Never say never again: When celebrities eat their words

In 2015, John Cleese said there was “no way” he’d ever work at the BBC again. Now he has changed his mind after announcing he will make a new BBC sitcom that will reunite him with his Clockwise co-star Alison Steadman.

Cleese isn’t the first celebrity to go back on his very public word. From Charlie Simpson’s Busted to Bond star Sean Connery, it’s wise to never say never again.

Charlie Simpson – Busted

There are some bands that will never get back together. Abba. The Jam. The Smiths. Then there are those that “will never get back together”. Like The Stone Roses. And Busted.

The group that had eight top 10 hits in the 2000s, and sent many a teenage girl all aflutter, split in 2005 when frontman Charlie Simpson left.

Simpson told BBC Newsbeat “not in a million years” would they reform. But some 999,990 years before that date, Simpson announced they were getting back together after all.

Speaking at the time of their reunion in November 2015, Simpson said: “I reckon I said it 20 more times than that, privately and publicly, and I meant it every single time.

“But as I say, I have changed my mind, and that has been down to the circumstances changing. I never thought we would get to a point where we were in a studio writing music we all got behind creatively and that was a huge shock to me.”

The band played UK arenas in 2016 with the aptly named Pigs Can Fly Tour.

Ricky Gervais – Golden Globes

When Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globe awards in 2010, offending half of Hollywood in the process, he told the relieved A-list audience: “It’s OK folks, I won’t be doing this again.”

But he returned the following year, and again in 2012, before announcing very publicly he would not be back.

On his blog after the 2012 ceremony, the acerbic comic wrote: “I’ve told my agent to never let me be persuaded to do it again though. It’s like a parachute jump. You can only really enjoy it in retrospect when you realise you didn’t die and it was quite an amazing thing to do.”

Four years later, he headed back. Employing a good old British turn of phrase, Gervais tweeted: “It’s a good job I’m drunk. Otherwise the thought of hosting The Golden Globes again would seem like a real pain in the arse.”

Election promises

What do Whoopi Goldberg, Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer, Chloe Sevigny and Ne-Yo have in common?

They all should be living in Canada or Europe after vowing to leave the US if Donald Trump was elected President. But they’re not.

Some hastily tweeted U-turns when Trump was elected, others went quiet and hoped nobody would remember.

Goldberg said “I’m not leaving the country I was born and raised in,” while Schumer used social media to declare her pledge to move to Spain was merely a “joke”.

Cyrus released an emotional video the morning after Trump’s win saying she “accepted” the new president.

Samuel L Jackson, who had been succinct in his intentions, also backed out. “If that mother… becomes president, I’m moving my black ass to South Africa,” he said.

He didn’t.

Charlie Chaplin

In the early 1950s, Charlie Chaplin reportedly said he had “no further use for America” and “wouldn’t go back there if Jesus Christ was President”.

After a series of political controversies, personal scandals and falling audiences, he decided to hold the world premiere of Limelight in London, where the film was set, rather than the US, where he had settled.

Boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth in New York in 1952, he received word that his re-entry permit had been revoked and he would have to be interviewed about his political views and moral behaviour if he wanted to return.

He said: “I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted.”

By 1972, feelings had softened on both sides and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences offered Chaplin an honorary Oscar.

Chaplin was given a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in the Academy’s history, as he accepted his award for “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”.

James Bond

Daniel Craig famously said he would “rather slash my wrists” than reprise his role as 007 fifth time.

But The Sun reported last week he was “ready to do a final Bond”.

It isn’t confirmed, but the newspaper said film producer Barbara Broccoli had almost persuaded him to get back on board one last time.

Craig is regarded as one of the best Bonds of all time – and it seems the best Bonds are also the most fickle.

In 1983, Sean Connery returned to the role for the seventh and last time in Never Say Never Again, with the title being more than a subtle nod to Connery’s reported remarks that he would “never again” play Bond.

Quite.


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