Terry Marcel

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Interview Date(s): 
22 Mar 2022
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Speaker 1  0:24  
He's number in interview 807 Terry Marceau for the British entertainment history projects. The date is the 22nd 22nd 22nd or the third now in 2022. Okay, so we start with the background when we were born, if you don't mind, say in

Speaker 2  0:49  
1942. So I'm 79 years of age, and in June on bat,

Unknown Speaker  0:59  
history and your family work in industry. It's

Speaker 2  1:01  
very briefly I'll give you a brief outline of my background. My father was a bookmaker. And when I left school, the idea was that I would go into the bookmaking business. But we live, we lived in a place called Kong Brook, quite near Pinewood Studios. And my dad suggested to me one day, why don't you get on your bike and go up to Pinewood Studios and see if you can get it up there. If you're interested in the film industry. Okay, I'll try that. jumped on my bike, rode up there and always remember the guy on the gate. That because they will dress beautifully, smartly those it was a sergeant of arms, and his name was Maurice. And he said, Oh, you've come to for a job interview. And I said, Well, yeah. Possible. He said, let me call someone who said go on to the main building, go and see a man called Zephie. Harris, and they'll explain how it works. When intereses Fe Harris, he showed me a piece of paper, he said, looks and he said, See that list has 28 people ahead of you, all sons and daughters of people in history, he said, but if you want to, I'll put you down the bottom. And you know, when we come to that particular time, you will come on as a third mail boy. So that's what that's great. Thank you very much. rode my bike home, went through the door, and the phone rang. Picked it up. And it was definitely Harris. He said, You just came to see me. I said, Yeah. He said, Could you come back tomorrow and start? I said, Yeah. And he said, it's just that various things have happened. Somebody can't I mean, the next person isn't available. And we need someone tomorrow. And that's how I started. And I was at Pinewood Studios. We were all employed, then, on a yearly basis, and I started as a third male boy, you work your way up to first male boy. And then they ask you, where do you want to go? You want to go into camera? Do you want to go into art department? Do you want to go into production, I said, I want to go into production. So I waited my turn. And then I moved into the runners department. Third runner, up to second runner, and first runner, and then I was lucky, I went to work for Disney as their runner. And they gave me the opportunity to become a third assistant. And that's, I was a third assistant there, and then the whole studio system crumbled. And we all went freelance. So that's the sort of beginning.

Speaker 3  3:29  
Right? So you worked very on the 21st to the film's 1963. It was a Walt Disney film. He was working on the three lines of Thomas

Unknown Speaker  3:39  
C. Pacino. That's correct. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  3:41  
Yeah. Can you have any fond memories? I see. It's Patrick, and Susan Hampshire.

Speaker 2  3:47  
Who do you think I remember too much about that. It's a long time ago, was the set that we built. And there was some quite interesting character actors on it. And I could, you know, I can't remember their names. But I was remember, it's a lovely little movie. And you know, being your first job is quite an exciting time, but I don't remember a great deal about it. So I can't really give you too much.

Speaker 3  4:11  
But that was the first obviously for you. That was your first opportunity. Yeah. Working as vertices.

Speaker 2  4:19  
Yeah. Interesting enough. I think the cameraman on that was Paul basin. And Paul bisa. And he was had quite a heavy reputation. And I always remember having to put the clapperboard in for one scene, because everybody else was busy as the third and I really screwed it up. And he tore a lamp off me. And later on in my career, I used him as my lighting cameraman on a couple of my movies. And we always laughed about that moment, but he was a great he was really a great cameraman. Very clever man.

