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Alan Lawson 0:07
The copyright of this recording is vested in the BECTU History Project. Bob Angell documentary director, producer, company director interviewers in order Alan Lawson, Norman swallow recorded on the first of December1993. side one lock on rubber the answers first and foremost, where were you born and when they as
Robert Angel 0:47
well I was born on the third of December 1921 in London in St. John's Wood band railroad and has now bombed schooling. schooling is the age of two and we're the family moved out to Gerrards cross in backs. And at the age of seven, I went away to prep school in Sussex, the normal sort of thing for middle class child of those days and went on to public school at more bruh where I stayed until 1938. What did your father do? But my father was an architect. And my mother was the daughter of an eminent skin specialist. And it's an interesting note that mygrandparents didn't attend my mother and father's wedding because they thought it was disgraceful that had their daughter married an architect in the arts. They ultimately forgave her I'm glad to say him became very good friends what was after what after Barbara? I left school and more Breyer with a smattering of whatever it was, in those days the equivalent of a levels the age of 17 and was rash enough to join the Territorial Army with love of my mates and Gerald's grass, and we thought they were hellish. lads drinking, whether it's brown ale in the local territorials, I can think we were sort of thinking in terms of patriotism or anything else, it was just rather a jolly thing to do. And what it meant was that the first of September 1939, the call up papers dropped on the maton the.on, the dot and the result was that I spent from September 1939, till early 1946.
Alan Lawson 2:40
And the artillery, you have any great interest in films or cinema?
Unknown Speaker 2:45
Robert Angel 2:46
Yes, I always was interested from an early age in the theatre and in photography, and in films, not a film buff, but I just and living Gerrards cross, I suppose denim studios was built, Pinewood was opening. And I remember very well, seeing the, the British LAN van going up the Oxford road every day from bekins field studios, which is owned by British land in those days. And I'm always sort of have a cheap thrill, you know, even seeing this bloody van. I'm pretty young was a near neighbour. And there were always film units on location run there, you know. And so I suppose that is what led me to sort of think about the film industry, which I really knew nothing. I did actually apply for a job in 1938, to Alexander Korda and had a very nice letter from somebody called David Cunningham, the production manager at London Film Studios, who interviewed me and said, yes, they might be prepared to take me on as a trainee assistant editor at a salary of two pounds 10 a week, which was absolutely riches beyond me, very good in those days. Needless to say, the film never came off or whatever it was. And anyway, I joined the editorials and in 1939 came along and I went in the army. So that was that.
Alan Lawson 4:13
But how did you break in?
Robert Angel 4:16
Well, eventually, I had a postponed start and and I was determined to start in the film industry as soon as I got out of the army. And I had been done to go to the Polytechnic School of cinematography. In 1939, the course was cancelled. So I reapplied to the Polytechnic and was rather horrified to find that they were full up. I thought, well, blow me down in six years serving King and Country and all that and then they fill up. So I poutine slightly and thought, well, that said about looking for a job. And in those days, of course, it was the old actt situation and no job no ticket, no ticket, no job. However, I managed to land a job in Mega assembly at technicolour and it was on a shift basis in 1946 mega assembly and technically I applied for the camera department, Frank bush interviewed me and said I'm sorry we have no vacancies. But we I will pass you to Dr. linsay, who was a very learned colour expert, Professor Lindsay I think no Dr. Lindsay. And he said we can offer you a job in Mega sembly I didn't know what it was all about turns experts per hour shift work clocking in clocking out half an hour for lunch. And we have these dreadful progress chases because it was very Americanized in those days coming to see how all the work was going however, it was three strip technicolour I learned to use Belen how foot joiner I learned to handle negative and I don't regret it one bit because later on when I came to deal with labs It was very useful to know what went on then I got the AC t ticket you will remember as well NEC assembly mega assembly Are you remember that? Oh God. Now I have forgotten the name first of all, the shop steward at technicolour was a very outcome, Alf Cooper was a shop steward of technicolour and he was always a guide as far as I was concerned. And I suppose I showed quite a lot of keenness because I was so thrilled to be out of the army and working in the film industry. However, then the Polytechnic came up with an offer of still photography course. London central London Polly, now the University of Westminster
Alan Lawson 7:11
on Regent Street, the
Robert Angel 7:12
old Regency Polytechnic and although it wasn't what I applied for and been accepted for I thought, well, it's no harm to do photography still photography course. So I said, cheerio to technicolour and went for a years course at the Polytechnic. Now in those days 35 millimetre wasn't sort of heard of we used half plate cameras. I think occasionally we got down to quarter blade stand cameras and we learned the basics of photography real a traditional stuff that once again, I don't regret it one learned lighting one learn to quality black and white printing, read neg retouching. And this was paid for by a grateful government that spurred me on. So I completed my year and passed various exams have never touched still camera in anger again, really, but I don't regret it at all. So I then said about seriously looking for a job armed with my AC t ticket. by an amazing stroke of luck. Almost my first port of call was a bekins field studios, where Henry get his was the production manager. And he had been to the Polytechnic he had also been in the army. And he took me on as a trainee assistant editor, which was very, very good break indeed. Because in those days, the cranfill minute was a bekins field was still basking in all the former glories of the war. Vast overheads and unnecessary overheads in the studio and chippies and classrooms benefit as well. However, for me, it was absolutely marvellous because it was the greatest training ground apart from the BBC, I suppose the crown Film Unit, and
Unknown Speaker 9:11
I'm working to
Robert Angel 9:16
I was working with an editor called bill Freeman, who was younger than I was that escaped the war but had done national service. And he was a very that and he was a very, very calm, experienced editor. You couldn't want a better teacher. For me. I've lost touch with him entirely. And I don't I think he moved right away. And I don't think he's done. He stayed in the film industry to the best of my knowledge. However, we were very lucky because there were certain developments going on including world inaction, which was The story was that Grierson invented the name world in action in Canada. When he was appointed to the COI, to run the COI he decided that the crown filming it should produce a series of monthly 10 minute films for cinema release called World it action. Popular rumour is he then so the main once more to Grenada. So, there it was a great development I By this time, I've got enough experience to cut the old sequence. And Stuart leg was the producer in charge of the world in action section of the garden Film Unit. Was that good. I know he was the rival, if you like to march of time called this modern age. That was a rank, which was a rank production. He ran that no Stewart Stewart was the producer over the world and action series. monthly series of 10 minute films for cinema release. It sounds strange nowadays, to talk about the Panic of producing a monthly black and white 10 minute film, but I can assure you with a lot of library material and getting clearance through various government departments. It was one hell of a panic, which again was marvellous experience for an up and coming editor. And Stewart was good enough to also put me on to research, assistant directing, and so on, which again, was marvellous and a unique experience that one could broaden one's training base. That was phase two bekins field studios, filming, editing, editing, everything they had back 10 cutting rooms, I suppose a Beaconsfield and all the facilities are camera department. It was a mini BBC World in action did achieve a cinema release. I don't know what tie up they had a very wide cinema release. And of course, as you know, it was in the style of march of time, dynamic editing. But the big thing it taught me was that the script was all important even for these documentaries on subjects as secure as the dollar gap or capital investment. And still writing was very skillful. Indeed it was the reader to the reader. The narrator was jack Ralph a chameleon under the voice. JACK Ralph are Canadian who had worked with Stuart in Canada. Very nice man who I had dealings with later on. But you get the glory, the subjects. I remember, I think I kept one called wonders of the deep, which was probably the first underwater photography thing. And we made a long version called underwater story. I kept one called from the ground up about capital investment. Think what it would look like I worked on one call for dollars and cents, about the dollar gap with Bill which bill cuts. And that's about the extent of my memory.
Alan Lawson 13:22
If you have any sort of overseas distribution appeal the UK to the best of
Robert Angel 13:26
my knowledge, I think it was UK it was addressed to UK audiences to try and spare them on the necessity of all the cripsy and kind of cuts that we were having to bear even rationing labour after the war, and it was part of a propaganda exercise.
