David Thorpe Photography

Professional Pix

Pictures for Money

This is Gladiator Wolf, real name Michael Van Wijk with his girlfriend, now wife, Paula.

Sometimes studio work is sheer pleasure. It's a regular newspaper and magazine ploy to show you familiar faces doing unfamiliar things. So we thought we'd bring Wolf into the studio and picture him ballroom dancing. The big tough scowling and intimidating guy on Gladiators as a pussy cat.

Wolf and Paula had great fun in the studio. In person, he's a funny and engaging guy and with equally enthusiastic and lithe Paula, they really got into the dancing. So much so that in doing this particular shot, Paula hurt her back. I felt a bit guilty about that. As you get into the moment, seeing only your picture, you urge people on. It makes for good pictures but you can take it too far. I believe he and Paula are in New Zealand now.

Talking of overdoing it, many years ago I went down to Hampshire to photograph Dickie Davies, a top sports commentator at that time. I was taking pictures of him riding a horse and suggested a small jump might be a good pic. He was up for it. Unfortunately, he came off the horse. It made a good set of pictures and the paper used them. That Saturday I was watching TV to se how he was and they announced that he would not be appearing owing to a horse riding incident. Oh dear, that was my fault! I phoned the duty office at ITV World of Sport to say sorry. He sent me a nice little note saying it wasn'tmy fault.

Even so, it was the only Saturday he ever missed and I probably shouldn't have encouraged him.