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A model Dukie
Ben Childs
As we Dukies know, all our number display special distinctions in wit, pride and initiative. These qualities have set Dukies apart not only from other school children but later, in adult life, from their counterparts in business and the armed forces. A Dukie is an easily identifiable and invaluable character: we all have team spirit, good manners, are resolute, brave and possess an enormous ability to raise morale; but which of us is the ultimate Dukie?
    Art Cockerill's considerable authorship on this site would lead one to the conclusion that types such as former WW2 deputy chief of staff turned diplomat turned Whitehall planner General Sir Archibald Nye or former intelligence operative Colonel Nigel Wylde might merit the title 'Ultimate Dukie'. I however bring a breath of youth to proceedings. Ah yes, you old dogs may well sigh indignantly at the prospect of what more trashy pulp a youngster such as me can pin together; but we young fools are the victims of fashion, are obsessive of culture, and worship at the altar of gossip. So welcome all to the world of fashion and media! For this is where I suggest the ultimate Dukie is to be found.
     My case for the Ultimate Dukie is male model and triathlete
Giles Vickers-Jones - Iron Man contestant in relaxation mode

turned television presenter, environmental campaigner and three time author Giles Vickers-Jones. His is a name teenage girls whisper ever-hopingly through their lips. Moreover Giles's appearances as a television presenter and especially his appearances on documentaries about randy London sex clubs are the sorts of thing married women record clandestinely and then horde secretly in a small box at the back of their wardrobes marked 'Mum's pick me up. Keep out'. There is very probably a pair of used knickers on top.
     I was at the Duke of York's Royal Military School with Giles Vickers-Jones. I remember him most for his superb manners, an ever happy and pleasing countenance, genuine intelligence and an unassuming modesty. He was a teenager seemingly not teenage. Many Dukies behave similarly, though with Giles this maturity and decency came about from genuine strength of personality rather than the strict regime of a military school.
     When Giles told me he intended to become a male model and then go on to work in entertainment I quaffed with the warrior-like disdain that the Duke of York's Royal Military School's rough and militaristic honing was bound to lead teenage boys to. My grinning reply was, 'If you want to be a fag why not just join the Navy?' (Apologies Royal Navy, the rum and baci jokes must be wearing thin after five hundred years of Army jeering).
     Another amusing anecdote is that Giles was friends with Maurice Colclough, a much older Dukie whose sporting career included playing rugby for England and Great Britain. I met Colclough when he visited the school and was talking with Giles while we waited for our geography teachers. The man pronounced himself as the most famous Dukie living. I confessed to having never heard of him. (You see, I'm a triathlete - I have not the foggiest idea who plays rugby or for that matter football; but I do know they enjoy hugging each other and trying to pull each others' shorts down. It was that which caused me to avoid rugby altogether at Dukies and instead elect myself for extra swimming).
      Giles began at the Duke of York's Royal Military School in 1990, beginning in the second form (year 8/age 13 in the UK education system) before leaving in 1996 to go on to the University of Plymouth where he read International Business and French. His father served as a WO1 (a regimental sergeant major) in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Giles was in his time head of Clive House, a school prefect and a junior under officer. To my mind he had a calm manner quite opposite to most prefects and under officers; his style was persuasion and one felt him to be the type of gallant chap who would lead men forward rather than merely send them forward. My own style of leadership led to my being nicknamed 'Judge Dread': Giles did not share such Spartan rituals. He alone of all the prefects and under officers impressed me most as the very model of a Royal Military Academy Sandhurst-style proper officer. Most of us seemed trained to run at machine guns; Giles had the sense to avoid them.
     However, to be frank, Giles would have wasted his potential with a career in the armed forces. His charm and allure were far beyond the simplicity of barrack life and battalion manoeuvres; the collective and assumptive pretensions of an officers' mess would, I strongly suspect, have been nothing but insult added to injury.

