IT was all so terribly James Bond. I was to wait for an exact early morning time slot in which to call Sir Roger Moore at his Monaco home.

Of course, I must then destroy the telephone number immediately, presumably in case it got into enemy hands.

I was involved in a real life spy thriller at my desk in Redbridge on a wet Tuesday morning back in the autumn of 2012.

I could picture the screen legend lounging in the vast garden of his mansion with room for all those fast cars, nursing a Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred, ready to leap onto his speedboat and into action at any given moment.

The reality was rather less glamorous, he told me.

“I’m just another poverty stricken out of work actor here. Monaco is full of millionaires and in Switzerland, they are used to me being around. It’s no problem.

"I’m just me, just as Sean (Connery) is Sean and the others are themselves when they go home at night. We don’t walk around with a Walther PPK shooting people.

“But I’m privileged to live in a couple of very nice places and, although my doctor doesn’t always like it, I do like to live a good life.”

Judging by the conversation, and the audience when his show followed a few weeks later, he certainly did live a good life.

But I was still saddened to hear of the death of the screen legend this week, aged 89 and after a short battle with cancer.

He was a true gentleman and even took the trouble to call me and thank me after the various pieces were published. I got quite a shock when I heard his dulcet tones on the line as that sort of treatment of a mere local journalist is pretty rare in showbiz circles.

I think his fans thought a lot of him too. I had never witnessed a lengthy standing ovation before a show had even started before, but such was the allure of Sir Roger Moore.

Around 800 fans of the celebrated actor, including some who had travelled from as far afield as Germany, gave him a rousing reception both before and after his appearance at the Mayflower.

It was a real treat to hear nearly two hours of further stories and anecdotes from his appearances in James Bond films, The Saint and The Persuaders, as well as his work as a UNICEF ambassador.

I could have listened to him all day.

A charming man, delightful company and a real loss to the world of entertainments.