From selling beer to starring in a Bollywood movie, MAXINE GORDON meets the York dad of three who has ditched a career in sales for life in the limelight

TAILORS came from India to fit Guy Slocombe for his part in Bollywood big budget movie Gold, filmed in Yorkshire – including at York City's football ground.

Guy had a small role in the movie, a huge production shot in Yorkshire last year about the world-beating Indian hockey team at the 1936 and 1948 Olympics.

"I play an English hockey official. It was great to film on such an epic scale. It was a huge production and we filmed in and around Leeds and Bradford. Bradford Grammar school was one of the places used because it looks like a gentlemen's club."

London-born Guy is 50 but has lived in Yorkshire since he was 19. He hasn't lost his southern tones and his voice has a deep mellowness reminiscent of Simon Callow.

"For my speaking part in Gold, I had to give a more heightened version of myself," says Guy, who lives in Dunnington, just outside York, and has three sons. "All our costumes were made in India; they flew out tailors from India, and we had to have fittings for our suits which were all in the style of the 1940s.

"I had to smoke a pipe – which added a different dimension to the 'lights, camera, action' as they had to add 'pipe'. I felt like Popeye trying to puff on this thing to get it going!"

The film, which will be released in August, features top Indian actor Akshay Kumar and was shot at a string of Yorkshire locations including Bootham Crescent in York, which doubled as Berlin's Olympic stadium and had Nazi flags hung over the terraces during filming.

Also featured are Bradford's Midland Hotel, Harrogate's Old Swan Hotel and Dalton Mills in Keighley, which became a German army camp. Besides York FC, the homes of Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos also made it into the Bollywood epic.

Guy's role is the highlight of his new career. Just four years ago, he left his job in sales for a large drinks company to follow his dream of becoming an actor. In that short time, he has managed to establish himself as a successful voiceover professional providing commentary on everything from TV and radio to commercials and presenting.

The boom in digital media keeps him busy too as he works on apps, video games, ebooks and elearning projects.

When we meet for a coffee, I ask him how he would describe his much sought-after voice? "It's hard to know what you sound like: you have to ask other people. They say it's 'warm, velvety and engaging'."

One thing is for certain – people like it, and it is certainly bringing him plenty of work. He now has a recording studio at his family home, where he can produce materials to broadcast-standard and work remotely on projects across the world.

On one occasion, he had to send some live voiceover down the line to a studio in Las Vegas, which was then being sent on to California to be edited for a film to be show at the UN the following week.

And he remembers turning up at a studio in York, for a project with the Royal Navy to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. "I arrived at the studio, ready to be an admiral, so I was going to be very RP and posh. At the end of the session, they turned round and said: 'Can you do a Cockney accent. I said 'yeah, ahwight', so we ended up doing that as well. That was fun!"

The work is certainly varied – and colourful. To date, he has played a serial killer, pretended to be Star Wars favourite CP30 and dressed up as Charles I for a visitor information film at a Scottish museum.

Guy had enjoyed drama and taking part in productions at school and university – and decided to return to his first love a few years ago.

"I got to 46 and decided I wanted to do something I was really passionate about. I had enjoyed working in the drinks industry, but there was still an unfulfilled element.

"It's easy to be cynical about dreams and ambitions as you get older. The one thing I have learned is that if you love what you do you will be happier and be incredibly motivated. With perseverance, good things will come."

Guy began retraining at the Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA), beginning with adult evening classes. "The training was brilliant. You would be filmed and get instant feedback on how you were performing. You learned how to prepare a script, how to get into character and I even did a course on method acting."

He now has an agent, through YAFTA, and is making a real go of his new career.

One of his first jobs was for a Channel 5 real crime programme where they staged a reconstruction of the murders of serial killer Peter Moore. "He was Wales's only serial killer," begins Guy. "My YAFTA training allowed me to get into the character. I had to get into quite a dark place so I could believe in the character."

Looking ahead, Guy is hoping to land more speaking roles in films and television.

He said: "The beauty of things is that there is a vibrant film industry here in Yorkshire. Gold is just one of two or three Bollywood films being made in Yorkshire.

"Yorkshire is a very attractive place for filming."

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