Speaker 3  4:54  
So they will there was another third or third couple of more third jobs. One being the next one was one of the carry on pictures carry on clear. That was great. Yes. And then cartoon

Speaker 2  5:08  
cartoon cartoon was the was the big one. I mean, we all went out to Egypt to do that one. But he was a fantastic man. He was an absolute doll to work with. I mean, you know, he would be on that set first thing in the morning. And he would be there, right the way through to the end. knew his lines. Absolutely fantastic. Basil Dearden was the director. And we were shooting most of it in a village called Men's Gooner, I think it was called here was terrible. I mean, that was that place was built of couches. And you know, they used to come out with a tea break in the morning. And by five minutes late, a gust of wind blowing and nobody wanted to eat the sandwiches, or anything. Like there was one incident on that unremember John Peverel was the first and behind the, the the main boat were two loggers carrying wood. And the idea is they get cut free during the course of it. And I was on one of those loggers. And I can remember talking to John on the on the radio, and someone cut the logger free before it was supposed to go free. And the last thing they saw of me was drifting down the mile and it took them ages. Come and pick me up but you set this crazy place. Yeah, well, I wouldn't say lots of fun it was. That was a tricky one because it was quite early for films to be in Egypt. And they didn't really want to say I didn't like us very much. And there was a lot of stomach bugs around. And I I got it and it was pretty terrifying. It's terrible stuff.

Speaker 3  6:52  
So then, you've got the opportunity why you moved on to second

Speaker 2  6:56  
in the door a lot more movies as third but yeah, there

Speaker 3  7:01  
was a lot more than Oh, yeah. There's not on your

Speaker 2  7:04  
No, no that. Yeah, that is not up to date by this is tonne of stuff missing, but I can't be bothered. Right.

Speaker 3  7:10  
Okay. So. So how did it work? Terry, if we could just explain perhaps, for people that are listening? Yeah, they would probably like to know, like, you obviously got the opportunities as third. Yeah. You started on? I mean, you've got jobs. Pinewood Yes, we started as third. So how did it work for you in terms of things moving on

Speaker 2  7:34  
to become a circuit? Over those days, you really had to do you really had to do so many jobs before you are allowed to move on to become a second. It's not like today, of course, you can do what you like. So you had to have done so many movies. And then I, my first assistant, John Peverel, who was who guy worked for us to third, his second wasn't available. And at that point, it was time for me to move up. So he moved me up to second I became a second. And that's how it happened. And then when you move from second to first, you were supposed to have done so many movies, and so many jobs. But we were coming to the end of that sort of period. By the time I'd moved to first really.

Speaker 3  8:22  
So we then as we going along on the second I've got here. A film's called only when I laugh and the big job is St. James. Yeah, Jared Sims Sylvia seems Jim Dale, it was great. So it was like people from the carry on. Yeah,

Speaker 2  8:38  
they were all they were good fun movies. And only when I laugh at that we shot that out in where it was that now there was somewhere what are the Far East I can't remember the place. And it was that was a really fantastic piece to do. I just can't think of where it was. The Lebanon was shut down the Lebanon

Unknown Speaker  9:05  
assassination, the assassination Bureau, brilliant

Speaker 2  9:08  
Dinah Rick. Again, shot by basil who I loved working with. We've got an extremely well worth. We went a lot of locations on that one we did. Venice. We were in Germany. It was a really interesting project. And of course, she was a fantastic actress. I loved working with her

Speaker 3  9:39  
so then you've got the opportunity. We're moving on. So this is now I've got sort of with the 60s and now we're going to come right up to 1970 rather quickly.

Unknown Speaker  9:49  
That was a big jump.

Speaker 3  9:52  
So we seem to have Yeah, so largely 70 That was a film you did here with us. He did another very interesting film called The brute. He is in this movie 1971 British drama film. Yeah,

Speaker 2  10:09  
I can't remember the name of it. All the right noises. Yeah. Jerry O'Hara loved him great guy, one of the great first assistants of all time, good director. And in fact, later on in my career was very helpful to me. You know, there was a period where, you know, I'd done a few movies, but things hadn't really worked out. And I was looking to find work in television. And Jerry was kind enough to introduce me to a series that was being made. I think it was down in Southampton. I can't remember the name of it at this point. And he got me on that. And that sort of started me off on my television career.

Speaker 3  10:56  
So that was, as I said, you have a box at 70. So then we'll get into 71. And there seems to be some very interesting films in that time, which you were part of and first ideal

Unknown Speaker  11:11  
system. You Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  11:15  
So we got to the crime film. British crime fell by Richard Attenborough, Tim Rillington Place.

