Today sees the digital release of one of our favourite films of the year. Eddie the Eagle was marketing widely, and correctly, as a ‘feel-good’ film, and there are few real life stories brought to the screen with as much heart and goodwill as Dexter Fletcher’s tale of the unlikely British Olympian.

The film is out to download today and to own on DVD and Blu-ray 8th August and in celebration we present a recent interview with the director about this year’s Olympics, and one of the cast’s fear of heights…

You were in your early 20s when Eddie competed in the Olympics. Do you remember seeing him on TV?

I was 22 and I only vaguely remembered it. I was more interested in going out and doing God’s knows what, but I do remember him because he was everywhere. He took ski jumping from the back pages to the front pages and he was the most famous man in the country at that time. I don’t think he was even aware of it. He was over there in Canada, where everyone was cheering for him, but I don’t think he knew back home what kind of impact he was having. That must have been quite something for him when he came home and we try to show that in the film.

Eddie the Eagle MovieWhat do you think of the Olympics?

I didn’t get to go along in London in 2012, which I’m heartbroken about. Every time the Olympics are mentioned I’m so full of regret that I never got there. I did make a film called Wild Bill the year before, which was set in that part of London and the Olympic stadium was being built at the time. It was the backdrop to the film. I do think it’s the greatest show on earth and that’s the business I’m in as well. I’m in showbusiness and it’s not lost on me that the Olympics are the greatest spectacle on earth with a billion people watching.

Are there any Olympic events you’ll be glued to this year?

I love the 200 metres, I love the 100 metres, loads of things. The canoeing, the kayaking – I love all that stuff as well.

If you could compete in absolutely any Olympic sport what would it be?

Gymnastics. I love gymnastics – all that bouncing and springing and strength.

How tricky was it nailing the stunts in the film?

We had Vic Armstrong who is the top second unit director in the world and we sent many, many people up there with many, many different kinds of camera rigs strapped to their bodies, their heads and their skis. We built rigs where we had cameras on trolleys and runners attached to a wire which we would drop down ski runs. We had to keep thinking of new ways to get closer to the action, to put the audience in the driving seat as it were.

There are some dizzyingly high shots. Are you scared of heights?

Oh yeah, I am. I never used to be, not when I was young and stupid. The second unit did most of their work on the 14 and 15 metres. We were the ones who did the higher ones. But no-one cares if you’re scared of heights; if you’ve got a job to do you have to do it. This is not a business for softies. You’ve got to deal with it. Hugh (Jackman) said he had a fear of heights when he was young. He went mountain climbing or rock climbing and he got really scared but he said to himself ‘I cannot let this beat me’ so he trained himself on a high diving board to conquer that fear. When I first met him he said ‘I wanna do the ski jump’ but when he got to the top he said ‘No, I don’t wanna do it’ because it’s dangerous.

Do you see the film as a rehabilitation for Eddie?

It’s more of a makeover for his legacy. I don’t think he was treated fairly. I didn’t view him fairly back then, not that I’m berating myself for that. It’s just how he was portrayed at the time and the press kind of drove that as well. Everyone was slightly embarrassed that he came last when the fact is we should have been celebrating that he was even there. I mean, we had no mountains and we had very little snow but the fact is he went to the top of a 90 metre ski jump, came down at 70mph and landed on a mountainside that was extremely steep. He did it for England, he broke records, he was in Team GB and I think the film shows he dedicated his life to it to an Olympian level. Why not celebrate that?

Simon Button spoke with Dexter Fletcher.

Eddie The Eagle is out to download now and on DVD and Blu-ray 8th August