Unknown Speaker 13:50
I mean, the run of the run of the series,
Robert Angel 13:52
I'm talking about nine tene 48 to 50. I should think, because I've worked on various other films of the crime Film Unit, about an old blacksmith and Hambledon and funny things directed by Ronnie's Hark, who his wife just Jackson, the sister of pat Jackson was an editor there a great character who very sadly died quite young of cancer. But I worked with her as an assistant and she was great fun, and although she was a bit of a terror in somewhere is that her husband who was an ex paratrooper, Ronnie Stark had worked on that film at Pinewood about a pair of troops as a technical adviser and that's what got him into development history. He was a charming character works for So suppose now retired and I think ultimately moved to Scotland. Then Then went, right. So now then we will go Very happy and contented, nice Film Unit. I made a lot of very good friends many of whom I keep up with here at BAFTA, but the bombshell was around the corner with the arrival of a conservative government in 1952 5152. And one of the first acts was to close down the crime Film Unit. I have in a scrapbook, all the correspondence in the times saying what a wicked thing it was. There was absolutely no doubt that the crime film in in needed cutting to ribbons. It as I said earlier, it was absolute nonsense to have a studio with plasterers, chippies, electricians and art department a vast camera department. But you had the name and reputation of the Grand building unit. And it's not it's only consideration was for the commercial. And it was able to experiment in the fields of animation and so on. And it should have been reduced, in my view to a small unit in Soho, but keeping the name going. But now the conservatives said cut it finished. What so there we were Dennis foreman, Dennis foreman was a so called controlling officer in those days at the COI. And with the structure of the ground filming it was that the COI acted as a kind of advertising agency. And our actual clients were the various government departments Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Health and so on. And he acted as like the agency man like an advertising agency producer. One of them and his boss was Helen dimou pa who is subsequently married. Okay, so that meant that in 1951 to 200 or so technicians were thrown on the market. Hi, I was completely ignorant of the three, the freelance market and living it still at Gerald's cross and working in bekins field, it was all very cosy. And I really knew nothing. So all the independent production companies and so I applied for a job at the BBC heard nothing. But meanwhile, I was offered a job at the shell Film Unit as an assistant director, which I'd been doing most all flows of Chrome. So I landed up in the strand, shell Film Unit, the famous shell Film Unit, with Arthur Elton, as executive producer and all the well known names Peter Norman villain, Dennis Gala. And I worked with a man called Ron Harris. Yes, where I, one of the people I worked with was Roy Harris, who was a pioneer in those days because he was working on 16 millimetre. And of course, the shell Film Unit. Oh my goodness, the idea of 16 millimetre was apparent to them. There's an interesting sidelight to my arriving at the shell Film Unit, which I didn't hear too many years later, the rumour went ran that an ex army major was being brought in to to boost the discipline of the shell filming
the fact that I had only reached the rank of captain and knew very little about the production was I don't know where this rumour started. Having said that, I can say that probably the shell film in it needs a bit more discipline. It was a very gentlemanly organisation indeed. I mean, it made marvellous films, but the time that it took to make them and one took six months to set up one shot in Rotterdam, clearing it all and staying in the best hotels and flying first class and everything marvellous. But for sort of somebody who still had ambitions, pictures, it was it was pretty frustrating I can tell you. However, I did work on a three d film with Ryan Harris. I beg your pardon. It was not Roy Harris. I thought it was I worked on a 3d film with Dennis Sue gala about about the shell refining refinery in Manchester. And it subsequently was completed as northern Talos a 3d film made by the Polaroid system, but I'll tell you more about That later this is it is of interest to where my career lead subsequently wasn't spotted. Yes, it was it was indeed it was. Well, alright, I will divert telling you that the 3d system, which was around at that time was invented by Nigel Spottiswoode for the 1951 exhibition, and they built the telly kinema. And it was the hit of the festival of Britain I think, because it was packed every night, with a series of films made by all sorts of people. Polaroid spectacles had to be worn, it had to be shot with two cameras, projected on two projectors, and with a polarising screen in front of the projectors, and an extra reflective screen because of the loss of light and so on. So, but it worked. It was a clumsy system, and you are in the hands of the projectionist, each and every show. And if both prints, the left eye and right eye have to be kept exactly in sync. And they had a break in one printer, you have to take out comparable number of frames in the in the other print when this didn't happen. Everybody eyes went all over the shop. I actually subsequently attended a screening in Piccadilly Circus of the news theatre there, where the rejection is laced up the right eye and the left projector and vice versa. And so the absolute blur, and the audience went mad, they said, isn't it marvellous? So
Unknown Speaker 21:37
anyway, that's all gone.
Robert Angel 21:41
Anyway, that was a that's a diversion because, meanwhile, other people from the crime Film Unit, one in principle, Godfrey jennison, had formed a production company and talked to three others, Arthur booster, Dick Martin and myself about the possibility of joining him in a production company. While I was working for them shell Film Unit. Arthur was working still as an assistant camera assistant, I think in Africa was Cyril Frankel on man of Africa, which was leftover from the crime Film Unit at the end. Dick Martin was a freelance assistant editor on feature films, that a school friend of godfreys has always had ambitions to make films together. my frustrations at the shell film units that this sort of gentlemanly behaviour production shedule finally led me to leave on the other factor was that Godfrey had managed to land a sponsored film for this company in embryo to make, and it came about because the crown in the film unit was shooting coverage of the building of Heathrow Airport. And one of the things was the maintenance hangars, which had the most enormous sliding doors are operated sliding doors. And Ronnie Stark, who was the director on the coverage of the building was approached by the manufacturers of these sliding doors. And they said, We want a little sales Phil noon, anybody who might make it, and he knew that we were thinking of setting up a production company. And so he said, Yes, I know, just the people. The company was called scvmm, who made educational supply things. And I imagined that they made sort of dividers for classrooms, you know, they made blackboards and chalk and things, desks. And as I imagined this was a sort of giant addition, classroom divider, and it really was vast. So we formed a company, which we, as with all evil forming companies struggled for days to find a suitable name and we hit upon the name, the Pyrex Lee's film partnership, and assembled in a solicitor's office, who, incidentally, was a cousin of dick Martin, one of the partners jack bull, the solicitor, very nice man in quaint Dickensian offices in Lincoln's Inn. And when we were sitting outside, we suddenly looked at one another who thought of it first we've had what a bloody silly name empirically is the Obama sheriff, why don't we just call it film partnership? And so we went in registered the name film partnership with socialistic Lee and find all four of us for the extent that we formed a true partnership where we're all equal partners. And so the production company was born. And our first production we were so naive, we put on the capital FP one was the savion door, and it was a silent silent sales. film with titles. And I don't know what the saving people thought they were going to get. I suppose they thought they were going to get some sort of marvellous crown Film Unit documentary because we were trading on the reputations of grand filming. And there were a lot of ignorant lads really. However, it was perfectly straightforward sales film, which was quite a rarity in itself in 1952. To use film for sales purposes, and they pronounce themselves very satisfied. We must have had a budget and we did it all properly. I think I edited it. Arthur was to photograph it. I think God redirected. And I edited because dick Martin was still working on something else. And there we were. So we were encouraged provisionally, to form an office to rent an office, and we rented an office in station road herro above a photographer's shop, which was now being run by an ex crown employee, a camera assistant. His name escapes me, I can't remember his name. And we paid ourselves out of the petty cash five bands a week. And our only assets were a typewriter which we purchased for five bands, he was a red tape writer. And amazingly, we seem to go on and prosper. I subsequently discovered that assault by the Conservative government to the closure of the current filming that was that ex employees should be given preference when it came to subcontracting
government films and he who had formed a production company, and we were there therefore offered a film by the COI. It was a film about motorcycling, British motorcycles, and the departments were the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I think it's it's cold. And we got Colin Dean, who was a director of the crown film in us and Australian, very good director to directed. And I think all these years later, it still stands up as a very good film. And of course, it's a very interesting historic document because it's there is not a Japanese motorcycle in sight. I think there's one Italian motorcycle in for the three day rally. But apart from that, it's all British motorcycles. And it's very exciting stuff, a 10 minute film, and it achieved a very wide cinema release. It was called tough on two wheels of the title. So we were very lucky there because that was quite a reasonable budget in those days. For a small production company working out of Hara, you made a bit of money. We made a bit of money. And then now we come to the big 3d break.
I said that I'd worked on this 3d film with Dennis sagala. The company stereo techniques, who are producing these 3d Films had after the festival, Britain decided to go on and produce more, and road show them around the country as a sort of gimmick. So they were looking to put together a series of one hour programmes consistently.
They were looking to put together a series of one hour programmes consisting of short films and roadshow them and run a season in the one remaining cinema festival in Britain, which was the festival and gardens theatre converted into a cinema in Battersea Park. Now jack, Ralph was one of the directors of stereo techniques. And of course, I knew jack from the days when he was commentating world in action. And I had some experience of working on 3d films. So I got together with them, and said, What about letting us make some 3d films? So they said, Well, we could put a certain amount of money forward. But if you find some sponsorship, which again was rather sort of unknown territory in those days, and I had a friend who worked for a company called Aquila Airways, which flew flying birds to Madeira. He was an ex flying boat RF man and I knew accountable how I knew some public relations man who acted for the Madeira wine Association. And so these two it all sort of gradually began to fall into place that we got sponsorship. For hotels for transport, and why and people and so on, to enable us to think about travel film in Madeira. And stereo techniques agreed to provide the balance of the budget. So we set off with Darryl su shecky as camera man. And I was arrogant enough to think that I could direct the thing because I hadn't directed anything, really, for Charles Smith, the stereo technician, and Godfrey Genesis camera system to sue and Robin camfil. On as the writer, comm unit manager, and we landed up in Madeira in about November. All right, all right. Okay, take off. And the result was we took off the news flying in this flying boat, which was absolutely astonishing in those days, because of course, there was a million reasons for delay. You only had to have a slight swell in Lisbon, for delayed takeoff in Southampton, or it was a bit rough in front shall abort the whole thing. So he was sitting around for days on waiting for the call. Finally, we made it and there's really it was really quite comfortable, slow, but quite comfortable. And we I think it was a two week, shoot one week serve and scripting two week shoot. And of course, we had the only 3d cameras in the world in those days to Newman Sinclair's pointing inwards and mounted on a very heavy duty tripod in my head and goodness knows what. And this thing had to be loaded and unloaded from this flying mode. And when the units arrived, we were horrified to hear that it was very rough infant child, they diverted to another side of the island where they'd never seen a plane before. And it landed in this village, and the only thing they had was a little large rain boat. And so this camera was being unloaded. And Andrew Evans, my friend in Aquila airways happened to be the captain. And he was saying, Come on, we've got to be quick, we've got to be quick because there's a heavy swell getting up we got to take off in the past the waiting passengers returning to London that we got on board, the flying boat took off balancing crashing across the waves and dropped to float. friendly. They said that was quite a normal occurrence and they got away. And this if if Syria techniques have known that they are one and only camera in the world was being treated like this unavoidably add kittens, however we got it, Gordon. In fact, I've seen the film, again fairly recently and suicide. There was a screening of 3d films in 1993 at MoMA, and it was shot in ferrania kala, which was an ASR for. In fact, there's a famous quote Sue, when the sun was going down due to some folk dancers turning up in the afternoon instead of the morning, because the Portuguese said, Oh, you asked them to come in the morning. They always come in the afternoon. That should have happened the day before. I said, Do you think we can shoot it Sue? and Sue said, Well, we must prise open the lens. It's a great quote. And of course being Sue it was brilliant.
Film really doesn't look too bad. It was a 20 minute film in colour 3d. And it was probably the first 3d travelogue. And another interesting sideline jack Ralph did the commentary, of course. And the commentary was written by James Cameron, which added tremendous style to the whole thing and lifted it from the realms of common garden. lifted it from the realm of common or garden travelogue,
Alan Lawson 34:11
probably the first time he'd ever done that was it.
