Heather Armitage

Forename/s: 
Heather
Family name: 
Armitage
Work area/craft/role: 
Company: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
664
Interview Date(s): 
20 May 2014
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
148

Horizontal tabs

Interview
Interview notes

Heather Armitage interview.  Rough Notes

Born in 1942 and brought up in Manchester. L.S.Lowry . sculpture.Earliest memories. War. VE day. Playing in the air raid shelter. Father showed Chaplin films to the kids at home. Big sister dressing well. Listening to the radio. Goon show.Gilbert & Sullivan, Opera.

The coronation on TV. Andy Pandy, Arthur Askey, school days. Cinema on a Friday. Mario Lanza and Calamity Jane – Doris Day. 1958 West Side Story. Theatre. Dream Career love being at art school.

Drawing. Working at Kelloggs, space men. Post Office. Bobby Charlton 2/6 tip. Munich crash.

Art college, father against it. Ossie Clark at Royal College. Borrows the gold sandals – the first Ossie?

London. “Nothing in Manchester”. College. Sculpture enjoyed it, wanted more. Studied teaching at London University 1964 The work ethic. Teaching girls. No boys.

Theatre tickets £1. Glenda Jackson. Boutiques. BIBA (became friends). Opening of shop. Bed-Sit Earls Court. Buses with  Fleet Number. Heathrow job. Dead at night. No tube. Interviewing passengers. Mick Jagger.Chrissie Shrimpton. “3 cups of tea”. Paris for the day. No phone number.

Jackie Kennedy.

Italy job Naples. Travel. Greece,  all of Italy.

Lecturing at Hornsey 1968. Playboy Club Ad. “Would you like to be a Playboy Bunny?” 1st club. £14 as teacher, £36 as a bunny, killer heels, boned costume. The ears straight up. Brushing up the tail. Class Joint.

Coventry Cathedral, then Hornsey and Hackney ’68 Riots. “This college has ceased to function” Can’t be bothered with politics.

Manchester contact at BBC (London). H.Tel-Des. Hammersmith Design Assistant. Dad’s Army. Her granddad 1899 in WW1, ist impression of BEEB TV first designers from the theatre as the sets were flats. Architects and drawings in ink for  TV designers pencil. “Mother India” Buying props eg German food. Floor painting. “Are you being Served?” “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Wobbly sets. Floor paint was water soluble. Problems. Dressing up locations. eg Paintings of different dates. High cost of insurance of real art props. Work hours 9-5 + overtime until very late getting things ready for next day. Getting food props that had to stand.

Job satisfaction. Getting items for props and the ingenuity of the top  designer. eg white boards and black tape for tropical windows. The hire firms building trust. Competition for props among the designers.

Chronology BBC “not long”. Free lance. Union ticket. The difficulty of getting a union ticket.  Assistant designer for 2 years to get (full) designer ticket. London Palladium. Kidnapped co-production with HTV and German and Dutch TV. Film-TV differential.  Everything laid on at the BBC for good basic training. Help her going freelance. Working at sea. The wild weather. Chasing the props? In a speedboat. The family of film people “everything an adventure”. The Curse of Tutankhamun. I was thrown into it, mugged up the info. Head designer went to Egypt before Heather went over. Shocking to see the living conditions. Hard conditions. Car going over the cliff. Losing one of the actors who was flown to London? With NBC

“Minder”. Marvellous. One of the best shows I have ever worked on. All filmed around Shepherds Bush. The dog and bone. They made me very welcome. The Guinness story. The Winchester Club. Euston Films £500 a week. The Woman issue “sometimes they’d look after you”. Being asked to furnish the kitchen for Minder. No Get well cards on the “Death” ward.

Skills

A quick eye for detail. Know your periods. Know how to improvise eg rather than food props, go to Tescos. The Miss World thrones. You’ve got to have luck. The bad taste flat.

