Andy Hopkinson: A Eulogy
by Alan Stevens
It's almost impossible to sum up anyone's life in a few short paragraphs, and in Andrew Hopkinson's case it is particularly difficult, because he was, in all senses of the word, particularly difficult.
To say he was a bit of a character would be an understatement.
He worked on what was affectionately known as 'Andy Time', which means he would arrive between three and twelve hours late for everything!
I remember, on one occasion, going back to Andy's flat, having waited outside in his car for twenty minutes. I found him standing in the centre of the room, staring up at the ceiling.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"'Contemplating the infinite'", he replied with a winning smile.
This, of course, was a quote from Blake's 7, Andy's favourite TV show.
It was his interest in science fiction that motivated his desire to work as a model-maker, designer, and photographer; fields in which he was extremely talented. In fact, 'gifted' would be a far more accurate description.
Nevertheless, this tremendous and exacting focus to create extraordinary works had a downside, in that frequently, all other considerations would go to the wall.
Everything had to be done on Andy's terms. If he wasn't interested in something, then he would simply ignore it until the issues concerned reached critical mass. Then he'd call on me, or Daniel O'Keefe, or Gary Holland, or Sergio Azanha to dig him out of the hole.
Why Andy was this way, I cannot explain!
I can, however, confirm that he was loved.
Andy may have been hard work, but he was also hard-working, highly entertaining, personable and frequently very generous.
I bought a number of beautifully hand-crafted props off him, and he would frequently take me, and other friends, around BBC Television Centre and Shepperton studios, to watch films and TV programmes being made, and also wander around the sets... when no one was looking!
The last time we met, he gave me a Blue Peter badge — no doubt in memory of the one Craig Charles nicked off my shirt during a Red Dwarf studio visit which Andy had arranged.
As it happens, the original badge wasn't mine, it was Sergio's. But I have it on good authority that Andy made a replacement for him too, so that's okay then.
Money had no intrinsic value for Andy.
He would happily blow three grand at a props auction, even if it meant going without food for a week.
Maybe that was how he kept so enviably trim?
And another secret never unravelled was how the heck Andy remained looking so young.
I swear, during our thirty-year acquaintance, he seemed not to age one day.
Goodbye Andy, my old friend.
You will be greatly missed.
Indeed, to misquote Servalan from that favourite science fiction show of his: "A universe without Andy Hopkinson will take a certain amount of getting used to."