Robert Angel 34:12
Now James had written for crime Film Unit documentaries. He is the brother of Ken camera, and of course, and so I sort of noticed him there and admired his writing. And I was surprised when he agreed to do a travelogue. But he managed to get a few political tracks in even to this travelogue. And as I say, it really lifted it out of the ordinary in my opinion. And then, well, then, of course, the 3d things suddenly broke in Hollywood, because Hollywood at this time had realised that suddenly people were not going to the cinema and they were actually staying at home. watching television instead. And so they were searching frantically for some gimmick to get people to go back to the cinema and they hit upon 3d. We had, meanwhile, launched into a second 3d film called vintage 28, which was a short story film. For stereo techniques, and a private investor, it featured the late Julian orchard. And it was a very simple story written by Chris Berry, who then worked at the BBC. And always I met him somewhere and I can't remember where and he always had good ideas for scripts. And he wrote an amusing but simple script about a girl who was mad on vintage motorcars we shot this beautifully. And he had a vintage Bentley. And it was played by Julian orchard hand somehow and American lands up on American servicemen because Don't forget, we're talking about 1952 to three now. And American servicemen was still around. And he had a very smart American car, and he somehow lands up at the Earl's residence and challenge the result is his challenges the URL to a race with his smart American car and his vintage Bentley. And it's very cynical about the whole phrase the thing of vintage motorcars. So it was really a semi documentary about vintage cars. It was again it was 20 minutes, including a hill climb and princes Risborough, which we got all the vintage car people out, and so on. Now, there's a horrifying film story here. But Julian orchard is a very experienced actor, even in those days, had a marvellous face, then announced he couldn't drive. And we had a vintage car. And he still said he could. And so we had a Black Label vintage Bentley, which was the property of the chairman of the Bentley drivers club. And that racing, an American car driven by the American serviceman actor who couldn't drive in 3d. Well, what we did, we had the fellow who put up some of the money, who was a very experienced driver, crouching down inside the car, and operating the gears and the clutch and the brake. And there will Julian orchard merely had to cope with the steering wheel. Because it worked. I'm glad the insurance people didn't notice. And I'm glad the chairman of the Bentley drivers club didn't know. But it all looked right on the screen. Now, I was once again the director of this and it was really my first experience of directing artists and I was pretty ashamed of the result. But again, seeing it in 1993. Again, in 3d, the novelty value of the 3d superseded the ghastly naive it is the story and direction and we just got away with it.
Unknown Speaker 38:23
So we're now sort
Robert Angel 38:24
of 1953 ish, yes. And the situation was having done these two 3d films which have achieved a very wide release all over Europe. In addition for the UK, red being road shown this little company film partnership, and Hollywood suddenly coming into 3d with a lion in your lap House of Wax. What was the blonar devil was the one where the tagline was a line in your lap. Kiss me, Keith. Everybody said How are those flows in film partnership know about this 3d thing? How are they in there? And it was sheer luck that we happen to meet jack Ralph and Nigel, Raymond Spottiswoode and so on. And suddenly we will flavour of the month. And so, by this time, we were getting more sponsored films from the government and from other sources. And we were then with our accountant said, Well, of course you're overtrading disgracefully, you thought, clue, clueless businessman trying to operate this company. And of course, 1000s of pounds was going through the company, because even the most modest film was a few 1000 then, and we have no capital whatsoever. I think I had introduced a tiny business. So what happened next was again, an amazing stroke of luck, so often happens from these things. Through through the BBC paper I have known, we were introduced to Peter hunt and Steven Hearst. both of whom were keen to produce documentaries outside the BBC, with a view to selling them to the BBC. And Peter hunt and Steven Hurst are both friendly with Richard Dimbleby. And so we've reduced, and I'm not quite sure of a setup, but we did all the technical production work, we produce the film first called lake of wine, about Lake Geneva, I suppose it was, I can't remember. And another filter that gentleman directed by Steven Hirst called traders coast, then it became apparent that Richard Dimbleby was keen to have a production company and I'd formed one with I think, Peter, and I'm not sure whether Steven was on the board, and it was called periods and films. However, he didn't want the bother of running a complete production company with technicians and cutting rooms and cameras, and so on. And so we had supplied facilities, the Lake of wine and the traders coast. And we seem to get on very well together. And so we've, when we needed capital, we approached Richard, see if he would be prepared to finance film partnership. So we've virtually formed an associate company with periods and films. And we've decided the four original partners, one of whom had left I may say, by this time dick Martin had left because he really features was his main interest. And so he decided to go perfectly amicably. And a friend of his called Michael John's took over as the fourth partner, and sort of editor of the group. So with all four decided that it could be worth giving up control nominally of the company, if 51% of the shares to Richard Dimbleby for the sake of the name, Richard attached to the company, and we'd got on so well with him, and he was the most charming, marvellous man to work with. I'm sure.
Alan Lawson 42:26
Peter hunt, we're on the PVC staff. We're not
Robert Angel 42:30
far as I know, they were but of course, we were totally ignorant about the ramifications of being on the staff or not. Richard was never on the BBC staff. Richard was always a freelance, Steven McCormick.
Alan Lawson 42:43
Unknown Speaker 42:46
London. I have a feeling that Steve and Peter have to that programme contract I think.
Robert Angel 42:53
There was a series called London time. curse on to panorama strangely enough, because Richard handled it that Richard was always keen to push out into Europe in those days hence, traders coast was really a pilot for a series called a boat euro, which never came off. Traders coast was excellent, Steven, and Steven. The camera man was Arthur Wooster. And Stephen to this day thinks that Arthur Wooster is the greatest camera man in the world. And indeed he is one of the greatest cameramen in the world subsequently become, though, principally from his involvement in the James Bond films where he does a direct to camera out of all the second unit. And although I'm a good friend of john glenn, who directs the James Bond films, I'm sure he wouldn't mind my saying, if you took away the second unit, you wouldn't have much left. But so Steven, and Arthur got on very well, indeed. And we for Richard Dimbleby became chairman, a film partnership and injected capital into the company, and had a controlling interest. And I'll stop you there and we'll
Unknown Speaker 44:21
take that out. We're gonna do this, cut that down to Santa Zander. And we agreed all the way through the first chunk. And Teddy did that. And then we did the neck. So when we got that real, finished, we showed it to Ian Warren, Diane Baker. It was a different woman couldn't believe it? I mean, she didn't say why wasn't it like this before? But that's what was at the back of her mind, I believe. You know, why was I put into a gloom by that other assembly? Why wasn't it like this, all that it It's
Alan Lawson 45:03
it's she's always feels she's being cheated. It's a very American thing Americans think that they don't believe that you want to help them. It's an American business as well. Just film people. I'm going to stop you there.
Alan Lawson 0:08
Bob Angel side 2
Robert Angel 0:15
okay, well under the chairmanship of Richard Dimbleby, of course, the sponsored side of film partnership, developed enormously because he was absolutely marvellous as attending meetings with sponsors, because at that time, he was absolutely the top BBC personality. And therefore, we've virtually had our own way when it came to the scripts of Richard was involved. And we produce some very big film, films for the stock exchange. My Word is my bond is anything that I've subsequently had to produce, again, under the same title, but that brought up to date, and many, many years later. another phone call my word is my bond. This was a showing to visitors to the stock exchange, which again was a novelty in itself. The chairman of the stock exchange, Braithwaite, somebody briefly been over to the states and seen that they had had visitors and the visitors gallery and showing them the film. And he was delighted by this and decided that the London Stock Exchange should have something similar so visitors gallery was installed beautiful girls, show people round and then say now step into the cinema to see a film, the brief for the audience was that it should be made for foreigners and schoolchildren. And so it had to be very simple stuff. But Richard added tremendous weight, tone to every stylish animated film all with actors. Because they wouldn't allow actual stockbrokers to appear. In case it goes jealousy. In fact, the even the names of the stockbrokers used in in the script had to be checked to make sure that there were no actual stockbrokers. And Robin Bailey played the sort of lead stockbroker, and I remember the the costume was a black coat and striped trousers. And on the first day of shooting, the Secretary of the stock exchange, rather pompous man came up to me, and he said, looking at Robin Bailey's hair, which was sort of frizzy hair brushed straight back, and he said, he said, most of our members have parted and we look down on the floor of the stock exchange. And all these bald head is because of those two s's were elderly stockbrokers as ages rather why they didn't say anymore. And we kept Robin Bailey with his frizzy hair, and his black coat and striped trousers, because those were the days of top hats. And of course, another amusing thing about my word is my bond. In those days, it was absolutely forbidden for women to be on the floor. One evening, we were shooting and it was coming up to closing time, which I think was four o'clock when business ceased. And we needed our actors in the foreground and the visitors gallery with stockbrokers working in the background on the floor of the stock exchange. And of course, round about four o'clock, but the Film Unit there, which was a novelty to them, they all started playing silly bees. And they one of the tricks they did make paper crowns, put it on top of somebody's top hat set light to it, and things like this. And they were behaving abundantly. And last shedule was getting tighter and tighter. And Erica masters who was the unit manager on the film, and was quite a fierce lady have a very experienced indeed, she, in desperation, strode down to the floor of the stock exchange, flew through the doors and said, gentlemen, I'm sure I can call you that. Would you please the system help us were trying to make a film here and complete it before you all go home. And they were so surprised that they didn't actually endanger the time on the thing of taking diamond, women's trousers or whatever, women on the floor of the stock exchange. Apart from the queen, I think she was the first woman to appear on the floor of the stock exchange. So that was one big important film, which is shown every day for years, several times a day at the stock exchange. So as I say the sponsored side of the business was developing greatly under Richard. And the whole sponsored field at that time in the 60s, late 50s and early 60s, was developing the use of film for public relations purposes for indirect sales and so on. It was a developing area. We made films for missiles, we made films for taping Lyle and so on and continue to make government films, large number for the services that the biggest development was, again, a rather a novel in these days, those days was doing subcontract work for the BBC. And this stretched from providing editing facilities the ion research director to that time by Aubrey singer to providing production facilities for shooting facilities for various programmes editing Chicago, which was Dennis Mitchell's famous film and things like that.
