When i met Lewis Collins he was just leaving the set of "The Professionals" to have something to eat, and was looking remarkably fresh and healthy, "considering that i was dragged out of bed and driven to this particular day's location at six this morning" Lewis grinned.
It has to be admitted though, that Lewis seemed more intent on getting to the special bus where Lunch would be served rather than standing around chatting about what time he'd had to get up that morning!
Since i was invited to have some lunch with the rest of the crew, including Gordon Jackson, who plays Cowley in the series, i went with Lewis over to the bus. It certainly didn't look too interesting from the outside but inside there was everything to delight a gourmet.
I didn't get past the table that had cheeses, fresh fruit and salad on it - all you dieters would have been proud of me and by the
time i joined Lewis at his table he was tucking into Chicken Bonne Femme.
I must have looked a bit shocked, imagining as i do that every actor in the world has to be on a continal diet, and Lewis laughed and said "you can work up a huge appetite when you're concentrating on a part, you know!"
"It's just as well that the filming routine that we follow is usually so strenuous that any excess weight problems don't really exist."
You can say that again, Lewis ,After the lunch break was over i got the opportunity actually to see the man in action and realised that Lewis hadn't been exaggerating. Some of the fight sequences he and Martin Shaw were being put through were incredible.
And what made it even worse was, that although we see the finished article on television and it all looks exhausting enough there, what you have to remember is that it's probably taken anything up to five or six "takes" for the director to be completely satisfied.
So when you see Lewis going through one of those fight sequences,remember that that's probably the sixth time he's done it.
"It doesn't really bother us how often we have to re-do a scene," Lewis said,between takes "it happens quite often that we'll do a scene and the director is quite happy with it first time, then we get told there's been an electrical fault and we have to do it all over again"
Mind you, it obviously keeps Lewis fit because when i get the opportunity to ask him if he did any kind of special training to be able to cope with all the rushing around he said, "no, not really."
"Doing this kind of work just keeps you fit in itself. And as i mentioned earlier, any weight that you might put on a little excessively is soon lost on set" "All the lights that are needed during filming soon build up the heat too, and it's like having a fight in a sauna sometimes."
Of course, we all know that the charactet Lewis plays in "The Professionals" is Bodie - Ex SAS. Skills -shooting and climbing. Hobbies -shooting and girls..
So just how much of that person is in Lewis Collins himself ?
"Well Bodie really is quite a hard character, he has to be, and i suppose you could say i was too, only not in quite the same way" Lewis told me.
"I am , i hope, as professional as he is and i'm ambiitious too. And it has to be admitted that there are certain aspects of his life-style that i do quite like - the cars, for instance" "in this series i get to drive a great silver Capri S - almost makes all those early mornings worthwhile"
"And of course i like women" Lewis went on. "It's odd how getting known through doing a series like "The Professionals" can change a girls attitude towards you though."
"When i was younget i really was shy, believe it or not, i still am, and it was excruciatingly painful for me to approach girls at all. I used to write them letters rather than speak to them staight out." "Girls terrified me. They were entirely another sort of creature -they could've been martians."
'And i was, so i'm told, practcally pretty when i was a teenager. But that didn't help at all - being fairly good looking certainy doesn't give you any more confidence in yourself than anyone else." " i didn't fall in love until i was fifteen and although i never got anywhere with that particular girl, she's still very much at the forefront of my mind. She made a very big impression, and nowadays, when i think of girls,i think of her"
Not quite the kind of thing we'd expect Bodie to say at all. So what exactly has playing Bodie done to Lewis as far as meeting girls is concerned."well i'm afraid that it does happen quite often, just because you're a tv personality, that you find yourself being stared at by girls, it's still not very pleasant" Lewis said.
"And the whole point is that you know they aren't looking at Lewis Collins -they're looking at Bodie. It's really the image that they're after, not me at all." "I've been known to put on my oldest clothes and get one of my mates to bring along a girlfriend for me without saying who i am."
That's one blind date i'm sure none of us would mind turning up on.