Waris Hussein

Waris Hussein
Forename/s: 
Waris
Family name: 
Hussein
Work area/craft/role: 
Company: 
Industry: 
Interview Number: 
655
Interview Date(s): 
13 Jun 2013
14 Jun 2013
Interviewer/s: 
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 
160

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Interview
Waris Hussein
Waris Hussein
Transcript

BEHP transcript Disclaimer

This transcript has been produced automatically using Speechmatics.

It provides a basic, but unverified or proofread transcript of the interview. Therefore, the British Entertainment History Project (BEHP) accepts no liability for any misinterpretation of the content of this interview.

However, the BEHP wants to make every effort to improve the quality of these transcripts and would welcome any voluntary offers to proofread this and/or other interviews. If you want to help, please contact BEHP Secretary,  sue.malden@btinternet.com.

A BEHP interview with Waris Hussein

SPEAKER: M14
That's camera speed gentlemen art class use slightly brighter frame outside.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah. Okay. Right. Can you tell the camera who you are always when.
SPEAKER: F6
Okay. I'm Morris Hussein. I was born in India in a town called Lucknow now in December nineteen thirty eight.
SPEAKER: M5
Okay now. So you were in India as a child through the war. Yeah. And you came to Britain at the end of the war as I.
SPEAKER: F2
I came down. Yes I did. I came to England in 1947. My father morticians. No. This is the big irony of our lives here.
SPEAKER: M2
We actually came over because my father was a diplomat and he was working for the British Indian Government who had sent him here as a supply commissioner for cotton. He was in the situation of cotton import and export. So it meant that we were based in London but he used to commute to Manchester in those days dark and satanic as it was our post-war Britain.
SPEAKER: M5
Can you tell us a bit a bit about being a child in India during the war. I mean did that.
SPEAKER: M2
Well this is I was about to say that the shock for us arriving in post-war Britain was that we had no knowledge of what had been going on because in India although there was a possible danger of Japanese invasion through Burma we led the life of Riley. The British did too. I mean there was a war going on obviously because we kept hearing about it and there were cartoons and newsreels and things like that. Cartoons with anti German anti Hitler. But as a child I grew up in the most wonderful way I was born in a very beautiful city called Lucknow. My father was then transferred through his work to Bombay where we lived in very comfortable circumstances. And then he was transferred to Britain. And at that time there was absolutely no thought of immediate partition nor independence. We arrived in May 47 are hardly settled into what was then a rationed grim looking London bombed out as well. To find that in August certainly end of a way of life. My father's job stopped because of India being separated. We were given the option to remaining British subjects or becoming new Indians or the new Pakistan. My mother who had us both my sister and myself on her British passport decided to stay British thank goodness because she absolutely deplored what had happened. The partition of India was appalling as we all know huge migrations lots and lots of suffering and because we've been brought over small children. She said she just didn't feel we could just be shunted back and forth. We'd already be put into schools boarding schools. So that's how making British education started. My father went back to find work elsewhere.
SPEAKER: F6
Back in the cotton areas in India the burgeoning independent India. But my sister and I ended up as some Brits.
SPEAKER: M5
So your mother I believe was involved in broadcasting or acting.
SPEAKER: M3
Indeed my mother was more than just that. She and I are very proud to say this was one of the first novelists in English English slang female novelist in the English language. Her first book was published in 1961 by Chatham windows and. Her editor was Cecil Day Lewis so and subsequently that book has been republished a number of times in the book of short stories.
SPEAKER: M2
So that was one aspect of her life in order to keep us here and make a living. She managed to get a job at the BBC in Bush house which in those days broadcast the Far East. So she used to broadcast in Hindi and or do a twenty five pounds a week. My father was not allowed to send any money because in those days it has a lot of restrictions on foreign money sending. However you know he was allowed I think almost as a tribute to the work he'd done to send money for education. Regarding my sister and myself but he was not left then any money to my mother. Somehow that we managed and it was an amazing thing to do because she was more or less a single mother. She what she said she wouldn't go back because of us being here. My father did understand all this but you can imagine the ramifications of this it affect the partition affected us very deeply because our families are divided as well some of whom stayed in India and some of whom went to the new country for Pakistan which none of us knew because of a different part of the subcontinent in the Punjab which I am totally unfamiliar with.
SPEAKER: M3