Unknown Speaker 5:44
Now, that was 16 millimetre, Chicago. The others were
Robert Angel 5:49
I underserved. area now Yes, as far as I can remember I on research, the film sections of ion research, which was really a forerunner of Tomorrow's World, was still shot on 35 millimetre. We only edited the film sections of goals, which were not dropped into the live show or pre recorded show that the big break came I suppose when I don't know quite high the rose I imagined through Richard. We came up with an idea for a series of travel films featuring the Dimbleby family. Richard, his wife, Dennis, David, Jonathan Nicholas and Sally Dimbleby. And the idea was the precursor of holiday programmes now to have holiday advice programmes. The title, which they went out on that was passport. And it was the Dimbleby family on holiday. This was the the idea that not just a straight travelogue. They were actually giving practical advice on prices. And so now, the whole idea of subcontracting a series like this, to an independent company was a great novelty. But find was that Richard Dimbleby has never been under contract at the BBC. And therefore, if they wanted this idea, and they wanted to do multi family, they had to go through his company. Now, the budgets were fairly sparse. Godfrey jennison, I think it was hit upon a very clever ways in my view, and that was he, we arranged a pre sale of the non theatrical rights of the series, prior to transmission. So if we were going to do a series in doing a programme in Makoto zoo, we said to the French government tourist office, right, you will have to pay so much for the non theatrical rights and have to buy X number of 16 millimetre printers. Now, it could be said to be a bit of a wangle, they knew that was Richard Dimbleby. And it was unlikely that the BBC wouldn't show them. We retained complete editorial control, therefore we have to, we were able to be critical. If we thought to go to zero was a terrible place to go on holiday and everything was full of overcharging, we were empowered to say so, but they were shrewd enough to realise that it wouldn't make a very entertaining programme to be full of criticism throughout. And therefore they went along with this. And what we were doing, I suppose, was virtually selling BBC airtime. But as I say, we had those safeguards that we had editorial control, and there was no guarantee for the programmes where it would ever be transmitted. In the event, of course, they will wildly successful, they will, they attracted a bigger audience than panorama. The reason was simple at this time, Richard was such a well known personality, and was renowned for his commentaries of the coronation and great events. And of course, his critics said that he was a very pompous man, and reverential and so on and so forth. People who work with him, of course, knew this was absolutely untrue. completely opposite was the case. He was a charming professional math and very amusing. And so the great know the value of these programmes was that for the first time, people saw Richard Dimbleby without a tie. They actually saw him in a swimming costume. They actually saw him with his family on the beach in Estoril in Portugal, which was one of the bands that I directed in fact, and this was a fantastic novelty. In fact, the greatest compliment we had was Amongst the pile of letters we used to get on the is somebody writing, saying it is disgraceful that even in the Dimbleby family go on holiday, they have to be followed by camera all the time. Well, of course, we in the business now this was all set up. And the way it was done was quite interesting. We had a two week and a week survey to write the script. And then we had two weeks shooting one week without the dimbleby's and one week with the dimbleby's. And we very often went over, went to the same locations to shoot the sync sequences with the dimbleby's because these are shot on 35 millimetre film those days, and I think, right because they were black and white.
And therefore a 35 millimetre sync camera was quite a undertaking. And so the dimbleby's had to go to some of the locations we'd already covered the cutaways staff, to shoot the sink staff of Richard and his family later on. At one time, Richard, schedule was so tight, that we didn't have time to do the sync. And we had to bring the artists, the people concerned back to England and match up the backgrounds with sort of a poster or a flag should shoot the close up to the sink interviews. And nobody ever knew goes the other way with murder on this thing. And there was one rather amusing man in Portugal where we shop the vendors were these Portuguese blokes treading the grapes by hand as it were, by foot in those days, and of course, they had a great thing of rough wine. Every time they went around, they used to take a swig and they got more and more pistols. They went rotten, and started singing Neil's songs and picking up strange instruments. And it looks so disgusting on the screen that we thought nobody would ever think of perfect. And so we had to bring over the the chairman of the port wine traders Association, and reconstructed with Richards barn in hazlemere. May He appeared to be looking on with Richard cutaways of these peoples dumping around the vat. And so of course, it looks disgusting, but it isn't really there because they all wash their feet before they go in and subsequently add brandy, and therefore it kills germs to alleviate this disgusting sealant on the film. Anyway, this series went on and was so successful because they were all overseas, the locations and one first an interesting historical point was directed by Sidney Samuelson in Britain. This was before the days he had his Samuelson. So this, although I think he might have had his his Capra, he was still dabbling, and, and it was one of the most successful ones. We did run in Switzerland, which featured Field Marshal Montgomery, who happened to be in Switzerland at the time. So that's great historic. That was in fact the pilot directed by God for Genesis, and the bernese oberland. The Cote de Portugal, Corsica, Norway, was another one, where I regret to say we almost caused the demise of a hotelier shows you the power of television. Richard was seen staying in a hotel in a small place outside Stavanger, where it was possible to dangle a fishing line into the harbour outside the bedroom window and catch fish and they pulled in the most marvellous lobsters as well. And of course, a result of this programme. This particular part of Norway was absolutely flooded with visitors following you and the poor hotel you suffered quite a bad heart attack, I believe as a result of it just shows you how careful you have to be when producing travel.
Unknown Speaker 14:10
Still a 35 millimetre isn't it? Because you know, you have to put the thing on a tripod, and all that travel programmes came when 16 mil took over, which must have been soon after this.
Robert Angel 14:22
Yes, we were beginning to work in 16 millimetre this time on sponsored films, but I suppose that the BBC policy was that films should still be shot in 35 millimetre I don't know what the reason was
Unknown Speaker 14:40
a bit late. So Dennis Mitchell mon morning in the streets and 59 in 1616 years. Yes, I think I think that most of the sequence where you'd like to sit I was going to say CFDs but the ones that much All solid content were made in 35
Robert Angel 15:02
years. Well, what I was going to say as a result of the success of the first batch, the British tourists people got very upset and said, this is disgraceful. Why no British areas. And so we were forced to make some programmes called no passport, which feature the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall on somewhere else. I can't remember maybe it was just those to the Lake District was quite interesting, because Richard was not available. And therefore it was decided that David Dimbleby and Jonathan Dimbleby should tour the Lake District and David's ancient baby Austin in tour and report back to father who would give the do the narration and give the facts about holidaying in the Lake District. So it was quite a quite a good script idea. And it was the first time that David had been featured apart from as part of the family and the other programmes. He was actually featured and did a certain amount of the narration, I think. And Jonathan, likewise, this time, David, I think we're still at Oxford, and was all set to go in the Foreign Office. Jonathan had been to agricultural college and was mad on horses and wanted to be a farmer. And there was no hint of they're following in father's footsteps. We had a waterskiing sequence on Lake Windermere, which was quite a sensitive sort of sequence. Because of that time waterskiing on Lake Windermere was an anathema to the local residents. However, it was developing as a tourist area. And there was one hotelier who was very keen to develop his so his stage towards seeing sequence, and Jonathan Dimbleby, who was 14, I think, at the time, agreed to be the water skier featured in the sequence. He never water skied in his life. And he was very, very good. And the javelin had had a good sequence, I suggested for the last shot, that we should come around near the camera, and he should fall in. We should think we still hadn't, we just about had a zoom lens. But anyway, alongside this lens in falling in, and that was the end of the sequence. So this happened to you, they did it. And off we went, many, many years later talking to Jonathan, he said, I hated you. For years, I suppose. He said, because he made me fall in at the end of that waterskiing sequence. I said one thing to say is that so dollars? And he said, Well, I mean, you have the direct, I couldn't argue and I said, Well, if you'd only say a 14 year old his pride, squashed by falling in the end of the deacons, we've stirred up a terrific hornet's nest in Lake District, because we were somewhat critical of the hotels right justly for the unit. You know, you arrived back at six o'clock, and we were too late via tea, and you were too early for dinner. And then at 730 that's not serving dinner. And if you were back after 730, and they didn't even say whether the sandwich bar down the road or anything, or law, I'm sort of a stop. So we were mildly critical of the way some hotel is behaved in the Lake District. When that programme was transmitted, all hell broke loose. And there were telephone calls to the director general. And there was I don't know what else questions in the house practically. It was perfectly valid. And I'm glad to say for every phone call of protest from hoteliers and big knobs in the Lake District we got an equal number of people saying quite right to bloody good thing I have improved matters. I'm sure they
Unknown Speaker 18:58
know what sorry, one tiny, tiny boy, we I don't think we've said how long each one was 30 minutes
Robert Angel 19:03
or 30 minutes, or 30 minutes. And each programme ended up with a resume of costs. And this was before the base package holidays. So had to be taken into account the airfare and the price of hotels. And so they were ludicrously expensive. Although one tried to go for cheap Bed and Breakfast places, as well as posh hotels and so on, but before the days of package holidays. Now, as a result of the success of passport, I'm glad to say the people like Norman swallow, were able to who was working with the BBC in the talks department was prepared to consider ideas of subcontracting programmes on anything. And one such idea which was probably the most successful was something that was put to me by Henry Lewis who was our writer, director who had been around us for a while. And it was an idea to make a film about a school for blind children, which was in Sevenoaks, I think Broughton High School, Seven Oaks. And Norman accepted it. And once again, it was set up was before the days of pre sales, or foreign rights or anything like that it was set up as a kind of CO production whereby the BBC paid for film stock and processing. They supplied the dubbing facilities, we did the all the shooting, or set up the production, the editing, and not sure who supplied the final lab costs. But it was a true co production. And our side of the thing, there was some profit written into it. We were so naive that we sold the film outright in perpetuity to the BBC, which rebounded later on. Tell me about that a bit later. But nobody knew about overseas sales. I don't know whether the BBC ever sold that film. It was very, very successful. Because Henry, how obviously a film about blind children had an enormous emotional appeal could have been very sentimental, in fact, turned out to be highly entertaining and amusing and gave you an enormous insight into into how blind people kids especially behaved, was called eyes of the child at one a lot of awards all over the place. And once again, it was very favourably received when it was on there. The PostScript to this was that Henry came up with the idea many, many years later, of trying to trace these children and doing sort of a film which was subsequently called Second Sight, finding out what had happened to them, the blind kids, and he followed three or four of them through one of them become a teacher wanted to become a solicitor, and so on and so forth to it got married, I think, to another blind person. That was very interesting. Unfortunately, although they accepted Henry as director and writer, they wouldn't accept me as producer because they said it had been sold in perpetuity to the BBC, and they had plenty of releases of their own. Thank you very much. That. So as I say, film partnership was developing very well. Although it was always a struggle getting sufficient work sponsored films, because this was the story of every independent company producing sponsored films. What would you be doing this time next year, very difficult to plan. And Robin, always hopeful was a series. Unfortunately, in the 60s, Richard became ill. And this, I'm afraid caused a great emotional downer for us in film partnership. And I suppose looking back, we started to go downhill is perhaps too strong to say, but we we started to contract somewhat, the difficulty of getting vision sponsored films, problem with overheads, costs, and all those sorts of things. Richard getting worse and worse. And over a period of some three years, I suppose we lived with the fact that people said, Well, I don't know whether Richard will last another week. And this is very depressing when you're trying to run a production company, all the water, the above it all. That will fade. This was the case. Godfrey jennison, had left and gone to work for Shell. And Michael Jones had left to go freelance. So it was really only Arthur Worcester. And I left as director that the company was rigid, still nominally Chairman, and