Speaker 2  11:22  
Oh, right. Yeah, that was a, that was a very interesting experience. That was, yeah, I think done one or two second units as first product. But prior to that I'd worked on Blake Edwards Starling Lily, out in, out in Ireland, shooting the aerial unit. But then, yeah, I was brought in Richard Fleischer was a very I worked I did a few movies with him. As you probably know, after that. I was very interested in director technically brilliant, absolutely brilliant. But Richard AHPRA. What a performance I mean, you know that the sequence in it where he was walking up the stairs, to the baby's bedroom, and we had a real baby in there. And that baby started to cry on its own when it saw him coming up the stairs, hips. He was quite terrifying. But a very interesting thing I can tell you about that show. We had the Hanged Man, Albert Pierpoint was the Technical Director on it. And he was explaining to myself and Richard, how he hung him how he hung people. And he was a very, very interesting character. And nobody would have lunch with him. They all a bit. So I used to have lunch with him every day. And he would tell me about, you know, the, the Nuremberg trials. And that was a very interesting guy into what he told me, but it was very interesting. Yeah, that was, that was that was one of my first with Dickie because we've done only when I laugh. I was a second on that. And Dickey was in

Unknown Speaker  13:01  
Vegas, Richard Fleischer. You then did a film with me a fair blind

Speaker 2  13:07  
Tara. That was a big pleasure again. And that was that was a good movie. She was a lovely lady to work for. under very difficult conditions, because it was winter. And it was it was quite harsh out there. So but she was very, very good. And again, you know, with a with a director like flusher, you knew exactly what you were doing every day. There was no, I mean, our our, and he knew what you wanted, he knew what to get it and you had no problems working with him.

Unknown Speaker  13:36  
And that was shot. Was that all shot in the UK?

Speaker 2  13:38  
Yes, it was. Yeah. Yeah. He liked working here. Because we did another one after that called the Great Sarah. Sarah Bernhardt that I did that was first with him as well. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  13:54  
Oh, and of course, we can't really forget Straw Dogs.

Speaker 2  13:59  
Yeah, that was a show and a half a movie, powerful director, a very, very tough man who I avenge it took me a while to get on with him. Because he he was explosive, very exposed. And I mean, he's sort of directing. It's not, you know, I would have approved of normally, he was very cruel to certain people. But once, you know, we had a sort of one on one bit of a confrontation. And after that we got on very well indeed. And in fact, he, after the movie had finished he, he went to he was going to do a picture in Germany called Sergeant Steiner. Which he asked me to do and I thought no one says enough saying thank you very much indeed. But you know, through the years, he'd come back and say, Do you want to do a move and I think that was a that was the toughest I did. You know, really as a first. I think the toughest is The second was the charge of light brigade. That was a real tough picture to do as well. big crowds, big action sequences. You know, when I was sort of ramrod second, I had a couple of other seconds working for me. But they were the two toughest, I think.

Unknown Speaker  15:16  
Do you do you look back at some of the films you've worked on? Like Straw Dogs? Do

Speaker 2  15:20  
I watch them? Do you watch them? When they occasionally, occasionally if they're on and you know, I'm in the mood. But yeah, I mean, the ones I like best I think the Panthers Yeah. Because they were a dream to work on, you know?

Speaker 3  15:39  
Yeah. Which, which they will bring? Oh, well, we shouldn't really miss out this the boy yeah, the Pink Panther strikes again. Which was in 1976. Yeah,

Speaker 2  15:49  
that was the best director I ever worked for. He was he's a giant, you know, he was he was true Hollywood, he was the the everything everything you think about the great Hollywood directors, you know, those the forwards and people like that. This man was a genius. And he was I tried to style myself on his, his way of directing his, you know, his ethos, how he approached things, how he liked his set to be run, and you wouldn't laugh a minute. Unfortunately, we just lost one of the great members of the crew guy called Joe Don. Joe dam was the stunt double for Peter Sellars, and worked on worked on all the shows, we got on like Asafa and he was brilliant as well. They had this fantastic, you know, you would walk on the set, and it's the only set that I've ever run, where I've not had to shout quiet when the director comes onto the scene. When Blake walked onto the set, just went went quiet. They all went blinks on the same, though. Those were my favourite movies to work on.

