Jonathan was on hand at the recently British Comedy Society Event that was celebrating 40 years of the cinematic James Bond at Pinewood Studios and has been kind enough to send in a report from the event:
A bit about the day. Two of us went – arrived at Pinewood at about 11.20 am and were waved through the (famous?) gates – parked the car in a central car park and then realised that we had no idea where to go! Sadly we couldn’t wander too far – large signs warned against doing so, but it would have been great to stroll the half mile or so over to the outside of the 007 stage. I wanted to do that Papal thing of kissing the ground – this is hallowed turf to any Bond fan! We explored the area around the main house including those oh so famous gardens – location work in FRWL meant stepping out the back door! A utilitarian corridor with framed (original?) Bond posters and looking for all the world like… school. The overwhelming impression I got of Pinewood was a fifties school – grandeur that was a little faded but still survived.
The unveiling of the plaque took place a little after 11.30 and was undertaken by a massed group of Broccolis and Shirley Eaton and Burt Kwouk. The plaque is in almost the central position in the long corridor that is the BCS Hall of Fame, together with plaques to various members of the Carry On team and other great British comics.
At about 11.45 we were asked to move into the ‘Pine room’ for Vodka Martinis (I have no idea how they were mixed!) The stars including Burt Kwouk, Jenny Hanley and Shirley Eaton were milling about, happy to chat and sign the multitude of books, photos and posters that many had brought. I had a ten minute chat with Shirley Eaton and spoke briefly to the charming Burt Kwouk about forever being recognised as a homicidal manservant. Michael G Wilson was more than happy to sign my ticket and passed it over to Barbara Broccoli to sign as well. She was more reserved, but I know that she shuns publicity. Anyway, I got Michael Wilson to confirm that he would be a general in DAD – hardly news I know, but all that I could manage. Jenny Hanley was very happy to talk about Bond, about Hammer Horror (apparently Christopher Lee requested that she be replaced by a body double for when he had to carry her in ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’, even though she weighed about 7 stone – he had a bad back (imagine the fearsome Dracula laid low by lumbar problems!) She also told us that we would go ape over the dining room – and she was right.
Pinewood’s ‘Canteen’ is a wood panelled wonder – you can almsot see the ghosts of all of the stars who have made films here. Great food, followed by a comic chat from the cartoonist Bill Tidy and then we were into the auction conducted by Sir Jeremy Hanley KCMG (Jenny’s brother). I’m afraid that I was too poor to bid for the pipe rack that had been donated by Sir Sean, and the tickets to a showing of DAD in London on November 9th (!) (A press showing?).
Then a series of presentations of mementos to the Broccolis, after which, they made their exit and we were treated to a twenty minute video compilation of the humour of Bond, with Sherrif JW Pepper from LALD as a linking motif. The organisers had worked damn hard up to the eleventh hour to create this and their hard work showed – apparently a copy was asked for and supplied to Dana Broccoli – the only other copy to be made. Shane Rimmer had been delayed and I was able to have a chat with him about TSWLM. Again a great friendly bloke.
Overall impressions – a little light on Bond stars – although the charm and friendliness of those who were there made up for that – and it would have been beyond belief to have had a tour of the sound stages, but it was a great event for charity and I felt honoured to be there.
A big thanks to Jonathan for sending in the report and the pictures, it’s greatly appreciated.