small staff and freelance people. So we carried on and we finally moved the company out to chyzyk to be near Richard. And my secretary, Brenda Perry was went to work as Richard secretary and was a marvellous support to him in his last weeks. When Richard died, we really lost heart, David, everybody turned to David and Paul David really didn't know where to look. And I think the last thing on his mind was carrying on running a film production company, maybe we could have carried on without him and said, we'll go on but we'd lost heart as well. So he very kindly bought us out. Arthur an island. And the company, as far as I know, still sits on a shelf in Richmond. At the Richmond Twickenham times demo bins and sprinters that is completely non operative and Puritan films I think is the same. So, at this stage I Arthur was an I left freelance to fend for ourselves. I by this time that got married. I was married in 1956. And just before we leave film partnership I'm eternally grateful to Michael John's because his wife, Margaret, and my wife, Jean, were young girls who'd come from the country. Margaret, from how my wife from Barisan Edmunds to the great city, and lived in a hostel, I think together, and I first met Jean on my way by train to Michael's Margaret's wedding in Hall, and we never looked back. And I've been happily married ever since. So there I was, I think by this time, 5065 I already got a family. And to be thrown out as a freelance was a bit scary. Were the highest in London and so on. However, I was lucky enough to take to to do a few odd films for somebody called Derrick Knight, who specialised in films for charities for films of a charitable nature, very good films they were. He was nothing of a business man, very nice man. And he was always struggling on the breadline to make ends meet because he was putting far too much into all these films than the budget warranted. One of the films was in fact, corrected by Roger grey. And that's where I first met Roger grief was okay, it was a film about oh, my goodness, what is that dreadful disease where kids go absolutely Berserk for apparently no reason. They look perfectly normal, but they have wild tantrums and autism, autism, autism, the film about autism, I can't remember the title.
Unknown Speaker 27:19
Robert Angel 27:21
was lucky enough to be introduced to somebody called Lionel McCarney, who was a black South African, who was very keen to promote the non apartheid aspect of South Africa. And he was an actor he had been brought over to play the part of the boy in cry the beloved country. Quarter film was a small boy, and he lacked that he was an active anti apartheid man. And he had the most amazing connections around the place. And he managed to get money together to make write a script to make a short film for which he was going to direct which was called Jemima and Johnny. Again, it was a very naive, simple little film about a small black boy and a small but I beg your pardon a small white boy and a small black girl who playing in the streets ran Notting Hill gate, Portobello market and having innocent fun, having a marvellous time, and getting on very well together. And he directed it, he hadn't had any experience of direction. So I produced it and acted as sort of unit manager and helped him along. And it finally finished up with the boy having a den in a sort of broken down house. And finally it collapses on them. And the distraught parents looking for the children find them safe and sad and covered in dust. This was the pre rebuilding of Notting Hill gate area. And then, of course, the telling payoff was the parents of the black girl and the parents of the black or the white boy walking away in opposite directions. Little sentimental, little naive, but quite charming because of the marvellous kids and the locations and interviewed a very wide cinema release date for that. Somehow lanl had found the funds from his wealthy friends contacts, and I hope they got their money back off. I felt good about it shows cinema and it was shown in cinemas. Yes, those were the days when you could get a good release for shorts in the cinema, if you're smart. So that was a very welcome interlude in my time with Derek Knight, but it wasn't too good. The income was very unsure, and then I was lucky enough to be introduced by Tony Squire. Very good writer of documentaries, who had, again, I think, worked at the Grand Film Unit in his time and had done a lot of second unit work on features very experienced in aerial shooting and the sound barrier and different things like that. And he introduced me to Ronnie Spencer, who at that time was running a company called Littleton Park productions, which was a very peculiar name for a production company. It was because it was the original name of the big house at Shepperton studios. And Littleton Park was the production company's subsidiary of British lion making principally commercials. It made one or two documentaries. And Ron is a very charming and very experienced director and writer. And Erica masters who had worked for me as a production manager at film partnership was the production manager at Littleton Park. So it was a link up there. And I suppose I brought all my contacts from the film partnership days, and we boosted up the production of sponsored films quite considerably. Ronnie was still doing commercials largely. And at that time, the bolting brothers were the the name then people involved a British lion, and they decided that Littleton Park was too quaint for words. So we searched for a new name, and suddenly john building. By this time, I'd got an office in broadwick house broadwick Street, which was the headquarters in British law and because so much of our work was in London for meetings and so on. And john bolton came in and said, I've got it. We'll call the company pacesetter productions, and everybody went
did however, john bolton had his way and it was called lion pacesetter productions. And later on, people said, Oh, it's not a bad name. We thought it was sort of trendy. At the moment in regard to date very soon, however, it stock can land this desert became land they said or carried on and I worked very happily with Ronnie there as producer, he was managing director of the company. And until another bombshell, British lion was taken over by icon blank. Anyway, he was one of the property men of the late 60s who was going round with takeover bids and asset stripping and goodness knows what, and I can't remember. No, it wasn't glory. He was a young, a young fellow who had done frightfully well. And it was the most horrifying period of my life and everybody else. But
Unknown Speaker 33:08
where are we now? I'm always asking the same question. What years have we reached?
Robert Angel 33:11
I think we have probably reached the early 70s.
Unknown Speaker 33:17
You mentioned the votings ones for me. What was their involvement with the company?
Robert Angel 33:22
I mean, you have original before? Yes. Yes. I'm sorry. The buildings were the directors of British LAN who were principally studio owners and Shepperton and produces a feature films. And of course building brothers feature films, alternately right ride directed, and john produced and then they changed seats. So but however, they took a marginal interest in documentaries, were not and I always got on very well with john. I didn't know Roy. Great so well. One film we made, which was the most marvellous break for me. There was a programme on television called the laughing Rowan and Martin's laugh. And what one of the principal was Goldie Hawn, who everybody fell in love with all over the world, me included. And one day the phone rang at shepherd and they said, how would you like to make a film with Goldie Hawn? Because what and what they were doing building brothers was setting up a film called as a girl in my soup. And the Columbia I think we're the distributors decided to put some money forward to make a promotional film a day in the life of Goldie Hawn. It was to be directed by her then husband, gastric conus and go out given away to television all over the world to promote girl in my suit. So there we were, with Goldie Hawn, her husband who was a comparatively inexperienced director, he doesn't want to do commercials Peter Sellers and Alec Sheridan was the camera man and Roland Brinton was the editor. His father, Rafe Brinton, a very well known art director, feature films and making a film virtually hadn't scripted about. Well, it was subsequently went out under the title. This is my wife, and it was supposed to be gastric conus husband talking about coming over to England for the first time and Goldie Hawn coming over to England for the first time in working in a feature film with the building rather than with Peter Sellers. Well, of course, Goldie is an absolute natural, and Peter Sellers when he is unscripted and just a little bit of discussion is absolutely marvellous and those two, it was an absolute joy to work with him, of course, and I still have a copy of that film and I still find it hilarious and marvellous to see to see. And what am i great for producers suddenly to be asked to work. documentary producers need to be asked to work with Goldie Hawn and Peter Sellers. So to that extent, the bolting brothers took an interest in us and occasionally found sponsors I think or introduced us to sponsors and their influence was the only comparable to Richard Dimbleby in film partnership that if the building brothers were concerned, people said, Oh, it must be all right. But there was no more than that. Anyway, as I say, we then had this dreadful situation of the whole of British land and Shepperton studios being taken over by this fellow whose name I can't remember. Of course, what he wanted was Shepperton studios, which he wanted to knock down and build a massive housing estate. Pearland D in which was part of the British land group, and had premises in Dover Street, he wanted their property, and they wanted the British land film library feature films. Amazing amazingly, it was discovered that the British government still had one share in British Lyon. And it stated in the agreement that Shepperton studios could always have to be used for producing films. And therefore he was for the first time I think Bentley was his name, john Bentley. I've remembered it. JOHN Bentley was frustrated. However, the way these people worked, and it was perfectly valid at that time, there was British lion and old fashioned company, probably bumbling along, making losses, land pay said it was doing reasonably well. But overall studios probably in need of resuscitation shot with. So what the technique was to asset strip everything. And I remember now in broad because seeing all these men coming in with briefcases and just spending their time on the telephone, and we're mutterings in the laboratory. Do you know what's going to happen? You've been given the push, though. people who'd been there for 30 years more suddenly
were absolutely shaken, rigid. And it was very, very unpleasant I may say, Well, the result was as far as land pacesetter was concerned, Ronnie was called in, and Bentley and his cohorts said, Well, we don't we don't want you. Do you want to acquire the company? And Ronnie said, Yes. He said to me, will you join me on the board and we will go independent as pay set of productions, strangely enough being a subsidiary of British law, and of course, we had very little assets. We didn't own equipment, we didn't own premises. Everything was rented from British land at Shepperton. So, it was only a company with a certain reputation, principally, Ron is to a certain extent mine and a portfolio films that we had made. So we decided to acquire the company and we set up in Wardour Street. Number 82 on our street on the fourth floor with no lift, very good for the heart, and rented offices from Frank green of mercury and Frank green, people who worked with him. He started at the projectionist with a small theatre called the crown theatre, and he built up his property Empire, and it was always said he owned, selected the whole of Soho. I don't know what the truth was. To his dying day, he still looked like a projectionist. But he was a very kind man. Strangely enough, people thought he was a rogue he wasn't he. He did a great service to the film industry at the time, by renting theatres. offices, cutting rooms, equipment, to small struggling companies, of which we became one. And he was always very fair by us. He subsequently had a massive heart bypass operation, and I think died in about in 1992 or three. I went to Wardour street run about that time and inquired, I said, how's Frank getting on? And they said, Why are you doing all right, Bob? Mind you, he misses the street. Now anybody in the film industry would understand that people are missing water. He misses the street, I thought it was really endearing. And true and true, is anyway, so please set up productions went on and prospered reasonably well, with various sponsored films. And of course, now Channel Four had started up. So independents who had been making sponsored films, of course tried to clamber on the bandwagon, together with people who left the BBC and ITV form independent companies. So there was everybody scrambling for work from Channel Four still, there still are. There were too many companies looking for too few slots. Nevertheless, we No, we didn't do it, we didn't succeed in getting in the thing off the ground. For Channel Four, we did some interesting series. And there's one here I might just talk about, we did a series about the National Gallery, which was sponsored by wh Smith, who had formed a company called wh Smith cassettes, way ahead of its time, we're now talking about the late 70s with a view to selling video cassette, but of course, that market really not began. But it was a very brave thing on their part, however, then crazy. They lost them have we completed the series, and it was directed by Henry Louis. It was made in 16 millimetre colour. And looking at it for as I have done, since it stands up pretty well. And it achieved pretty wide release and was finally sold to Tim's television. But in the middle of the series run, there was a strike for terms television
Unknown Speaker 42:36
Robert Angel 42:36
or 79. And then it was withdrawn and I don't think it's ever been shown again. It's actually
Unknown Speaker 42:42
before we've been on Channel Four.
