Along with co-star Ingrid Pitt, he embarked on a tour around the country to promote the film, which had its royal premiere on 26th August in the presence of Princess Alexandra. Then, on the strength of initial reactions to Who Dares Wins, producer Euan Lloyd signed him up to a three-film contract, to be made over a five-year period. "It was a contract that offered me three leads," said Lewis. "A young actor new to the cinema like I am would have to be a fool to turn it down. The two films after Who Dares Wins are to be The Wild Geese 2 in which I play a Lebanese mercenary, and the tentatively-titled Battle for the Falklands about the Special Boat Service. It's a very flexible contract – not like in the old Hollywood studio days – and I can go off and do other things in between."49 The third film in the series would be Macau. "I've signed up Lewis for three films because I think he's superb in Who Dares Wins", said Lloyd. "He's a strong actor with a lot of charisma and I'm sure that with a major campaign behind him he will become a big star."35
It was suggested by some that Lewis would make an excellent James Bond – Roger Moore was at this stage on a film-by-film contract and producer Albert Broccoli had been hinting to Roger that he was screen-testing other actors. Lewis commented, "I think it is time for a change, although no one has approached me. What I would be interested in is a new character, starting from scratch - an Eighties version of Bond, getting away from the gadgets a bit. When Connery started you really believed he could kill someone with his bare hands. He was an animal, but a smooth one. Since then, Bond has been watered down. As Skellen I don't out-Bond Bond – I deal in fact. I don't go around with rockets in my lighter. I think what the Bond films need is a more gripping storyline. The public needs to be more involved with the character. You need a human being the public cares about. So why not have a new character and call him Skellen? There is no reason why he couldn't leave the Army and get up to new adventures."51
He did however have an interview with Albert Broccoli, but things didn't go too well: "It would be nice to get back to the original Bond. Not the character created by Sean Connery, but the one from the books. He's not over-handsome, over-tall. He's about my age and has got my attitudes. I was in his (Broccoli's) office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds. I have heard since that he doesn't like me. That's unfair. He's expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around. I think he's really shut the door on me. He found me too aggressive. I knew it all, that kind of attitude. Two or three years ago that would be the case, purely because I was nervous and defensive. I felt they were playing the producer bit with fat cigars. When someone walks into their office for the most popular film job in the world, a little actor is bound to put on a few airs. If Cubby couldn't see I was being self-protective I don't have faith in his judgement".70 So that appeared to be that.
On the musical front, at long last, a single was released on the 24th September, entitled When You Come Home Again. "It is a love song," said Lewis, "but while I was recording it, I'd just heard that a friend who'd gone to the Falklands with the Task Force, would not be coming home. The words seemed particularly poignant at the time."54 It was backed with Take It Out On Time which was more in the rock vein. "It's seventeen years since I last made a record so it was a nerve-wracking experience,"54 he said. Its greatest success was in Germany, where The Professionals had been a tremendous hit that year, helping to swell the ranks of the Friendship Circle to even higher numbers. Their May disco, timed to coincide with Lewis's 36th birthday, had seen fans travelling from Germany and the United States in the hope of meeting him. Lewis also made his début as a T.V. presenter, on Stuntman Challenge, in which he interviewed the contestants as well as co-presenting the show. And still amidst all this were the endless personal appearances up and down the country.
Having gone from playing an ex-S.A.S. paratrooper in The Professionals, to becoming a paratrooper in real life, to portraying an S.A.S. officer in Who Dares Wins, Lewis was now widely regarded as Britain's leading action star, and seemed to have the world at his feet. There was even a proposal for him to become the hero of a cartoon-strip adventure series in a well-known boys' comic. Then, out of the blue, Lewis announced he was going to appear in pantomime that Christmas, in Cinderella. "I like showing off and doing something different," he said. "I enjoy keeping myself on my toes and surprising people."52 Playing Prince Charming, a part normally played by a girl, certainly surprised many, but Lewis said, "I'm really looking forward to it.53 It'll be good to feel the boards under my feet again. I'd have preferred a slapstick rôle, but I shall play Prince Charming straight."53 adding, "I always wanted to play in pantomime. If I don't do it now I'll never do it!"5 This eventful year, in which so many things appeared to be happening, was rounded off with Lewis being the subject of This Is Your Life, a T.V. programme in which noteworthy people were 'surprised' by the host and taken to a T.V. studio where friends, family and colleagues sing their praises.
For Lewis, 1983 began with several ideas in the pipeline, but nothing immediately lined up - Euan Lloyd had not yet secured the necessary finances for his next picture. But Lewis was quite certain of what he wanted to do. "I want to concentrate on the cinema at the moment, with a view to possibly directing in the future. I always watch and ask questions during a shoot – which is how Clint Eastwood started, after all. I won't be directing for some time though because I believe in doing one thing at a time and mastering it before moving on. I would love to do a comedy film. It appeals to me a great deal and I've already done various Neil Simon comedies in the theatre. In fact, if no other film rôle comes my way before the filming of The Wild Geese 2 that's where I'll be going, back to the stage. It recharges the batteries, refreshes your interest in the acting business and gives you your lump of sugar at the end of each evening in the form of applause. It does ensure a lot of good to get back on the boards again.50
"I'd really like to do something different - play someone who doesn't carry a weapon.44 The problem is convincing people that I can do more than Bodie. Unless they see you do something different it never occurs to them that you can. I've played the Marquis de Sade, Tamburlaine, Ulysses, Lear, Mack The Knife - and they're just a few. But it's all been in the theatre. Still, there are a lot of casting people and producers and they can hear through the grapevine that I was pretty good in the theatre, so they might try me out. You have to be careful to sustain fame and fortune, and to keep the balance between art, respect and commerciality. It's a knife-edge."50
Lewis was voted Britain's sexiest man in 1983, to which he responded, "You should see me in the morning! At 36, I think I've had my day. I'm not entirely convinced I have the sort of face that ages gracefully. I have always thought of sex symbols as Sean Connery or Clark Gable."56 In fact he was beginning to find the sexy macho image really tiresome, as he had hardly any privacy any more. "I've been given this bastard and tough-guy image and it's gone on and on until it's gone off somewhere where I haven't got hold of it any more. I just don't think the whole thing is entirely fair. I suppose people could turn round to me and say 'Yeah, we have given you this image and it's made you a star and everyone is wild about you.' But it has all become so far removed from the way I am that it makes me nervous of everything I say and do. In some ways I know I am a property. I am like a car the film company is trying to sell. That means I'm always having to try to be the way people want me to be. Until I get inside my own four walls I'm perpetually on show, see, I'm always in the showroom. The pleasure of being famous lasted exactly six months and after that it became a job. Then it became a boring job."57
"I think it would be nice to whitewash the old image, clean the slate and start again. I think a little diversification would be a good thing – people will accept it."56 In this vein, Lewis changed direction again and starred in A Night On The Town, a T.V. celebration of the songs of the thirties, singing and dancing along with Elaine Paige, Anne Reinking and Eartha Kitt. "After four-and-a-half years of Bodie, I need to keep surprising myself,"50 he said. "The exciting thing about being me is that I never know what is going to happen next!"29