Suffolk motorists drive film legend mad

HE'S a star of stage and screen who loves the tranquillity and slow pace of country life in rural East Anglia.But there's one thing that drives Lord Of The Rings and Titanic star Bernard Hill mad about Suffolk - the county's motorists.

By Jonathan Barnes

HE'S a star of stage and screen who loves the tranquillity and slow pace of country life in rural East Anglia.

But there's one thing that drives Lord Of The Rings and Titanic star Bernard Hill mad about Suffolk - the county's motorists.

“Beware Suffolk drivers smoking a pipe or wearing a hat,” the actor told a national newspaper. “Pipe smokers are dozy b****rs anyway - they think they are still in their living room so they don't really pay enough attention. And if they wear a hat that means they think they are out for an afternoon stroll and they'll be looking everywhere but the road ahead.”

Hill, 61, who found fame playing Yosser Hughes in TV series Boys From The Blackstuff, moved to a village near Halesworth about 10 years ago.

And, despite appearing in some of the biggest films in the past 10 years - he was King Théoden in the Lord Of The Rings films and the captain of the Titanic in the blockbuster starring Leonard di Caprio - he said he is seldom stopped in the street. But the roads are a different matter.

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“They drive around here at 10mph below the speed limit,” he said. “There's never any urgency - they just poodle around. If you are late, you have to overtake, but as soon as you try that they won't let you past. They pull out and close the gap or accelerate when you are coming up on the outside. Well, if they try that I make my feelings felt - I will pull in front of them and give them hand signals.”

Manchester-born Hill said, in an interview about his favourite cars, he now keeps a classic 1958 rag-top Land Rover and a Discovery, which he explained he needed to take his son, Gabriel, to school each day in Southwold.

Hill, who played former Home Secretary David Blunkett in last year's docu-drama A Social Secretary, has a new film out this year, Save Angel Hope.

But he said his secluded life in East Anglia meant the big roles were increasingly hard to come by. “It's all about ideal age and size, and I'm neither,” he said. “You've got to live in America if you want to be busy at my age.”

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