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by James Marston
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
THE name’s Bickers, Dave and Paul Bickers.
Though the father and son team from Coddenham aren’t wearing revolvers under their dinner jackets they are as much part of Bond history as shaken martinis and cat-stroking villains.
For Dave and Paul’s company – Bickers Action – offers a stunt engineering service that has seen their Coddenham-based firm grow from strength to strength, working on a host of Bond films from Octopussy to the latest offering, Skyfall.
Dave, 75, and now semi-retired, said it all began in the 1970s when he was a champion motocross rider.
He said: “I got asked to do a few stunts but soon realised I wasn’t a stunt man. Instead I supplied the motorbikes.”
The firm has worked on thousands of films and TV shows including a number of Bond movies, Indiana Jones and recent films like Warhorse and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Bickers currently has staff working in Tenerife on Fast and Furious 6.
TV work includes Top Gear, Casualty, Holby City and Hollyoaks.
Dave’s first film was the 1979 classic Escape to Athena but it was in 1983 that the firm’s long association with Bond began.
“We developed a niche as stunt engineers building stunt vehicles and looking after them on set,” said Dave.
“In 1983 I was asked to go to India to work on Octopussy and make the stunt tuk tuk used in a stunt sequence.”
It was during Octopussy that Dave doubled for Bond actor Roger Moore.
He said: “I don’t look much like him. It was at a distance.”
What began as a hobby soon developed into a business and Dave was soon working on Never Say Never Again with Sean Connery in the lead role.
Other bond films that the Bickers worked on include Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Casino Royale.
Dave said: “It has taken us all over the world but there is a lot of worry as you have to make sure it is as safe as possible. Film work gets the adrenaline going, each stunt is different and you can’t practice them.”
Paul, 45, now runs the business. He said the company has been working on stunt sequences in the latest Bond Skyfall – due to be released later this month.
The father-of-three said: “It’s been mainly working with our camera track vehicles and looking after the motorcycles. We have been involved in a sequence in Turkey where Daniel Craig is on a motorcycle chase in a bazaar and a sequence in London. It is not as glamorous as you might think though.”
With other projects including the latest Fast and Furious film keeping them busy, the firm now employs around 20 people.
Paul said: “Just a few years ago we had some difficult times but in the last three years we have been as busy as we ever have been – we have worked on 20 films in the last three years.
“The Fast and Furious project is the biggest thing we have ever done.”