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The Galaxy that David Whiteley Built

PUBLISHED: 12:07 19 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:39 19 December 2017

Star Wars superfan David Whiteley. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Star Wars superfan David Whiteley. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Ahead of his BBC documentary about Star Wars, superfan David Whiteley tells us which character he’d like to be and which film from the franchise is his favourite

David Whiteley’s Star Wars:

Favourite film from the franchise: I think the fans’ choice is always The Empire Strikes Back, but if I really had to be pinned down I think I’d say Star Wars: The Force Awakens from 2015, the reboot and the seventh instalment of the franchise. But then I love Rogue One. And Return of the Jedi. Actually, maybe it would be The Empire Strikes Back…oh I can’t choose...don’t make me.

How do you feel about the Star Wars prequels? I know they were panned, and they’re not my favourite, but I’ve watched them with my children and seen them through their eyes and I can appreciate them far more that way.

If you could be one character from Star Wars, who would it be? Well it has to be Hans Solo, doesn’t it? He’s the epitomy of cool.

Would you like to meet the actors who play the characters? I’d absolutely love to. But at the moment I am comforting myself with the fact that not many Star Wars fans get to make a documentary about Star Wars! I’d settle for Mark Hamill retweeting one of my tweets about the documentary!

Are there any other films which you love as much as Star Wars? As much? Probably not. But I do love other films – the Indiana Jones franchise, Jaws, Ghostbusters…I can quote huge segments of them, too…

Did spending years of your life making your own film about Star Wars put you off, er, Star Wars? I was immersed in it for a long time and there were periods when it was quite tricky and I just couldn’t bring myself to wear my Star Wars t-shirt or watch a film. But that’s passed: I was first in the queue to watch Episode VIII, The Last Jedi at midnight!

What was the most thrilling element of making The Galaxy That Britain Built? It was such a buzz to hold the lightsaber, a copy which Roger Christian had made of the original ‘laser sword’ which became the iconic image of Star Wars. He explained to me that he’d been adamant that it should be heavy and that it annoyed him when people lifted guns on films and you could see they were light. And it is heavy! For a moment there, I was Luke Skywalker being handed my father’s lightsaber by Obi Wan Kenobi.

Do you watch Star Wars with your daughters Annabel and Cleo? Yes, they love the earlier films. Some of the later ones are too grown-up for them at the moment but I am sure they’ll watch them in time. Annabel has watched The Galaxy That Britain Built several times and at several stages of production – I thought she’d be bored by it, but she loves it!

What’s the most bizarre piece of Star Wars memorabilia you have? I used to have a Chewbacca wallet: if you squeezed it, its mouth opened and you could put your money in. I also have all the soundtracks. I’m not precious about my Star Wars toys – the girls and I often play with my Millennium Falcon which my Mum bought me! It’s a Kenner toy and was designed for the 3.75” action figures. It’s brilliant. You can open the canopy, put figures in the cockpit…I love it.

What would be your dream Star Wars present? I *may* have already bought it for myself. It’s a lightsaber. I probably spent a bit more than I should have on it, but it’s a LIGHTSABER.

* The Galaxy Britain Built is on BBC4 at 10pm on December 21 and then on BBC iPlayer.

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