Veteran stuntman’s career of thrills and spills

Alan Stuart on set with Sammy Davis Junior
Alan Stuart on set with Sammy Davis Junior

Lewis Brown meets Alan Stuart, of Bracklesham, Britain’s oldest registered stuntman

He’s put his head through a windscreen to help show the nation the importance of wearing a seatbelt when driving.

He’s crashed hundreds of cars, including one through a double decker bus, and has been set on fire in a fight.

He has worked with many famous film stars including Harrison Ford, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, John Thaw and Charles Dance.

Meet 80-year-old Alan Stuart, the oldest registered stuntman in the UK.

Hobbling a bit to get to his seat for my interview, he said: “I knew this injury would catch up with me.”

He is referring to a stunt he pulled off in a film called Fox Bat, where he drives up a ramp and into the top of a double-decker bus before smashing through the other side. This was all filmed in Hong Kong.

Alan had broken his ankle during the stunt – but aside from this injury he looks in remarkably good shape for his age, even sprightly considering the kind of life he has led.

His favourite stunt? “Getting the job,” he quipped.

“I was always fitness-mad: I could drive, I knew how to handle a car and I did judo in my uncle’s classes.”

Based on these skills Alan started doing extras work in acting, falling from walls and down the stairs – that kind of thing.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and he has been doubles for the likes of Michael Caine, John Thaw and Peter Sellers to name but a few.

Speaking to the Chichester Probus Club, where he is a member, he said: “Years ago we couldn’t send guys out to Hollywood.

“But there’s one thing you can’t teach – and that’s bottle.”

Alan appeared in a film called Salt and Pepper as a cop, which starred Sammy Davis Junior and Peter Lawford in 1968.

“I was doing a car chase in the street. Sammy used to tell stories all day, when we weren’t shooting,” he said.

Alan has appeared in more recent films such as Love Actually, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (during the nightbus scene) and Neverland.

For the full interview with Alan see this week’s Observer, out now.