Mr. McPake, the Bond body double

Date: 4th November 2021

Mr. Mcpake, the Bond body double

The latest SFSA blog provided to you by Donald Stewart

“It’s the day that Daniel Craig has booked off for a rest…

On the film set, his body double – some unkindly suggest he only looks like Daniel Craig from three miles away and with the lights off – is McPake, it is Mr. McPake’s day.

Picture the scene…

There are dozens of film people standing at a variety of different locations each one as dangerous as the other with Mr. McPake, dapper in his blue tracksuit and Kappa cap standing to one side of the throng contemplating the first challenge of the day.

The director is speaking.

Well not the real director. The real director is also having a day off.

The fifteenth assistant director, responsible for not killing people when they do something daft, Mr. Nelms, is talking.

“Right, all you have to do is jump off the building from the fifteenth floor and land in the wee river below. All good?”

Mr. McPake looks out from under his cap and nods. “Aye,” he says, “no fear.”

Mr. Nelms nods once and people get into their positions.

Mr. McPake is hoisted up to the fifteenth floor, the water into the wee stream is tested and is found to be at a decent temperature. People wonder why it is that a wee ginger dude by the name of Strachan has suddenly appeared on set whilst they are testing the water until, he dons some scuba diving gear and walks into the river. Once submerged he gives a thumbs up. Realising that this was the wee dude in  to test the depth of the water – it is now over his head – someone begins to question why the guy who is a foot shorter than Mr. McPake would be used to test depth when the call for “action” is made.

The fire starts, Mr. McPake emerges from his costume trailer in trademark dinner suit, takes a deep breath and then, jumps off a burning building into the wee stream. The shouts of pain when he lands are muffled as he emerges limping. The wee ginger dude Strachan shakes his head and wanders off to get out of his wet suit as Mr. McPake nods towards Mr. Nelms.

Mr. Nelms, worried that something may hamper his next stunt rushes over to ask Mr. McPake if his limp is real. Mr. McPake shakes his head. “All good,” he declares. “This?” He points to his leg. “All fine, ahm not putting on an act. No fear.”

Given that this was precisely why they were supposed to be there, Mr. Nelms notes the irony. The wee ginger dude, Strachan plots his next move, and they all walk towards stunt two.

Mr. Nelms takes charge with, “Right, here, what we want you to do is to defeat the three ninja warriors that come at you with knives. Now remember that you are supposed to have a dislocated shoulder, be unable to see out of your right eye and have no weapons whatsoever apart from your guts, guile and the ability to move stealthily like a cat.”

Mr. Nelms looks doubtfully at Mr. McPake’s leg. “Are you sure that’s OK,” he asks. Mr. McPake responds, “I am being completely honest. People may say I’m bluffing or putting on an act, but I’m fine.”

With that he turns, heads off to his trailer for costume number two, the red tuxedo.

About half an hour later he emerges with his leg strapped and his head straight. A quick discussion with the fight choreographer, a few rehearsals with the three ninjas and Mr. McPake looks out from his red tuxedo and nods. “Aye,” he says, “no fear.”

The wee ginger dude Strachan is seen momentarily as he slides behind a massive pile of boxes that are supposed to be empty which he has piled to one side of the set, nobody takes a blind bit of notice.

Credited with set design on this stunt, the wee ginger dude Strachan, knows that the spanners he has placed at the top of the pile, which are in the top box, are his best bet of making his plan work. But, if they do not get pushed over soon, their unstable weight will force the issue so as soon as the words action are heard he knows this has a very real chance of working.

Mr. McPake takes out the first ninja with ease, the second is slightly tricky but he knows his biggest challenge is with the third. This guy is not going down easy, and, in the rehearsal, he felt the third guy had a bit of an attitude. In a clinch he kept mentioning his big cousin Griffiths and somewhere in the back of Mr. McPake’s mind he was remembering a guy called Griffiths who was a bit of trouble at the film set earlier in the shoot. Something to do with a flare was in his mind but he could not place what had happened when he found himself facing ninja three, the second one was now dealt with.