Speaker 3  17:01  
There's quite a lot of Yeah, that was the fifth. It's Yes, I've got revenge of the Pink Panther tracks again. Tyler the curse of the Pink Panther. Yeah, going right up to 1983.

Unknown Speaker  17:15  
Yeah, we're good. I enjoyed them very much indeed.

Speaker 3  17:21  
This was a interesting film he called the disappearance,

Speaker 2  17:24  
it might be interesting for you, but it wasn't interesting for me. I think that's one of the thing that's one of the movies. I can remember thinking to myself. I don't want to do this anymore. As a first I think there comes a time where as a first assistant, you're either going to that's going to be you for the rest of your life, which a lot of them did and a lot of them were great. There were some some really great first assistants around that time. But I had really come to the end I thought when I started working with directors who I thought I was better than simple as that I thought this is wrong. You're not doing this right. I don't like the way you're dealing with people on the set. I don't like the way you're talking to the actors. And I decided that was enough. But unfortunately I you know I nearly got lured back into it but I didn't so that's when I moved on to directing

Speaker 3  18:21  
so it was it I mean, obviously I don't know the film sorry, but the disappearance was there obviously there was a particular situation what can you describe what

Speaker 2  18:31  
it just wasn't just wasn't just wasn't one of my favourites.

Unknown Speaker  18:35  
I've not seen the film. It's

Unknown Speaker  18:37  
a film with Southern and that's right. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3  18:44  
So in 86 You did some second unit work? Yeah. So I'm skipping ahead. That's okay. I shouldn't really because it's 77 I mustn't miss out pray

Speaker 2  18:58  
Yeah, pray was it was it the industry was very bad at that time. As you probably know, there's no work around at all. And I'm a science fiction buff and be my whole thing is sword and sorcery and science fiction. And I'd seen that there was you know, there was an area where you can make small amounts of time where everybody was making small budget movies and trying to get them knocked out and I learned a lot from that you know, the idea went to a friend of mine who was right I said this is what I want to do. Let's try and get a script together. We got Norman on board and we made that for about I think the actual cash spend on it was 3000 pounds. And everybody else we knew everybody we know the you know the Leigh brothers, Sammy sons, the shepherd and everybody said okay, yeah gone. We'll you know we'll do we'll defer it and number did a good job. And but and it did make money but I never saw any of it. Unfortunately because So I was extremely naive with regards to distribution. And I've learned a lot since then. So, but it was my first sort of foray into it. And it was good to do

Speaker 3  20:14  
is a particular favourite of mine and I like the kind of theatre. Yeah. The simplicity of Yeah, one location. Yeah, we you could affect it.

Speaker 2  20:25  
You could do it. Those days, you could go in there with, you know, a cup of cold tea and maker, you're gonna make a movie nowadays, you can't walk out your front door without spending a million.

Speaker 3  20:39  
So let me get to this. Yeah, so 1987 or so we've moved forward to Jamin the last city is that right?

Speaker 2  20:51  
No, no mercy stuff, your mission. The first the first movie I directed was a ray Cooney play that we turned into a movie called, why not stay for breakfast? Yeah, sorry. We're Georgia Charisse and Gemma Craven, which was my first directorial job. And I remember Martin shoot, who was the producer was a great friend of mine, lovely man. And I'd spoken to him about it. And I was working with a company called Backstage productions, trying to put stuff together. And I said, you know, the only way we're going to do this, and we're gonna have to try and make it can we get this play and turn it into a, you know, like another quick shoe? And he said, Yeah, you know, I can get it, I can get the playoff array. And you and ray can do the script. And we had one that we shot it in two weeks. One during the course of that we went to New York for a day. And we shot with the New York sequence. So we shot that in, I think was 11 days. So that was the first one. And then after that, we did another ray Cooney called that goes to the bride, which was, you know, Sylvia Sims and the Smothers Brothers and some great old actors like Broderick Crawford, Jim Backus. Oh, and I forget his name now. Bilco. Oh, Silvers was delightful, absolutely delightful working with, you know, they were my you people that I love to watch on, you know, the old black and white movies. There. I am working with him. It's pretty great. And then then it then it was Hulk? Yes. Then it was oh, because that's where I met Harry Robertson, my partner. And because Harry was did the music for both of them. And I remember sitting around with him one day when he was doing the music for their ghost the bride. And we were chatting. And I said to him, you know, I'm working on this. I'm working on this project about a, you know, a swordsman and action adventure initial one, you know, I'm very interested in that. And we got together and that's where Polk came from.

