Sid Roberson is an award winning commercials director.
He’s also a bodybuilder from South London.
This is an interesting combination.
(Think Dennis Waterman’s head on Arnold Schwarznegger’s body.)
Sid is a very friendly, very funny guy.
Years ago, Ridley Scott was making a series of commercials for Strongbow.
The agency wanted to say it was a strong drink
But they weren’t allowed say ‘strong’.
So they decided to symbolise it instead.
They decided they’d have a Robin Hood character called Strongbow.
Strongbow would roam the medieval countryside, righting wrongs and drinking cider.
Ridley thought all the actors he’d seen looked too conventionally handsome for the period.
He wanted someone powerful looking, but rougher.
Then he had a thought, “What about Sid?”
So Ridley cast Sid, and the campaign was a big success.
Brilliant visual use of Sid.
A year or so later, Sid was going to lunch with Charlie Saatchi.
Charlie had just bought his first Rolls Royce.
And he was driving along with Sid sitting next to him.
As they waited at the traffic lights, someone started thumping on Sid’s window.
Sid looked around and there was big, furious bloke yelling at them
Obviously someone Charlie had previously cut up down the road.
Charlie pressed a button and the window rolled down.
The man carried on screaming.
Sid sat there looking straight ahead, he didn’t like trouble.
Charlie leaned across Sid and simply said to the man, “Get back in your car or I’ll have you killed.”
The man stopped dead, with his mouth still open.
Sid hadn’t moved a muscle.
It looked like he was waiting for Charlie’s order.
Charlie pressed a button and the window rolled up.
The man got back in his car.
Sid said that showed Charlie was a great writer.
Anyone else would have said “Get back in your car or I’ll kill you.”
And it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
It was “Get back in your car or I’ll have you killed” that did it.
Attention to detail, Sid said.
He was convinced that’s what made Charlie a great writer.
Nice visual use of Sid, words by Charlie.
As I say, Sid was a lovely bloke who wouldn’t harm a fly.
But he didn’t look like that.
He looked like someone you wouldn’t want to share a cell with.
Of course that was all in other people’s minds.
But, Sid knew how to let other people’s minds do the work for him.
When I was at BMP, Sid was directing a film for us for the Labour Party.
We were supposed to be shooting The Chancellor talking to camera, in his office at 11 Downing Street.
But when we arrived he refused to do it.
He’d seen my script, thrown it down and walked off.
Then he’d shut himself in his office.
Everyone was too scared to go near him.
Mike Reynolds, my art director, and I didn’t know what to do.
We were only young kids.
Sid said, “Leave it to me lads.”
And Sid went into the Chancellor’s office on his own.
The last thing we heard before the door closed was Sid’s deep, rumbling voice saying “Look, I ain’t here to mess you abaht, but I ain’t here to be messed abaht either……”
Then the door closed and we couldn’t hear any more.
A few minutes later the door opened and Sid and The Chancellor came out. And the Chancellor read the script very nicely for us.
I think in that case, nice use of visuals and words by Sid.