The beginning of the choreographed moves went well, but Mr. McPake was nervous about a pile of boxes he was to be thrown against. They looked unstable and just when  ninja three was about to throw him against them ninja three lost his footing and instead of Mr. McPake being thrown against them, ninja three went flying into them. The boxes fell, the top one full of spanners dropping right on ninja three’s head and Mr. Nelm’s got a perfect Bond shot where the humour of what luck Bond had was captured perfectly.

He rushes over to Mr. McPake first and asks, ”OK?”

Mr. McPake, realising that he may have dodged a bullet, or at least a box of spanners, bods and says, “Aye, nae fear.”

The wee ginger dude Strachan is nowhere to be seen as he had realised his plan was foiled. There was one more stunt to go.

Mr. Nelms, walking Mr. McPake back to his trailer is going over the under water sequence of the final stunt of the day. Things are looking up for the director as he is getting through things pretty quickly and is likely to save the film a few dollars in the process. They will be pleased with him as saving money was not always his forte.

The underwater stunt is to take place in a purpose built water tank that had been brought in specifically for this purpose. People had been planning and working on it for days and the wee ginger dude, Strachan had been supervising the construction and the props.

The idea was that Bond has been dropped into the tank with the trademark piranha fish. All the fish are mechanical, apart from one. The wee ginger dude, Strachan, had found an exotic pet guy online from Lochee who had provided him with the genuine article.

Well, as genuine as it could be in Lochee.

The wee ginger dude Strachan had been a bit unconvinced by the argument when the piranha had come with false teeth, but the seller form Lochee just blamed the local diet for rotting the poor wee fish’s gnashers. The wee ginger dude Strachan had realised too late that there was not enough time for Plan B, brining in one from China, and had to go with Plan A, the Lochee Piranha.

He was lurking about with the trademark bag from a Fayre, with the Lochee Piranha with false teeth, looking for all the world like a goldfish with sellotaped fangs, and a stinking attitude when Mr. McPake emerges from his trailer in dickie bow, flippers and scuba gear.

The wee ginger dude Strachan tips the Lochee Piranha into the tank, unnoticed by anyone apart from one shadowy figure in background who is shaking his head.

Mr. Nelms asks Mr. McPake if he is ready, Mr. McPake looks out from under his scuba gear and nods. “Aye,” he says, “no fear.”

Mr. McPake gets in the tank and pretty quickly, once the mechanical piranhas are primed for action, filming begins. Mr. McPake is able to beat off most of piranha, but he notices this strange looking one who seems to be very angry in the corner of the tank. Temporarily distracted, he then gets clumped on the side of the head by one of the mechanical fish and is concussed. Fighting now, out of panic rather than with the choreographed and practiced moves, the director for this piece Mr. Nelms is tempted to shout cut but the action looks far too convincing and good.

He too notices the strange fish, especially when something falls out of its mouth. He thinks for a moment that this object looks like false teeth, checks it is not in shot and then looks back at Mr. McPake who is valiantly keeping going in the tank. There is only one mechanical piranha left when this strange fish grabs the leg of Mr. McPake and starts to suck hard. Mr. McPake looks down and kicks as hard as he can with the Lochee Piranha being slammed hard against the side of the tank and sliding down to the floor, dead.

The wee ginger dude Strachan drops his head as that shadow emerges from behind him and places an arm over his shoulder. The Big Levein, for it is he, whispers into the wee ginger dude Strachan’s ear as they slide off back into the shadows. Nobody knows what it was that the Big Levein said but everyone knew that this was not yet at an end.

Mr. McPake meanwhile is out the tank and feeling dazed, telling everyone that he has no fear and that is not an act…

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original tale, there is no evidence that Mr. McPake has ever owned a Kappa Cap, unless you know differently, therefore this is clearly a work of fiction, though some of McPake, James McPake’s words have been used.

The fact is that during the week, Mr. McPake, after seeing his side slump to a 5- defeat was quoted by the BBC as saying, “”There is no fear of that [the sack]. And that is me being completely honest. People may say I’m bluffing or putting on an act but I don’t think there is a fear of that. If I’m not doing my job right then of course but that is not my initial thinking.”


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