Speaker 3  23:08  
So did it did it come from any particular other literature? Well,

Speaker 2  23:13  
what were the influences, but I mean, millions of books that I'd read on sword and sorcery. Originally, it wasn't a sword and sorcery story. The idea was, we were going to do a sort of mediaeval version of the Japanese sword films. So we're going to do that. And we had this character who comes back, you know, from the, the crusades, and I was in Spain on holiday, and I was writing the first draft. And I'd had this visual of this guy coming up with a sword on his back. And, you know, I couldn't make it work. I couldn't. Because it was a long sword. I couldn't make it work. And I thought, why don't I make this a magic sword that he can summon into his hand. And that's where it turned from a sort of, you know, sword movie into a sword and sorcery movie. And so, I did the first 70 pages, and came back gave that to Harry, because Harry used to be great on the dialogue. And that's how we got our first show off. And it's an interesting story with that because it was being done by one of your great smaller companies called chips. And we, we, we had a budget of 600,000 pounds to make it. And we've got called into Luke grades office, Harry and I, the big office, up in town. We thought it was going to, it's going to pull it or whatever. And he was at that his big desk and we've sit in there. And he said, Sword and Sorcery. I like him. He said, what I'd like to do guys, you said, let's forget the 600,000 pound budget. Why don't we make it into a big major movie, but you can't direct it and you can't produce it. But you can be executive producers. What do you think? We didn't do? It? Could have been a mistake. I don't know. But it was interesting that it was just on the on the cusp of those signs of movies being made. And what I specifically wanted to do with it was go go from Thai green tights, to a totally different style and different look. We should have had CGI then.

Speaker 3  25:25  
Yeah, that was very interesting films, along with what was close now. Was it successful? Was it a successful film with a box office?

Speaker 2  25:34  
It's still running now. It plays every day. The merchandising still going on? There's a comic coming out next month. Fantastic comic, I've seen it. I've been approached about an audio book of the of the second script. Because there is a second script, Harry and I wrote the second script. And then there was going to be a third it was going to be a trilogy of you know, where the stones come from, and all that sort of stuff. They don't stop. I mean, that's, I have no memorabilia, because it's all gone. I mean, you know, we just people ask for stuff and you don't realise the worth of it. It's very interesting. A few few months ago, there was a auction. In town though, the Master Sword, which I've got, where the other swords were made from. There was six fighting swords, I think, for know for so. And so there was a memorabilia auction up in town where they sold Star Wars and all that sort of stuff. And there was one of the swords. And it was marked up to be between one and 2000 pounds. That's very good. First paid 18,000 pounds. Well, I've got the original.

Unknown Speaker  26:44  
What's that? What's the solid way to tell? Do you remember,

Speaker 2  26:48  
the song was made at Pine with the original one, the one I've got, has got an genuine 14th century blade in it with a beautiful handle, and stone and then the rest of the cast from that. But it was all made, it was all done a pine wood, you know, that was my home, I knew everybody there was like, you know, we all assets came from stock material that was there, we just went 600 grand, you know, wasn't a lot of money.