Robert Angel 42:44
Yes, it was before Channel Four. Yes. However, I think it's just interesting that here were wh Smith for me, except that of course they couldn't set up like set sail in those days, and therefore they closed down the company and another This reminds me of another aspect of pacesetter productions. Ronnie Spencer was very friendly with john Grable, Lord Grable, who was a very experienced feature producer, Ronnie had worked with him on features way back. And he invited Lord braven to become chairman of this set of reductions, which he did. And He's charming. And again, very useful with ideas for our sponsors and development of the company. And in fact, it led us to several interesting productions which concern the royal family. I did a film about the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, which Prince Philip was, of course invented and was closely involved with, and so I was able to work with Prince Philip on that and that was very amicable and pleasant. We did some films for the British Legion, one of which involved Prince Charles which Ronnie directed, and we had a very pleasant experience is working with Prince Charles because this was addressed to younger people. To try and get rid of the image of the British Legion do a lot of old men from leftover from World War One, World War Two. I did a charity film again which Prince Philip managed to find sponsorship for, about people who supplied sort of mechanical aids to the disabled in the early days of computers and so on people who'd lost power of speech are able to operate computers with their foot on their tongue or something and it was a very interesting film.
Alan Lawson 0:11
Angel side three.
Robert Angel 0:17
Okay, well, by this time, Ronnie Spencer, who lived in, in the depth of the country, and was as always been a tenant of the National Trust and which is rather a good idea, I think property, he got very more and more fed up with commuting to Soho every day. And he's, while a writer director, of course can really operate from anywhere. And I suppose he tired of the idea of running a company. And one has to admit, in retrospect, that this period, and I'm not talking about the 80s the problems of sponsored films over coming more and more difficult for the independent company, an independent company consisting of people who've been brought up as a traditional way of trying to make quality films for a reasonable budget. And it was, it was twofold. Really, it was one that there were more more independence caused by the beginning of Channel Four, fighting for sponsored films because they went on to have independent programmes to be made, commissioned by Channel Four, and the other factor was what I call the Bournemouth wedding photographer syndrome, where people would say he would go to a potential sponsor, and they say, Well, I met this man is easy to make a film for opensap on video, and he probably can, and these what I call the Bournemouth wedding photographers. As we know, you can hire a camera from Dixon's and you can get a perfectly good picture, and it will shoot a film and you can deliver it in a week's time and everybody says that's marvellous, especially if it's got plenty of shots or the managing director. And so we pompously said, I'm sorry, we don't make that sort of film. We make proper script that you'll be you'll produce a film that we'll be proud of, and years to come and all that. And they went off and went to the bond with wedding photographer. And it became very difficult. But I think a lot of companies suffered from this and increasing overheads and so on. So Ronnie rather lost heart. So we decided to go our separate ways. And I cannot remember the date exactly, but it was the early 80s. Now we had formed another company called pacesetter enterprises, which was, again ahead of its time making films for sale on cassette, we did produce a series of motorcycle maintenance, which was sponsored by Honda and which was subsequent meant for release on cassette but again, we were ahead of our time, that was the vision outlet, but there's nothing wrong with the theories. So it was agreed that we should split the assets between us. Ronnie moved to the country to become virtually a freelance writer director with the relics of peace centre productions, and I set up in a small way pacesetter enterprises but myself alone, operating from an office in Wall Street, part of film house number one for two Wall Street. Now this I did have a lucky break then because I managed to land a programme for Channel Four based I was introduced to the author of a book called The wandering company, which was about Merchant Ivory productions. JOHN Pim had written a book for the British Film Institute, and a friend of mine, Charles Hudson, who also knew john Pim introduced us and said, wouldn't it be a good idea to try and make a programme about Merchant Ivory productions? I thought it was an excellent idea. JOHN Kim agreed to collaborate, and Channel Four bought the UK rights. And we made what was a pretty successful, certainly well reviewed programme about Merchant Ivory productions, which again was a half hour programme. My big mistake on this was to be wooed by izmail merchant, who had arranged what he said with pre sales all over the world for millions of back when it finally disappeared into the night, but we had an awful lot of fun on it, and I'm still a very good friend of his smile. Did you know it was originally directed by
oh my goodness, how often can you contentment? Right. The wandering company was originally erected by Humphrey Dixon, who was an editor who had directed some documentaries, edited a lot of Merchant Ivory films. Unfortunately in the middle, he had to go off to edit another film. And so for a while Roland Brenton took over who I'd worked with in pacesetter enterprises on sponsored films pace setter productions, he'd been. He'd originally worked as a runner on Jemima and Johnny way back. I knew his father, and he wanted to get into the film industry. So he started there. He then worked for me as an editor at pacesetter productions at Chevron, and went on to be a very stable and good director of documentaries. So he took over direction, unfortunately, because this programme stretched over such a long period, because it had locations in Boston when they were shooting the Bostonians. It had locations in India where his mile brought up and they started production. And we were waiting for people and so on. So it was very awkward for for freelancers. And so Roland had to duck out. And I even directed some sequences in India. And finally, Humphrey came back and edited the other day, it was very successful. And we did sell it to W GPH in Boston, and they in turn sold it to New York. And but I don't think it ever really truly recovered its production cost, but I'm glad to have made the film. By this time I was reaching a certain age where I could get a free bus pass. And I suppose in retrospect, it was becoming even more difficult with the boredom of wedding photographers in Rome and so on, and running a company virtually on one's own. I decided to amalgamate with a bloke who really his heart was in distribution, because more and more production companies at this time, the producer really had to be a super salesman, comm distributor, touring the world arranging pre sales for programmes and at the same time trying to find sponsors that appears sponsored films and programmes and less and less time was devoted to the sharp end of production, which I know and like best, and I suppose I was really getting rather pissed off with it all. So I amalgamated the company was a fellow called Steve Goddard who concentrated on distribution and was very good at it. He was a very good salesman. Unfortunately, we didn't get on very well together. It was my fault really going in with him. And so I decided when I reached age 65 to jack it in and dispose of my remaining interest in pacesetter enterprises, to Steve and I became freelance for a we never retire in this business, as you know. But since that time, I have dabbled in various production as possible setting up a productions but I haven't really produced a model him 1987 I haven't produced a complete film or programme in anger since. That's not to say I wouldn't be prepared to do so. But I have vowed that I will not to get involved in pre sales setting up, which takes three years. And then you finally get it all set up and they start shooting on Monday and Tuesday, people are saying, haven't you finished yet? You seem to have been on this for years. And you say yeah, wherever it actually started the interesting part mentioning making them so if somebody came along on a plate and said I've got them a finance together, and it's great idea and I agreed with them, I'd be delighted to produce it. I have got one thing which might come about which I would love to do. Somebody who worked with me over the years is a man called Robert Parker, who was an Australian who was started as a sound recordist in Australia and the Australian Film Board australian broadcasting. He then became a director for the Australian Film Board. He then came over here, worked as a freelance and he worked with me on several documentaries. He then founded with Stephen Sargent, a company called molinia.