So yes and whereabouts in London were you if you were in India. Well strangely enough we landed up in Cornwall Gardens which is not far from here. So my life is sort of centred itself around the Chelsea Kensington area Cornwall Gardens in those days was pretty grim. Not now. I mean today is very fashionable. We all put up a flat on the top of a building and it was dreadful. We met a woman who sort of looked very much like one of those horsey country types a lady something or other. And of course in those days incredibly superior and she was very concerned about having these rather strange characters who were Indians on top of everything else.
SPEAKER: M2
My mother had been very carefully brought up and under fairly good circumstances. So she knew what her situation was.
SPEAKER: M3
But we were all appalled at the sort of puritanical life that we had to now adjust to it. So we went Cornwall Gardens and then when all this finished with my father going back my mother moved us to a one bedroom flat in Sloane Avenue in a place called Nell Gwyn house. So in those days because it was one bedroom my sister my mother slept in one bed and I slept in I think a cot bed and it was all pretty basic but actually what was so interesting was the Melbourne house was a bachelor pad for visiting businessmen in those days and quite luxurious 1930s style. It had a Porta rather forbidding portico and Emma Stone. We were terrified of him.
SPEAKER: M5
Incredibly I lived there in the 60s. Oh you did. Oh my goodness. Well then we have something in common.
SPEAKER: F2
Yes but since then in the late 90s it became a knocking shop for a Russian. Oh really. Oh yes. Natasha's there we write all there as very high class escorts. It's not been cleaned up again.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh I see. I'd become very expensive.
SPEAKER: F2
But where we lived that was basic and we somehow made do. I used to hide in the cupboard which had a radio above it. It was already in built and I used to listen to all the radio programs and I to this day remember things like much binding in the marsh and the arches.
SPEAKER: M5
That was later that was later but still I remember it. Yes your you're going in the right direction. Can you tell me now about your early influences in terms of theatre film. Well I was always a very very most child.
SPEAKER: M3
Yes. I used even in Bombay when we were kids because I was full of film. I mean we were allowed to go to the Metro Cinema which is very glamorous thing to do. And of course children's films. But every now and again I'd get a glimpse of Hollywood as it was then. Esther Williams diving into pools trailers for things like The Postman Always Rings Twice. Lana Turner and white. All these things sank into me. And then there were the Bollywood films. You see lots of singing and dancing. And I used to make believe I used to get my sister and my cousins to get in to one of the cupboards in the bay in the nursery and pretend we were on a train.
SPEAKER: F2
Now you're getting into that train you're travelling now don't come out until the next station. Then I shut the door no windows and they'd be sitting in dark cupboard saying When is the next station. And I'd be imagining that we're travelling somewhere. That was my first stint the imagination I might add that I was brought up by an English nanny who taught me to say Hail Mary because she was a Catholic and also she didn't like me very much like my sister a lot and said I'm going to make a little Englishman out of you if it kills me. Now that was amazing foresight considering the fact that we never thought I'd end up in Britain. So I think Mrs Lesley wherever she is today is probably quite pleased to see me. But know what happened was we all this built up to my coming back to Chelsea and theatre and my mother was an avid theatre goer. She loved theatre from way back and my imagination used to take me into all sorts of areas where I used to play act and if there was a four poster bed put the curtains then draw them into a stage thing on this bed. So what happened was that when we were here we made little expeditions with those is quite a lot of expedition to get Stratford upon Avon and we arrived there.
SPEAKER: M2
My mother drove and we booked into a lovely hotel which still there called the Alva distance Manor Hotel and we could just about afford it. I would get up at 6:00 in the morning and go across to the theatre and queue up for seats returns and we saw John Gill good in King Lear.
SPEAKER: F2
I remember queuing up like mad and seeing that and then we also saw Julius Caesar and that season with Peggy Ashcroft was there as well. Peggy played.
SPEAKER: F1
Cordelia I'll never forget because I didn't I wasn't familiar with Shakespeare never. I can't tell you seeing that play him bringing her own dead at the end. And. When he says Graves do this button.
SPEAKER: F2
Plastic line I fell apart. I just couldn't believe the horror of it all.
SPEAKER: M5
And then they came on for their applause and there was Peggy alive with the rope around her neck and how could this be possible. But.
SPEAKER: F2
My introduction to theatre and Shakespeare I got going to the Lyric Hammersmith I was a bit older by now in my 12 year old ten year twelve the way of the world. Gill good season balls Caufield. Pamela Brown Yeah. Eileen Hurley Margaret rather bird.
SPEAKER: M5
What more do you want. I mean that was my classic. What more do you want to work in the business no doubt. Ls it so bring us to that.
SPEAKER: M4
