officer posted at Rorke’s Drift.
The film was an instant box office smash and became one of the biggest hits in the British market at the time, with Sir Michael being so happy with its success that he found himself with a face full of tears.
The star shared in his chat with The Spectator: “This made me a star and I never went back on the stage again.”
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