Which started off went to the advent of commercial radio in this country, doing recording for commercial radio. And of course, it grew to the most enormous company. Robert never really liked being a sort of admin company man and Stephen Sergeant started going almost metaphorically around the bend because he fell in love With every piece of new equipment that came out, bought three of them. Finally, it expanded and practically burst. But it's still going and was very successful as a post production company, I think owned by jointly wh Smith and sky television. I'm not sure molinia still exists, Robert Parker was ought went back. He had a hobby, collecting old 78 jazz records. And he has perfected a system of transferring old 78 jazz records to CD. Mastering them removing all the burps and things and producing excellent quality things. And I think the distribution of series of CDs is distributed by BBC enterprises.
Alan Lawson 10:50
What about the copyright? Well,
Robert Angel 10:53
you see, most of the people are dead. And it's clear of copyright. He knows all about his and I think you're making virtually a new recording and so on. But he is all right on this. Now. We have discussed let's talk about Robert, who now lives in Devon. The possibility of doing either some music programmes, using these new soundtracks of old jazz and going back to the 30s jazz stuff, and doing sort of abstract images on our Fantasia and then an America because he's never succeeded in getting a wide distribution of these CDs in the States. He met an American in New Orleans, who suggested that perhaps we might make a programme about the history of recording jazz, leading on to the fact that Robert Parker has given a new lease of life to these old jazz records, by reassume them all impeccably, and that would be a very interesting programme to make. And if he gets the money together, I would love to produce it with Robert. So that really putting into my production. For the moment when pacesetter enterprises I disposed of that put an end to my active daily production. But two things have occurred since which has kept me pretty active in the sharp end. One is out of desperation, I wrote a careers book, which was published by the British Film Institute called film and TV the way in. And this was written, we've all had hundreds of letters from people saying, I've just left school with one CSE, or I've got a degree in psychology, or I've just come out of film school. And I want to be a film director. And I'm always delighted to see people talk to them. And I found that there was an amazing sort of ignorance about the structure of the industry. And although they may have these ambitions, they had no idea really how to set about achieving them. So I got tired of saying the same thing over and over again, and I wrote it all down. And my amazement, the BFA took it up. And it transpired, it was virtually the first sort of careers book written from what I call the sharp end of Wall Street, with actual practical hints on how to walk up and down Water Street and knock at the right doors. And so that was successful. And as a result of that, I was asked by another publisher, to write another one called How to make it in films and TV, rather ghastly title, not mine. But it's one of a series of how to books, which include how to claim state benefits, how to live and work in France, how to live and work in Australia, how to plan a wedding, how to survive divorce, and bat 500 titles. And now in 1993, I have just completed the second edition of that book. The other thing that, of course, has been very interesting for me, and the great pleasure has been my involvement with BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, where I've been on the council for some years. And I volunteered to be chairman of the programme Committee, which I enjoy doing. Because I've always had a secret ambition to sort of be a cinema manager, I think I have the advantages of being a cinema manager without actually counting the heads if people don't turn up to some obscure Greek film. So that's been it's quite tough sometimes, but I enjoy doing it. And the other interest which goes back to my sort of roots in a way, I've been chairman for many years, the Short Film Award jury at BAFTA, and as a result of that, I see the jury of my jury that I see about 80 plus shorts January and February, from all over the world. And I think in a small way, the BAFTA Short Film Award has done something to increase the stature of short film production and talking of short dramas, fiction films,
Alan Lawson 15:15
not just not television, is it cinema.
Robert Angel 15:18
Now it can be anything that we have changed the rules now where we don't care if they've, if they're released on television, if they're released in cinemas, which is increasingly difficult nowadays, and a cinema release, or your show to your grandmother, it doesn't matter. As long as you've made it in the year, the awards year under consideration, it's eligible. And at the moment, it's still restricted to film that we will have to give away and have ones originating on TV, or pieces of string, or whatever it is, and the finisher has no dad. At the moment. It's still a Film Award for its international. And it's been marvellous to see what is being produced all over the world. And I think if you ran the last few years winners with after Short Film Award, the general public would be amazed and say how entertaining they are.
Alan Lawson 16:12
Can you tell us more about BAFTA I mean, we know quite a bit but assuming they know, assuming I know nothing, but you need need to say how it really starts you know?
Robert Angel 16:24
Yeah, well, yeah. All right. But the history of the cinema and television? Yes, it is. Well BAFTA started as the British Film Academy. very eminent gentlemen, indeed, there are in fact, minutes of the first meeting, which I think I'm right in saying was held in the Savoy Hotel, an unofficial dinner of such luminaries as Alexander Korda, David lean, making towel, who's decided that the should be a British Film Academy. And, therefore, it was subsequently formed. And the very top people in feature films, and perhaps one or two of the top documentary, people like Chris and I, were invited to join an ED Grandstaff and so on, form the British Film Academy. And it the accent was, as I understand, film, Academy, or learned body because they very soon found that the numbers of eminent people who they decided were eligible to be members, but not sufficient omega, they're going concern at all. So they had to widen the membership models, documentary producers like me, and so on, in order to get the money in, and I joined the Film Academy pretty early on. Then there was an organisation running at the same time called The Guild of television producers and directors, I was one of them. And normally swallow was indeed one of the founding members, probably of that was suffering roughly the same kinds of these days when this was happening in the 60s 50s 50s, Baby got into film and television were very much different worlds. Hard, hard to spoof. So it was decided to have a rather and a rather revolutionary way to amalgamate the two. And it was revolutionary because we were saying film and television were two different worlds which were in America, especially in the United States, we're really not on speaking country, it was considered very good. It's a form. This is s f t in society of the arts, which was the amalgamation of those two organisations and fulfilment television to get together. And although there have been efforts to pull in the heart since I'm glad to say we've stood firm, and it is still an organisation which covers both film and television and movies, they come together. Service Oriented colours. I don't think I know the exact date when they amalgamated. But it might have been the late 60s, late 60s, late 60s, I should think is and then of course, the big breakthrough came when this time, we were still we were running films in theatres borrowed, like the VP theatre, the British Council theatre, and the only meeting place afterwards was the pub. And the organisation was run from a small office in grape port on the street under Judy steel. The big breakthrough and the ambition of the organisation had been to have its own premises and the big breakthrough when Richard causton I think I'm writing saying and Lord Mountbatten, who was the president time possibly Prince Philip suggested that the Queen should donate The profits of decoster royal family film to BAFTA, which was a charity is a charity. And this was this enabled this lit the fuse to enable a lot of other sponsors to come in and contribute to converting 195, Piccadilly, to the premises, the BAFTA with its own viewing theatre to theatre, large theatre and a small theatre, club premises. And of course, now it's become a very popular Conference Centre, because unfortunately, the use for the members was restricted perhaps one or two evenings a week in the field lunches. And that was enough to pay the enormous rent of these luxurious premises. And so it's become a very conference, a very sought after, and prestigious Conference Centre, rented out to other organisations, principally people film and film and television, but it also includes other outside company has nothing to do with film and television. This has led to a little bit of course, pressure between the members and the outside bookings. But I think the members appreciate that unless you have the outside bookings, their membership subscriptions would be in the 1000s. around
Alan Lawson 21:18
and of course, the annual awards still count for a great deal. Now annual
Robert Angel 21:21
awards have built up in prestige enormously so that they almost match the Oscars, and there's probably nothing else comparable in the rest of the world. So we are number two to the Oscars. But don't forget the Oscars is only film, whereas the BAFTA Awards cover film and television. I've called it photodamage
Alan Lawson 21:41
in New York,
Robert Angel 21:42
yes, but their Emmys are different to Oscars. And there is the thing that Oscars a West Coast. And although in the West Coast, quantity of stuff is produced for television, that is only a historical thing that the equipment is and the studios are there. And ancient Mitchell cameras were like vintage Rolls Royce is still churn on shooting 35 millimetre TV series are released throughout the world. But the East Coast is really where television production originates. And that's where the Emmys are. So you still have this division and therefore I still think BAFTA is unique in the world of film and television Really do come together. And we've been proved right. Because now films, sponsored by channel four films sponsored by the BBC land up in cinemas, films made for cinemas land up very quickly on television. video cassette, right, you know, the whole thing is production. One large cake and we are absolutely right to put the whole thing together. But we're all moving moving pictures rented. So that any regrets? any regrets? I suppose of one time, I would have really loved to produce the feature film. But on the other hand, the ones Korea would have taken such a very different force, unless it had been highly successful. And then, I mean, yes, I have a regret that I'm not yet have I ever been to the west coast of the United States of America. And I've never never been to Hollywood. And although this may sound silly, I suppose somebody who is basically a film man at heart. Not to have been to Hollywood, even as a tourist, it seems a bit silly. But now on my own. Now I've had a very happy career not make a lot of money in documentaries, of course, that I enjoyed my career in documentaries and production generally.
Alan Lawson 23:53
One thing you haven't mentioned that if I assume we weren't involved was some television commercials.
Robert Angel 23:59
Yes. All right. Would you like me to go back on to the
Alan Lawson 24:02
video and we don't go back to something Have you? I
Robert Angel 24:05
am involved in film partnership. In fact, this is an error film partnership produced a lot of commercials. In fact, a commercial for some accounting margerine was the second commercial on the air. The first was for gives us our toothpaste. We were the second on there. And we produced a series of commercials for some accounting margerine, which had large budgets were largely shot in studio at bekins Field studios with sets because of their whole sort of thing for summer County was to make it all country style and country kitchens and fresh and concrete thing making it like butter except that it was Marjorie and we went on of course cigarette commercials we did a lot for senior service cigarettes. Yes, we even Godfrey jennison had an office in Manchester we formed a production company in Manchester film partnership North I think it was called a film production producing commercials most obscure local products, which again, the one was golden golden stream T. One was united cow heel products for cow Hill buyers. And that was soon after I was married. My wife who was a home economist and a marvellous cook, was ordered to produce a cow heel pie. And the problem was getting car hailing in London. And she lent you she ended up at Harrods getting this car he'll and made this marvellous pie car he'll pie with UCP and pastry written on the top. And I remember you had the car get open, and steam had to come out and of course, dry eyes and it didn't work didn't look convincing. We ended up somebody smoking underneath his pie and puffing smoke. weeks later, in the camera department of film partnership in great Portland Street, suddenly gives him a funny smell in here, but it can't heal by lurking in the corner.