Unknown Speaker  27:15  
And a good class, good access to what you

Speaker 2  27:17  
thought fabulous. Yeah. I've always believed that, you know, like in America, in America, you know, that the golden age of American films between the 30s and 50s, you had this plethora of character actors. And I love that that's something I really do a lot of research into, and I really enjoy looking at him. And in the UK, if you if you care, if you pick carefully, you can find those sorts of character actors. And we were very lucky at that time. We got some really, you know, really great people on that show. When you look at it. They're all they're all very, very good. We're very lucky. They

Speaker 3  27:57  
all seem to have, as you say, characters, individuals individual individuality. Yeah, in some ways. Do you think that sort of, dare I say lacking in things now that you see, perhaps,

Speaker 2  28:11  
I suppose I think about it a lot. I think that you know, when I mean, you know, when I'm trying to put a project together, which I'm doing at the moment, I tried to think of all the smaller parts that are in it. And I tried to think of the very best character actors that we have, that could fill those roles. You know, a lot of them. Strangely enough, we were discussing this yesterday on the bill, shoot. A lot of those actors who were in the bill, you don't see you don't see them again. But they were damn good. And those are the sorts of people I feel that we should be using more of. And, you know, for a director, if you've got people like that, that, that cast on there, it saves you so much time. And you know, they like you you like them, you know, they're confident to work with you. Do you get fantastic performances, you know, really fantastic staff.

Speaker 3  29:00  
Did you see the costume? How was the casting process for him? It was like,

Speaker 2  29:05  
it was done down a pinewood with I forget who the casting. There was a there was a permanent cast in office, their name escapes me for the moment, but they just came up with these brilliant names all the time. And when Roy Kinnear, for instance, who was absolutely fabulous, you know, just that one little sequence with him is a diamond, you know.

Unknown Speaker  29:34  
Thank you prisoners of the

Speaker 2  29:36  
last universe. Yeah, that was next, I think yeah. And that came about by we were in America, Harry and I, we been we would constantly pitch in and again, we love science fiction. We love the idea of a parallel universes. And we you know, we just stuck it together. We were very lucky to have two good American actors, Kayla ends and Richard again, can't think of a second name. And you know, that was fun. We shot that in South Africa. That was a really good. Again, we had another sequel for that.

Unknown Speaker  30:17  
And then Jamie what city?

Speaker 2  30:18  
Yeah, my favourite date that funnily a stranger. Here, strangely enough, my son was telling me that he'd seen it on one of these. I can't remember what they were, you know, like Netflix or something like that. I give it four stars, and they let the write ups about it are fantastic. In that your seat to me, one of the great performances are Jasper Carrott, he plays the three every single movie. In it, he plays three, you know, German brothers, they will get you know, they'll get murdered one kill one by one. He is absolutely fantastic in it. And that again, there was a lot of good English character actors in there. I mean, you know, you've got Who did we bring in for I'm just trying to think of his name. I think about a minute, but again, really, so, you know, solid English actors. And again, that's, that's what I'm always looking for, you know, when I'm trying to put a cast together, I'm looking for the best I can get, you know, for the money or those that will come in, and you'd be surprised that people will come in and they will do a day, you know, because they like to work, you know. A gramme Graham, Graham Stark, yeah, who I loved he was. Now there is a typical example of a great English character actor.

Speaker 1  31:43  
Working for a few in this Siebel server someone the other day, and that was the last sort of raffle? Yeah,

Speaker 2  31:51  
absolutely. Professionals really good stuff. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  31:55  
What was the ferret?

Speaker 2  31:58  
That's a very, very, it's a very interesting conversation. I was asked by Blake Edwards to come to America to shoot part of a pilot for a new character called the ferret. And the ferret was his name, the name is connected with a spy that only the President of the United States knows about. And each President passes it on to the next president. And the way you identify is by a little silver ferret with a Ruby eye. And we shot the we shot about Asha about 35 minutes of pilot in the US. And it really, really did look great. It was uh, you know, amazing. It was all played out once again. I mean, there's a genius. And unfortunately, what happened was we went went into a meeting with CBS or one of the big players. And they said, Fine, okay, yeah, we want to go ahead. So that meant I would finish the pilot. And then we'll go to series. And they didn't offer him the amount of episodes that he wanted. He wouldn't do it. So it just remains as that 35 minute section of the Pharaoh. A fantastic opening, like a pink panther sequence. I've seen it. Yeah, it's, it's we get it anybody's really, the opening is fantastic. You know, a little ferret probing on the little ferret running about, I might have the same animal. Yeah, I might have it. I might have it somewhere. I might have it somewhere. I'll see if I can dig it out.

