There was a period when the one thing Simon and Mark agreed on was that Local Hero was the second-best film ever. That seems to no longer be the case, judging from Mark Kermode's All Time Top 10 Best Films Evs - but undeniably both Doctors still love it.
For The Culture Show, Mark interviewed Local Hero's director, Bill Forsyth (who once described the film as "Brigadoon meets Apocalypse Now") by talking to him during a special screening of a restored print - thus massively violating the Code Of Conduct and causing Mark to issue a rare, but "unequivocal, thorough and absolute", apology.
Following the broadcast of the Culture Show piece, Rachael George in Edinburgh wrote in pointed out that while she usually agreed with the idea that few films couldn't be improved with an exploding helicopter, Local Hero was probably one of them - although if Jenny Seagrove had been in a second one at the end that would have been ok, given how terrible her attempt at a Scottish accent is.
George had actually been in the audience for the Culture Show screening and reported that they had been forced to do a retake because Mark's attempt to play the bagpipes was so poor that the first response was complete crowd silence. "Whether this indicated mute horror or complete indifference was unclear, but I sensed Mark's disappointment," George added.
Meanwhile all this gave Mark the chance to tell three Local Hero anecdotes:
- Robin Williams' Scottish accent in Mrs Doubtfire is actually an impression of Forsyth, the two of them having worked on Being Human directly before Williams made Mrs Doubtfire
- That when Jenny Seagrove is asked about seals, they cut to footage of sea lions - Mike Bradsall, a very good friend of Mark's, saw some footage labelled "seals" and put it in without checking
- Forsyth was offered £2m by the film's producers for an ending to be reshot in which Mac decides to say; rather like Frank Darabont with The Mist, Forsyth refused and stuck with a downbeat ending (albeit not "the most depressing ending in film history.") Under pressure from the American financiers, producer Bill Puttnam begged Forsyth to do something - and at the very last minute, Forsyth took an offcut of the phone box and put the sound of a telephone ringing over the top of it, which has become one of the great final shots in film. Simon described this as "a compromise that is both creative and better than the original", to which Mark replied "very much like you and me, in fact."