Transcript

Biographical

 

 

Designer/ Art Director

 

34 Barons Keep, Gliddon Road, London W14 9AT.

 

Telephone: 01 603 8718

 

 

TELEVISION

 

1977

ROYAL VARIETY SHOW

CENTRAL

TV

1978

SCORPION TALES - SIX PART DRAMA SERIES

CENTRAL

TV

1978/79

HEARTLANDS - EIGHT PART DRAMA SERIES

CENTRAL

TV

1979

GENERAL ELECTION AND CURRENT AFFAIRS

YORKSHIRE TV

1980

NATIONAL THEATRE SERIES AS TV DRAMAS

GRANADA TV

1982

TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED - DRAMA SERIES

ANGLIA TV

1983

WHAT THE DICKENS - SINGLE DRAMA

HTV

1986

ALLSORTS - CHILDRENS PROGRAMME

GRANADA TV

FEATURE

FILMS AND FILMS FOR TELEVISION

 

 

FILM                    DIRECTOR

COMPANY

1978

 

KIDNAPPED               JEAN PIERRE DE COURT

HTV

1979/80

THE CURSE OF KING   PHILIP LEACOCK TUTANKHAMOUNS TOMB

HTV

1980/81

THE GOOD SOLDIER    KEVIN BILLINGTON

GRANDADA TV

1983

BLOODBATH AT THE    RAY CAMERON HOUSE OF DEATH

WILDWOOD PRODUCTIONS

1 9 8 4

HAMMER HOUSE OF     VAL GUEST MYSTERY & SUSPENSE            PAUL ANNETT

(TV SERIES)         CYRIL FRANKEL

HAMMER FILMS

         

 

1984      FILM '67'

 

 

 

1984      MINDER-SERIES V

 

 

1985      MINDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

1986      FAIRLY SECRET ARMY

 

TONY KLINGER

 

 

 

FRANCIS MEGAHY TERRY GREEN ROY WARD BAKER

FRANCIS MEGAHY

 

ROY WARD BAKER

 

SMALL GIANT MEDIA

 

 

EUSTON FILMS

 

EUSTON FILMS VIDEO ARTS

 

 

 

1986      KAZAN (OR THE GIRL WITH RED HAIR)

 

SAALMON PEERZADA    FIREFLY FILMS

 

 

 

1986      WITNESSES

1987      PIGGY BANK

1987      CATHERINE

1988      GODS OUTLAW

 

NICK WEBSTER GREG LANNING MICHAEL WHITE TONY TEW

 

WORLDWIDE FILMS THAMES   TV THAMES TV

GRENVILLE FILMS

 

1990      UNSOLVED MYSTERIES (SERIES)

 

1993      MORE WITNESSES      MARTIN GREGORY

 

COMHERCIALS AND VIDEO PRESENTATIONS

 

COSGROVE/MEURER PRODUCTIONS INC

 

BILLY GRAHAM FOUNDATION

 

 

1979      DESIGN  FOR  A  COMMERCIAL  SHOW  FOR  CITROEN  IN  THE BALLROOM AT THE PARK LANE HILTON.  THERE WAS A VIDEO PRESENTATION CONVERTING INTO A CABARET SET FOR A  DINNER DANCE. 'INTO THE EIGHTIES WITH CITROEN'.

 

1981      VIDEO PRESENTATION IN THE FORM OF A PANEL GAME SET WITH AN AUDIENCE FOR 'SPILLERS FOODS'.

1982      VIDEO PRESENTATION FOR 'KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN'.

 

 

1988      'MIKE YARWOOD' INSURANCE COMMERCIAL

 

ALAN DEAKIN

 

INFOVISION

 

 

 

1989      'CHEEK TO CHEEK'    ALAN DEAKIN CBS RECORD ALBUM

TV COMMERCIAL

 

COMPANY 3 FILMS

 

 

 

1991      A SERIES OF COMMERCIALS FOR THE ARAB/SAUDI

 

PHILIP AJARI

 

SHERIF SUNBURY PRODUCTIONS