Speaker 3  33:45  
And they know TV with you doing some work for him. Well, that was shown on a series called Cat science. And

Speaker 2  33:53  
that's where that's where, after Jerry came in, Jerry Ohara. They were doing cat size. It was down. I can't remember where it was Southampton, I think it was and he you know, he called me up one day and he said, What are you doing? I said, you know, don't much he said would you like to come down and do a bid on cat signs? I said Yeah, absolutely. And you know, I did one which they loved and then I was on it. And that was my that I was on TV for quite a long time.

Speaker 3  34:25  
Yeah, that's when we then did quite a few cop cop shows very popular shows. Yeah, yeah. Right TV. Yeah. I've got Bill Berger at a heartbeat. Yeah. And trainer for baby trainer.

Speaker 2  34:43  
Yeah. Mr. Majestic, Mr. Majestics. Yeah. Yeah, it was a hell of a lot of that going on. But there did come a point where I got well, I got to the point where I thought you know, television is a very interesting thing that when you will hooked on something like the bill, for instance. That was great. That was fantastic. Because you had a, an ensemble cast that were all brilliant. He had great technicians. You had a fantastic executive producer, Peter crow gene. And they gave you an Jeff McQueen, who wrote them, if you could get one of his scripts, and I got a couple of them, they were brilliant. And you were really allowed to, you know, express yourself there. But mostly, you know, we're television. You're always walking into a set situation, aren't you? I mean, if you're, if you're doing third, someone's doing 13 episodes, and you come in and you're on number three, it's already set for you to camera, but they all know one another. You can't really do a great deal. You know, you just got fed up with it. And that's when I started to work on my own television series.

Speaker 3  35:48  
So the your own TV series, Terry, was that the castle adventure?

Speaker 2  35:54  
What happened with cancer? I was I did cancel a venture for TBS, right, as it was an eight parter. And after I'd finished I got it. Strangely enough, I had a call from the estate. And I forgot the name of the author in a plane, went up to the Enid Blyton offices where I met the two sisters, the two sisters were in control of it. And they said we were so pleased with what you did on it. We wondered if you'd be interested in doing the others the other seven? She said we can you know, you can you can have sort of basically a free option to put them together. And I said, Well, that's fantastic. And I partnered up with a guy called Ray Thompson. And we'd met we were in town trying to find a company to work with. And we met another guy who became my partner later on called Phil Walbank, who worked at Avalon Studios in New Zealand. And he said, we'll do that we'll come on board, we will put this amount in, can you get the rest and we said we can get the rest. So we made those, I did those as the executive producer. And then I spent a long time trying to put dark knight together, which was the the Ivanhoe series. But I sort of got trapped into directing a series called The New Adventures of Robin Hood. Because the two American producers I'd known for a long time. They really wanted what they called guerrilla directors, directors, who could shoot these in six days. And they were tough. We shot this in Lithuania. And I did two years of that. And then got my break. The other guy worked with Jim All right. Pluto fan films. He's someone you want to get ahold of, he's fantastic. He put he found a deal at Channel Five. And we put that we shot that in New Zealand as well. We did two series of that, and did very well. Great ratings. And we were gonna do a third theory, but there was a, you know, a change in manner management. And as per usual, new broom sweeps clean, doesn't it?

Speaker 3  38:13  
So then there was a another film. I mean, there was the New Adventures of Robin Hood. Yes. Yeah. But they needed a film called The Last seduction. I

Unknown Speaker  38:27  
did, indeed. Which was a sequel to a very popular film. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker  38:33  
Called the last. Yeah,

Speaker 2  38:34  
yeah. Very interesting. I don't think it did. Much. Really. It was very interesting. You know, some very good actors on it. Again, very enjoyable. A great friend of mine and very good producer David ball produced it. And yeah, I think that was really my, my, my swan song, apart from the fact that, you know, I was coerced to direct four of the episodes of dark night by my partners, which was, and I also had to direct some of the previous Enid Blyton shows. But they were you know, they were very interesting. Yeah.

