Another May Day Bank Holiday has come and gone. Didn’t do a lot, to be honest, but it got me thinking again about May 5th, 1980. That was a Bank Holiday Monday. It was also the day the Iranian Embassy siege came to its bloody end, and the Special Air Service (SAS) became etched into the British Public consciousness. The fantastic BBC website covers the story with its usual style and grace;
BBC websites account of the siege
My memories of the end of the siege are still quite vivid. This was pre-24 hour rolling news coverage, so an ITN newsflash (which always interrupted the usual/mundane programming with its harsh blue background announcing ‘News Flash’) was an event, and enough to fill young boys with excitement and dread. The footage of the SAS going in to the embassy accompanied by bangs, flashes, smoke and gunfire was watched by my family accompanied by ice creams all round, as the ice cream van man was a nightly occurence, and an event in itself. Obviously I dont want to trivialise the bravery of the SAS or the seriousness of the siege (the hostage takers killing a hostage had initiated the SAS response), but the rum and raisin cornetto I was eating that night added to the cinematic atmosphere. It was very exciting.
After that night of heroics, the SAS were (reluctantly) all over the media. Not much was known about them, and the surface was only really scratched on who they were, what they did etc. Inevitably, a film was made about the SAS, loosely based on the Iranian Embassy Siege. Released in 1982, ‘Who Dares Wins’ told the story of a commando with the SAS who infiltrates a radical political group who are planning a terrorist operation against American dignitaries. Lewis Collins plays the lead role, and equips himself well enough (he’ll always have a store of goodwill for his part in ‘The Professionals’. The movie climaxes with the SAS taking out the hostages and rescuing the hostages, with the action based on the events of May 1980.
Lewis Collins. I found out that he was also in a 60’s group with Klaus Voorman, who was one of the Beatles mates and designed the cover of ‘Revolver’ for them;
Lewis Collins at IMDB
I think he should be geting the same amount of respect (and work) as his buddy in The Professionals, Martin Shaw, but he doesn’t. Maybe it was the wrong career moves (he ended up in Italy in the mid eighties making classic video trash like Commanddo Leopard & Operation Wild Geese).
The theme tune was composed by Roy Budd, a Brtish composer probably most famous for the soundtrack to ‘Get Carter’. The theme to It is a fast, furious, funky number, and a credit to the composer, and, in my opinion, a lot better than the film. See what you think.
Roy Budd – Who Dares Wins Theme