How could I possibly not then. No no. My aspirations were. Being arrogant enough to think I was pretty and pretty little boy. Well where how when. No no ethnic around I mean very few and ethnics were then being cast by Caucasians. All right. All Browning up yes. And. But theatre theatre ah I I was put in to. I went from prep school. To boarding school. I went to school in Clifton Bristol Clifton College which was a traditional Victorian edifice originally created for people to be sent to colonial rule to become colonial administrators our most famous person was Earl Haig from the First World War. Are the people who we boasted about was Michael Redgrave who is an alumni and Trevor Howard. And since then Simon Russell Beale I might add and John Cleese who is by the way a contemporary of mine. Anyway I went to Clifton hated it.
SPEAKER: F2
I absolutely couldn't stay. Well it was still Victorian era and it was still rationing in 1950 to three. I was what by now eleven twelve I mean I was put into the most horrible place I've ever been to. The toilets had no doors. Hygiene was at its lowest. We wore stiff collars in those days. And this is why I discovered the art of hypocrisy.
SPEAKER: M4
You took off your dirty collar and put on a clean one to look as if you were clean. But the dirty colour was put in from a massive sort of wooden. Sort of container along with all one underwear. Appalling and at what the worst thing that was for me was the pride the lack of privacy in the toilets.
SPEAKER: M6
I since then discovered a shield to my horror of such things as body bodily functions. Was to read I used to take film magazines with me and Read Picture Goer and photo play. That's how I got all my knowledge of Hollywood sitting on the toilet reading about James Dean who I then fell madly in love with as did thousands of others.
SPEAKER: M4
And I still do. I have a scrapbooks cut out all these famous movie stars and put them into my scrapbooks. Ironically my early cut outs were Gene Simmons and Elizabeth Taylor both of which more later of which more later.
SPEAKER: F5
So then then at Clifton we had a very thriving theatrical tradition. We saw House play competitions and the House the House had always won which I always saw was brilliant but I didn't realise the latent sort of racism underneath all this was the fact that the household was one was a Jewish house school Pollock's house.
SPEAKER: M6
It was purely for Jewish boys and it was created so that they could practise their own religion on Saturday Sabbath. This sort of thing never occurred to me that they'd be late to sort of oh my god well well what do you expect they'd win sort of attitude.
SPEAKER: M7
I always thought they did so much better at performances anyway. My. Problem was that I was born to Muslim household but not practising and I had a very good voice. So my before my voice broke I was in the choir. And I can now sing Jesus Joy of Man's Desiring to this moment. And number of other hymns that I fill in my head you know I was brought up in the Anglican faith so forget being Muslim which is odd now because of the days that Islamophobia is rampant.
SPEAKER: M8
It's sort of ironic you know because I you know brought up in a totally different way. When I finally said to my mother what is this that I turned to the altar and say I believe in God Father and son of the Holy Ghost surely that's wrong she will just turn to the altar and say I believe in God the Father and then shut up that slide led to duvet we go in that theater Yeah we did all these plays and I would choose you had to choose a play with last 50 40 50 minutes 50 minutes.
SPEAKER: F4
20 minutes I chose extracts. Guess what I chose. So yes we complement. Yeah I'm afraid.
SPEAKER: F1
Camera speed gentlemen.
SPEAKER: M5
So good to pick up again from the place yesterday. CLAYTON Well my choice of plays was always subject to much alone.
SPEAKER: M4
First of all for instance I did a play I did the sequence from the crucible where the girl sees the bird on the rafters in her questioning and all the other girls start locking her in front of the judges.
SPEAKER: M7
Well now if you can think about this the majority of that cast is women. This is I know casting an all boys cast playing Abigail and what have I. So suddenly all these boys screaming and pointing to the unseen bird. That it was very unnerving to the chaplain who said oh this is this is really not right. And he walked out but and then I subsequently did another play called The Witch a call based on Karl dryer film.
SPEAKER: M8
Called a day of wrath. I was so fixated on that period of time in his film history. Karl dryer and the day of wrath I found the play of it. He'd originally found the original play made the film so I found the plane some in the library of the school and I did an extract from that and what did I do. It's all about a young woman being married to an old pastor who's got an even older mother who dislikes this young girl very much. Her name was on Peter's daughter and she then has an illicit affair. With. Her husband's son.
SPEAKER: M4
So I did a scene with lea playing the old lady and my friend Peter Turner playing pendants daughter and the love affair between her and her son in law. Well or not as I know the adopted son of one of you called stepson. Well again shock and horror because there was very close to the knuckle you see. Peter Turner was so good at and Peter's daughter under my direction that the school play the next year was seen Joan and the person who directed it cast Peter as Joan.
SPEAKER: F5
So he went up a few notches in the school drama sequence of events. Anyway that was my introduction to theatre and directing and directing. And when I got to Cambridge which was a year later I joined the Cambridge University's mummers and the ADC and my career as a directors took off. My first significant production for the Mummers was on Dean by George.
SPEAKER: F1
