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The Magnificent Seven + 1

Richard Burton is one my favourite actors and, apart from shooting so well in Where Eagles Dare, one of the other main reasons he would be invited would be to explain a comment he once made about his fellow countrymen “Show a Welshman a million exits and he’ll choose the one marked self-destruction.” I’ve always wanted know what he meant.

Phil Stant shooting skills cannot be underestimated, given that he was an ex-SAS soldier who fought in the Falklands and was a cult hero of mine when he played up front for Cardiff in the mid 1990s, so based on those two reasons alone he makes the list.

Gareth Edwards is someone who I’ve always wanted to meet, and his love for country sports is well documented, not least in the pages of our magazine. One thing I’d have to find out between drives is whether or not he thought he’d ever reach that ball in the game against Scotland at Cardiff in 1972 before going head over heels and covering his face in mud. I can never tell if he had two inches or one blade of grass before it went into touch!

As a massive Sherlock Holmes fan, Jeremy Brett would have to be in the list. Although it was Edward Hardwicke’s Watson who was the more athletic of the duo during their time together on screen (he was a keen fisherman, golfer and even went rough shooting during the Musgrave Ritual episode) I sensed a longing in Jeremy’s eyes to get stuck in. The perfect English gentleman and one for the ladies in the beating line, not least my other half who has to put up with me quoting Holmes on a daily basis!

Tommy Cooper is a fellow native of Caerphilly, and although he was known as being a hard man to get on with sometimes, would be the perfect person to rib fellow guns about their shooting. Just to see him perform some of his famous gags would be worth his attendance. I’m not sure if the fez would be acceptable shooting attire – maybe Jeremy Brett could bring along a deerstalker as a substitute?

The third actor of the group would be Ray Winstone, someone who, like me, loves football, a few pints and a good laugh. As a skilled bowman in Robin of Sherwood he’s already well versed in taking quarry in the countryside and just to have 10 minutes with him to talk about Scum and Sexy Beast would make my year.

I’ve been itching to take my nephew James out into the countryside to teach him all about shooting and conservation, and he would make an excellent picker-up. He’d only be wasting time watching Leeds United with his dad and we can’t have that! The little grasshopper’s mother might have something to say about ear protection and safety given the fact he is not yet two years old, but a brace or two for the dinner table may soften the deal a little!

All of this would have to take place at the shoot in Ashby Folville, which has become a sporting home from home since I started on Shooting Gazette and I know we’d have a very testing yet enjoyable day with the team there.