British filmmaker LORD Richard Attenborough plans to keep going through his 80th birthday, because he can't bear the idea of retiring.

The legendary movie maker, who will reach the milestone on 29 August (03), is famed for directing films like CRY FREEDOM, A CHORUS LINE and the OSCAR-winning GANDHI, as well as appearing as an actor in numerous productions.

He says, "The thought of retirement is anathema to me. I can't imagine anything worse."

But even though he has fabled amounts of energy, the screen veteran admits age is creeping up on him in small ways.

He laughs, "Somebody said to me recently, 'Dick, what are you on? Because I'd like some.' I can't wait to get up, even if it's a 5am start for filming. I have the ability to sleep at any time.

"At my age, the only problem is with names. When I call everyone darling, it has damn all to do with passionately adoring them, but I know I'm safe calling them that."

19/08/2003 17:18