Unknown Speaker 26:13
Robert Angel 26:14
Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Very big agencies, J. Walter Thompson, pitch hardwood agencies. And yes, we were probably one of the earliest documentary production companies, nobody had any experience in producing commercials. In those days when commercial television started, one or two experts came over from the States and attach themselves to agencies. But apart from documentary producers, nobody and the feet don't forget that feature people. Poo pooed commercials as it hugger. 30 seconds talking about, you can't even lift a wineglass in 30 seconds in a shot. Take more than that. And people in television and BBC. Again, the idea of producing a version is horrible. So eventually left the thing absolute clear for documentary producers to come in. And we actually produce the film partnership, some cod commercials beforehand.
Unknown Speaker 27:14
Robert Angel 27:17
somebody called john Lamont, a Canadian, I think, came over who had directed commercials in the states and sort of gave his expertise. And I remember him now with a stopwatch sort of timing people impeccably to the nearest second we thought man was mad. But of course, he was absolutely right. And we produce these series of cod commercials for cooler cooler and rivetted typewriters or something like that. We got Peter west to do one on cricket. I can't remember what the product was. And these cod commercial and we try it and we took these on the agencies and they were terribly impressed. So that got us Lana does some pretty big commercial, I mean a lot of money producing commercials, even in those days where the budgets were infinitesimal compared to what they are now. But they were proper studio productions with good artists and I had a bit of imagination. We certainly have one made shadow cut out by lottery reiniger for somebody who's Christmas putting us in the north, and the jams and it was beautiful, beautiful little commercial with a charming little silhouette. Can't remember who that product was, but it was Christmas puddings. Thanks.
Unknown Speaker 29:12
Robert Angel 29:13
producing it. And for one basic reason. The thing has always puzzled me is how you can direct if you have never been in contact with a live audience. Because as an actor, you can play in a show. And you know, wherever laughs are or where you absolutely grab the audience's address, and you walk onto the stage within a moment, you know what that audience is like anything? Oh, these are a bit sticky. You're gonna have to just increase the pace a little until we get that paid, then we're going to be alright, we could probably hold up you know, these are things you'll learn about, about communicating with an audience and manipulating an audience and holding an audience and I could never work out how people coming out of a cut ROMs could learn that they do. It always fascinates me. But those are the things that you can talk to an actor about. And also, the things you'll notice about an actor picking up on the other actors tone, or picking up another actor's pace. You know how to fix that. And you know, you can see the signs of when it's happening, and how it's going to ruin a scene. I found that having been an actor, and having been a writer, the most tremendous assets for being a director, because not only the ability to communicate and talk with actors, but also the telling of a story knowing the essentials. Later on in my career, when I first met Rod Steiger, and we went to lunch. We talked for a long time. And he suddenly looked at me and said, Were you ever an actor? And I said, Yes. He said, I thought, oh, we're gonna be able to work together. silly thing, but it. It came through somehow to him, just because of the way we were discussing things. How far have we got? We were doing ghost squad? Yes. I was the resident director and other directors came in. So I was doing every all the odd numbers 135, etc. We shot 12 of those for ATV. And then the cost was too much. I hadn't got a guaranteed sale in the States. ATV, we're not going to be the past rank. So they decided to continue with the series, but make it in the television studios. And artery would like to do some and be retrained on that. I said no, I wanted to stick to film. So I left it. They went into the studios and they did another like another two series on them.
Now what happened after ghost squad? enclose what that was about 6661 61 Oh, ya know, I was contacted by a chap who became a great friend and a lot of work for me many years later. And that was
I've got absolutely blank haven't died. He and Warren, Ian Warren and Tom Donald.
They were going to do a movie, a small cheap movie, which was going to be really a pilot for television series. And they were bringing over George Raft and Maxi Rosenbloom to do thing called two guys abroad, which we shot down at Shepperton and a very small budget and a very minimal time. There's a pretty awful script. I think the reason it was made because the man called Maurice Seuss, is he you double this, artists use? Morris sews had come into money and had access to money. And he wanted to be a film producer. Maurice, Sue's in his early days had been George rapt dresser, and he wanted to reduce producer but George Robb picture was a very funny setup. However, this we did. And then I went back to bekins field again, where Leslie Parkin and Julian winter were doing the fast lady can Anna can was directing it. And Ken asked me to do the second unit cannot been very good. I ran into him pine wood sometime the very early days after I came out of hospital. And he knew about the struggle with had getting eight new breeds together. And what was I doing? And I was trying to ride tetra and he said oh well I'm doing a picture of the plant his wife come and come and do the tests. And he paid me I think it was 20 pounds a day for three days. I played the Jacobins part in the test while he tested all the people for the Indians etc. And after that whenever Ken was doing a picture, he'd always get a message through how you're doing. You know, do you want a couple of days and things like you know what sailors are and pictures I get it was give me a couple of days just to help along with the with the rent he is very nice. And then he asked me to do second unit on the First Lady. Good had been recommended by Leslie and Julian. And again I had Michael Reed as my camera man he'd been with me in Singapore. And did it was story with with Stanley Baxter Leslie Phillips James Robertson justice, they did a whole series of comedies together. And Julie Christie blamed the girl in it in a comedy was extraordinary. She just made a name by doing. Go into the name of the thing, television science fiction thing that she'd done. This was her first film. Paula, she was all at sea marbles later, this one didn't get a lot of help. And then, while I was doing that, I had a phone call from my agent who was john redway in those days, saying, he'd been speaking to me speaking about me to hammer films who wanted to see me out in hammer, but they make horror pictures. He said, Yes. I said, I can't do a horror pictures. Why not? Think about them. I've never seen one. Well, he said, I've shown your movie of the professionals to Tony Hines is very impressed and wanted to go and see him. So I went and saw Tony. And we got on very well. I said, Look, I I don't know what this is about. I liked the story as you outlined it, but um, I've never seen a horror picture. Could God show you some? So he screamed for movies for me, to one day and to another day? I thought, Oh, my God. First one I found very interesting. And then it seemed to me that all they were doing was trying to outdo the previous one more and more blatant horror. And I said this, I can't keep on like this. Well, we he agreed with me. And so we took some of it out on the allowed me to do some of the rewrites. And we made this movie called kiss of the vampire, which became, oh, it had huge write ups in the times when it came out. I returned to a classic horror, you know, and it is still being shown on television, it still gets shown at film festivals, and have been shown several times to retrospectives that the National Film theatre, but there was a lovely one to do. Because what I found fascinating about horror was that you could take an absurd situation like vampires. Sorry, Terry, I know you come from bareback country. But you could take something which was absolutely ridiculous and absurd. And you had to make the audience believe it. Therefore, for me, you couldn't go over the top like a lot of them have been doing. You had to treat everything, total reality.
Only this way, could you make the audience accept it. And by golly, it worked. It was a lovely movie to do. I was also very lucky in that I wanted a different camera man from the ones that had been using. And I got Helen Hume, Alan had been operating on all the carry ons. And one of the carry ons, the cameraman went ill halfway through and Alan took over and did such a good job, he did the following one. And that's when I grabbed him. And he was so delighted to get away and do something different. And of course, the sets were by Bernard Robinson, who was a brilliant guy, he was marvellous, Tony Heinz, I think still is the best producer I have ever worked with. He trusted you. He back to up, he would keep an eye on how things were going. So that if it looked as if there might be running a little short on the budget, he would know it well in advance. And he'd prepare two or three alternatives to take that amount of money out of the shedule. And he'd come to you and say, we've got to save some money. These are two three different ways that it could be done. I'll leave it to you which way but one of them's got to be done. And you're looking, I can't do that. Because I've left the only big set I've got I don't want to, you know, you'd balance things in for the story and productive value. And he would then go along with it. Whereas most people would just, you know, tear pages. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working at a place where everybody in the studio was on your picture, as opposed to say Pinewood where there were five or six pictures. The one with the biggest budget, had the cream. Everything was well not everything was never charged. That's a little over that top but there was an awful lot of money that he got charged for things that I mean, you know, the old trick of taking and publicity is still in the bar at lunchtime, and then you charge it to each production who had somebody in the photo. You know those sort of things. Oh boy. But I loved working at hammer and I went back and did several more afterwards. It
Unknown Speaker 40:05
was what 63 was a 62
Robert Angel 40:07
was kiss of the vampire. And then straight from kiss to the vampire I went back to bekins field again, because they were now doing the human jungle a television series about a psychiatrist with Herbert Lom playing psychiatrist. And Manuel Khan was the producer, who was partner of Leslie and Julian. I did an episode went back to do one episode, which was a guest starring healthy bird. And on the first morning, because they were overlapping with another one which had gone on location, that Mason was their cameraman, he was doing the one on location. And so they would bring in for my episode, a different camera crew. And the camera crew I got was Otto Heller. And the operator was Jerry Gibbs. Now bekins Field was an eight o'clock studio, whereas everywhere else was an 830 Studio. And the first morning, we're all there early. And there's perfectly simple setup. I always liked to do a purse thing, a simple setup, so that by half past eight, you've got the first set up in the case, you've got it going. So I said rather with auto. He's not here. Alright, Jerry. Well, look, this is the setup. We can get the tracks. I want to start on Alfie Burg, and I just want to pull back. And then in the foreground comes wherever it was, and do the first app doesn't mind to data. So we line it up. Where's it? No, no sign of it. Services always still things that are past eight to do. How fast eight goes or not? It's not fair with Jerry. You'll have to start. He might have had an accent we don't know. So Jerry starts lighting. half past nine or thereabout auto breezes in the story is that the train taught fire which is probably had. So he said, we were just about to turn over. All right, what is it? So we start there? And we pull back to that and it's very simple and then Joe's done it that can I see it says artists that we do it? Yes. Very nice. Very, very nice. Now lose that lamp and that lamp of that lamp. And that lamp. Red ready?
Unknown Speaker 42:51
Right. You want