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Breakfast with Frost
BBC Breakfast With Frost Interview with Roger Moore on Sunday 15 June 2003.

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

Roger Moore
Roger Moore, aka James Bond, knighted for his work for UNICEF
DAVID FROST: Now on Friday the Queen's Birthday Honours were announced while all this stuff was going on about reshuffles and so on. More than a thousand people recognised for their contribution in one field or another. The person who created most stir, a play on words intended there by most people usually, was an actor famous for many roles. Above all though, one iconic persona.

(clip from Bond film)

There it is, . Roger, good morning and congratulations.

ROGER MOORE: Good morning. Thank you Sir David, thank you very much.

DAVID FROST: And incredibly well deserved. This has perhaps been your greatest role, your role for UNICEF in many ways, hasn't it?

ROGER MOORE: Well a role implies one is playing it, being an ambassador. It's real life, you know, raising the eyebrow for Bond was one thing, or The Saint. But raising awareness for children is much more important.

DAVID FROST: Absolutely.

ROGER MOORE: By the way, Lady Moore sends you her love, and to Lady Corina.

DAVID FROST: Oh, very nice too, and send Lady Moore, I hope she's getting used to her new nomenclature.

ROGER MOORE: Yes, she's wearing a hat and standing by the camera.

DAVID FROST: Excellent, excellent. How did the relationship begin with UNICEF, Roger, was it 1991?

ROGER MOORE: 1991, yes, Audrey Hepburn asked me if I would co-host some International Awards from Amsterdam, she said would you come on the day before the Awards. So I said, why Audrey, if we're going to read it off a crawl. She said, no I want you over, a press conference. I said, but I don't know enough about UNICEF to handle a press conference. She said don't worry, they only want to talk about movies, so it'll be fine. And she was right, they only wanted to talk about movies but she would not let them. She spoke with tremendous passion about the plight of children. She would never let them get back to movies, she kept on the issues that were facing children then and which still face children today. Terrible statistics, 40,000 children dying a day at that time. Have we gone forward? We've reduced it yes by 28,000 so we've saved some, but it's not enough, we've got to save more and that's why I have been working these last 12 years and with Christine at my side we travel the world, visiting various projects, water projects, health projects and also fundraising awareness, raising money for elimination of iodine deficiency disorders, which I'm sure you know what that is. The lack of, all we need in our lifetime is one teaspoonful of iodine spread out through our life. If we don't have that then we can miss our IQ by ten per cent, we could be born cretins, we could be still-born. We could be born suffering with dwarfism and this is one of the things that we work on a great deal throughout the world.

DAVID FROST: And you said on one occasion that among the things that you constantly recall from these tours is, you said I remember the smells, you said poverty has a smell.

ROGER MOORE: Yes, it's something you don't see when you see the images on television or on the cinema screen. It is the absolute appalling smell of poverty. And it's not because people don't wash, it's just, it is there, it sort of gets into your system. You know that you're going to smell it. The other smell of course which is frightening, is the smell of burning flesh, and that remains with the victim for many, many years. And I remember going to a hospital in Salvadore and I was about a quarter of a mile away and I could smell. I knew exactly what I was going to see, I was going to see the same sights that I had seen at East Grinstead in visiting the burns hospital, except the facilities weren't quite so good in Salvadore. And one other one of the reasons that I work continually with UNICEF is that in terms of fundraising which I've discussed with you when we've done change for good interviews, and they at British Airways, have raised 16 million. The important thing about UNICEF when it raises money is that, and this is what people don't really know, is that we're a charitable organisation. We rely on charitable donations from governments and from individuals and from corporations. We have to spend money in administration, but out of every dollar we raise only nine cents goes on administration. 91 cents goes to work for the children and 80% of UNICEF volunteers are in the field, are workers, are in the field.

DAVID FROST: I'm worried about, Roger ...

ROGER MOORE: Very satisfying.

DAVID FROST: Of all the sights you see and in all the tours you've made, what is the one that sticks with you the most?

ROGER MOORE: Well, to see a child without arms, having her body destroyed by a landmine, that remains. An old lady's eyes, watery eyes, as she looked at me in Zambia last year. And she said, we used to live like human beings and now we live like animals. They were grubbing in the ground getting roots, and the old people ate the roots. If they survived the children could then eat them. But there were no middle-aged people, there were no people to plant, they were dead or they were incapacitated by HIV Aids. It's a frightening situation throughout Africa, the HIV Aids system.

DAVID FROST: It is indeed and looking back over your life before UNICEF, I mean, that's still full of happy memories. This is more serious now, this is more passionate now, but you still have the happy memories of your career do you?

ROGER MOORE: Oh, very much so and I'm very grateful to what I was able to do in television and movies. One thing I feel ashamed about is having been on all those locations, you know, where there is desperate poverty, and being, all I was worried about was, is my dinner suit looking smart, is there a mark on my shirt, where is the nearest toilet, I was worrying what we were going to have for lunch. I was not really being aware of what was going on in the world and I'm forever grateful to Audrey for opening my eyes.

DAVID FROST: Absolutely, and while we congratulate you so much Roger, and we wish you all the best with the future, with Lady Moore and the future with UNICEF as well. Thank you very much for joining us on this happy day, talking about a sad subject.

ROGER MOORE: It took years to be with you.

DAVID FROST: Yes, and it happened at last. We chose the right moment. Thank you very much to Roger Moore there talking about his work as a UNICEF Ambassador since 1991, a great extension to an already full life. INTERVIEW ENDS.


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