And immediately humiliated myself when, having forgotten his name, I idiotically addressed him as “Captain Smith”. The glancing look on his face, a combination of mild contempt and mild disgust, is forever branded upon my memory.

I’m not saying that Captain Edward Smith was or wasn’t the chief culprit in the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, but someone needs to explain how Bernard Hill’s performance as this tragic figure in James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster was in itself infamous.

These things happen, I realize, when an obit writer is under pressure to quickly bang out copy but still.

His performance as Theoden hadn’t happened at the time of our unfortunate encounter (sometime in ‘98 or ‘99) but being a Lord of the Rings hater I would have avoided any such mention anyway.