     Instead Giles did indeed become a male fashion model. He is not alone as a Dukie in doing this: a number of Dukies have become male models, benefitting from the physique and confidence that the Duke of York's Royal Military School develops in so many of its pupils. However, as Giles will surely testify, modelling is a short term career; so what does one do after the catwalk ends?
     In the case of Vickers-Jones it was to move further into the realm of show business and celebrity. Giles's first stint on television was with the Dating Channel. I am in no way surprised that Giles possessed the personable talent and mental wit to quickly lead to his scripting, producing and directing a show called First Impressions. While still contracted to the Dating Channel Giles also presented the show At The Movies. Indeed, Giles's own website states he is a massive movie enthusiast with enormous knowledge about the entertainment business in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
     Giles next moved into mainstream UK television, working for Channel 4 as a reporter for the show Body Talk, where he was able to demonstrate his easy going and friendly nature while also
Giles in contomplative
model mode
further developing his own interest in health and fitness. Giles also presented on the GMTV morning show in the slot Lorraine Live.
     Now we should remember that many Dukies, myself included, are extremely fit and do a great deal of triathlon; yet Giles is one of those elite amateur athletes who has completed an Iron Man triathlon. As I do an average of more than 100 miles a week of triathlon I can assure you that an Iron Man is a thing of awe: I certainly will never enter such a dramatically strenuous event; that Giles has done so, and moreover that he finished the race (there is a time delay disqualification), is testament to his extraordinary standard of fitness. Giles has also competed in smaller triathlons, as well as running the London and New York marathons.
     After working for Channel 4 Giles switched over to ITV: he became a music reporter and co-hosted shows such as ITV At The Festivals!; as well as the Reading Festival show and V. He went on to report for The Unprofessionals (~ what? a reference to the Duke of York's officers, perhaps?), a show which plunged prim professional people into the ordeal of working in realms such as a stand-up comedian or otherwise the vitrifying stench and filth of an abattoir. Giles also presented Playdate, an interactive dating show.
     At this time Giles's career went Stateside: he began on a reality TV show called California Dreaming, which followed Giles and four others trying to make it as celebs in Los Angeles. Giles was successful in breaking through the glass ceiling of LA celebrity culture and went on to work as a weekly show business reporter for LBC and later for Sky Vegas Live.
     Having built up such an extensive, thorough and successful background Giles next moved up a notch in the world of celebrity television. His love of movies led to his creating the format for the show ITV At The Movies. This show is now in its fifth series and is very popular, Giles proving an amiable and amusing presenter and extremely popular with viewers, especially teenage girls. It is most probable that when celebs start being screamed at by adoring teenage girls they know then their credibility as a celebrity has truly arrived: so Giles's success now goes well beyond the accomplishment of a mere fifteen minutes' fame. Giles also presents on E! Entertainment, a show that is broadcast worldwide.
     Now Giles was no thick brick at school: as one of a small number of Dukies to be educated at Oxbridge I humbly assure readers that Giles's brains are in the highest order, even if he did not accompany those of us with melon heads up to either Oxford or Cambridge. He speaks fluent French and a little German; and even at school was known as an accomplished writer. (Though like me he often fell foul of the top set English teacher: one still asks 'Oh, Salisbury, what price true wit?')
     Old Salisbury, teacher of English at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, may be pleased to know (secretly mind, Salisbury, for 'tis not the Bard!) that Giles has written three novels. Two were published in 2008 and are titled The Best Day Of My Life and the 7 Worst Men In London (a lascivious tale strongly recommended to bedroom athletes everywhere ~ and perhaps even Old Salisbury will find some similarity in indecency with that classic English slanderer Chaucer?). Giles's third novel is How To Be A Male Model and was published in 2009. Giles also writes journalism for Love It Magazine: his column is titled At The Flicks With Vicks. Giles adds to his US success writing a weekly column for Reveal Magazine.
     On top of all this Giles has recently set up an eco-marketing company that aims to save one million rain forest trees. The company is called Pixeltrees and is co-run by Giles's fellow TV philanthropist Ewen Macintosh - who some will know plays Keith in the show The Office.
     Giles is married (~ so many so much saddened teenage girls!) to Anna; and quite wonderfully it so happens she was educated at Moreton Hall, a school some of my old friends went to. I am also pleased that my assumption on first meeting Giles and his brother Guy that they were a cut above the norm has been borne true: for Giles is not only sufficiently handsome to marry a beautiful woman but also has the social skills and wit to net an old girl of one of England's most prestigious public schools. And all this besides his rise to celebrity.
     So now then, what with Mankind's achievements being the nobler for culture and the arts and for philanthropy, and mindful that the history of academia demonstrates that law and even the sciences are resultant of the arts, I suggest that the generals, colonels, group captains and ships' captains, and even the notable
Anna and Giles relaxing somewhere in Califormia
professors of science who have attended the Duke of York's Royal Military School all bow reverentially to the real Ultimate Dukie.
     In fact, one may aptly call Giles Vickers-Jones 'A Model Dukie'.
Photo credits: OK Magazine

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