Speaker 3  39:12  
So for people will be interested, I mean, going on to instead of getting involved in the work of the director, how did how has that changed from the computers that we have to use now to how used

Speaker 2  39:28  
to in my day, it was pencil and paper, you know, you've got your script as your first ad and you the first thing you did was to obviously read it, and then you'd broke it, you broke it down. And you had these break breakdown sheets, which you know, and then you would on that you would put the scene, various elements of that scene. And when you go through the script to the entrepreneur, a pile of breakdown sheets, and then they were all transferred to a thing called a strip board, which was Huge bold and you had long strips. And on those strips you would write the scene numbers, the scenes, etc. And then you would juxtaposition those to get your sheduled that's how you did it. And you know you some of the some of the first assistants I'd worked with will bring you brilliant at it. They were the best one I have. Excuse me, the best one I ever saw was Clive, think Mr. Mamet. He did a he was the first assistant on charger light brigade. Best breakdown I've ever seen it was that thick. And it was so brilliantly done. And Clive read. So brilliantly done. I kept it for years. Unfortunately, gave it to someone else who would run it who's a first had everything in it. Everything you could possibly think of about making a movie was in that breakdown? It was it should have been published as it was that good, even to things like dealing with the horses, and horses when you're working need a certain chemical? That has to be Oh, man, it was yeah, it was way beyond anything. Brilliant. That's how it was done.

Unknown Speaker  41:16  
So I mean, how does it change? Doo doo doo? Do you think that the computer has helped the process?

Speaker 2  41:23  
I think what's changed is experience. I think, I suppose you know, people will look at this and say silly old fart. But to me, the system where you had to do so many movies, as an assistant director, you had to do so many as a third, so many as a second. And then you could become a first assistant. It's all about experience, you know, situations arise on set that you've encountered before, or you know, how to deal with. And you. I mean, I don't know, the Aedes days, I don't know how they work. You know, I don't know how they do it. But in my day, the Jerry Ohara is at Augusta gusties. And, you know, Thabor, fantastic. I mean, these guys, you know, really didn't know what they were doing. You know, the they ran the say, it's changed a lot now. Right? You know, it doesn't seem to me that the first runs, as we used to run it, you know, maybe I'm wrong. Do

Speaker 3  42:27  
you think it's what do you think you might allude to what that might, why that change is happening as they jump are they trying to are they not really tell you they should be listening to, I feel they should be listening to people like you to sort of give them an understanding of this because obviously there's an error,

Speaker 2  42:45  
I think they jump up too quickly. I think they become they become a first assistant, to me is the most important and the most important people on the set. You know, if he isn't up to it, it's not going to move. And you need to be a certain type of person to run that say you need to stand tall, you need to be in there and be respected. And people need to, you know, understand that you know what you're talking about, you go up there too fast. And you're not going to have the experience you're not going to be able to cope with all the things you should know about is really very, very important. In fact, you know, often when I was interviewed recently, I said that because of my experiences are first it enabled me to do things on the bill, like very tricky, special effects things because I knew how they were done and how quickly I could do them. And you know, I knew the background to most of it and how it was done. They don't know that anymore. And you know, it's it's it's sad, but I suppose when you've got you know 100 million dollars to make a movie with it doesn't matter too much.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Terry Marcel (born 10 June 1942, Oxford, England) is a British film director, perhaps best known for the cult film Hawk the Slayer (1980) which he co-created with producer Harry Robertson and Straw Dogs (1971)

His other films include Prisoners of the Lost UniverseThe Last Seduction II and Jane and the Lost City, while his TV work includes fantasy series Dark Knight, an update on the Ivanhoe legend with fantasy trappings.

His children include the actress Rosie Marcel, and writer and actress Kelly Marcel.