They do. And it was a huge hit. Let's look at John Tusa played the night. The eminent John Tusa and. Subsequently I directed a view from the bridge when it was first released as an amateur from under the Lord Chamberlain's. You know because he'd had it banned. Yes Joy. Mine was the first amateur production of it at Cambridge sold out couldn't get a seat in that production.
SPEAKER: F5
People who are like now Lord Robredo David Rowe better played the longshoreman. So that was the kind of thing that I did. I also did Twelfth Night with Ian McKellen as day as a Toby Belch Corin Redgrave is also you know.
SPEAKER: F1
Trying to remember this. Margaret Drabble as Violet and Trevor Nunn and Sebastian who also held my script as my sister.
SPEAKER: F3
I'd say things like Trevor make a note please tell him not to do too much. And that's where we were then. Yes I did it. I then came up with a brilliant idea because George Rylance was the big man there at Kings and he was a lecturer and I liked him a lot. He liked me actually I assisted him on his production of symbolism for the Marlowe society and. I went to him one day and I said Daddy I have had this incredible idea during the Easter vacation would it be possible to do a production if you can get the Arts Theatre for us of me with the Mahler society and the final year students at RADA and bring to lots of young people together and see how they mesh because Roger's got a very grand attitude theatre and Dadi thought well if you can get this together why not. So I went off to RADA and suggested it and they said OK. And then finally astuteness consisting of people like David Warner I came and auditioned for me.
SPEAKER: F5
I didn't cast David to this day he won't forgive me I to play the part of bitterness. I did cast it ultimately with a mixture of both and the play opened at the Cambridge Arts Theatre and I'd applied meanwhile to the BBC for a traineeship.
SPEAKER: F6
Now the reason I went to do this was because I thought I'd be an actor. However my acting career came to a grinding halt after I played the West Indian sailor up in Northampton turned up in Nottingham are now in in a taste of honey. Now the point about that was it was directed by Roy not the royal standard and very famous director subsequently who wanted to be radical about everything and subsequently me playing. Roy Battersby as a director. And for him to cast me as West Indian meant that I had to black up and put cotton wool in my mouth to get my mouth is Well why I'd ever got the role. But anyway I played it my entire. Earnings went on my laundry because I take the train down to London from Nottingham every weekend and my mother would do my laundry because all the black rum makers then I go back and do whatever but it was a mix actor. But where what happened there. Nothing. So I thought well and then John Jacobs who is a very prominent director at the BBC was directing a show called You Can't win them all by Alan o n.
SPEAKER: F1
And I put my photograph in spotlight in which I look quite gorgeous. He then auditioned me for a part in play and it was set in a revolutionary country in South America. As a young boy called Cho Lo and I got the part because Elvis he looks Latin American. Especially in lots of khaki uniforms carrying guns.
SPEAKER: F3
I was so totally undisciplined that on set not realizing when those days when you lined up shots and you had to stand the position I would be agitating all over the place moving and I had to be shouted out from the control room. That's when I first got my first bite of television centre and the whole forest was built as a set and all these incredible things going on around me. I had to jump from a fake Cliff at one point and no double had to do it myself.
SPEAKER: F5
This is in television centre. It was television centre after 1960. This is optimised. Yes. 1960 before I became a director. Yeah. Anyway that was my one and only chance of acting.
SPEAKER: F6
It worked dried up. Except I got a call again from John Jacobs who was doing a for Andromeda.
SPEAKER: F3
Would I be able to play a as an Arab commentator in the desert at a radio station. Of course I said not knowing a word of Arabic. I was short of a job I didn't have a job now.
SPEAKER: F2
So I went to. I went to see John Jacobs he said hello war as you remember me I said yes. He said well you speak Arabic.
SPEAKER: M11
I said yes. He said the. I said Can you just give me the script.
SPEAKER: F5
He said No no no. You can just improvise. When we come to do it. We'll be asking you to come for we'll give you said you the details.
SPEAKER: F1
Well I went home and panicked.
SPEAKER: F3
In those years I lived at the flat over the same flat as my mother and she said. I said What am I going to do. She said Well there's a lady upstairs who is I believe Middle Eastern. Why did you ask her if she speaks Arabic and then have a write it out in Roman lettering.
SPEAKER: F5
So I could then study it see panic panic. What am I going to do for 75 pounds and I was gonna be paid parallel to this. What had happened was my career was grinding to a halt as you can imagine. I'd gone to see.
SPEAKER: F7
Two people about films one of which was a film for nine hours to Rama all set in India about the assassination of Gandhi. Every single row was being planned by a Caucasian including the House bill calls playing the murderer and Valerie gear on playing a very glamorous Indian woman. And I went to see Mark ropes and the director because the casting director seen me in spotlight and I sat there and finally went in and them and he spoke to me for about I spoke to him for about two minutes then he turned to the lady that the you.
SPEAKER: F3
Is this guy an Indian. And I said Mr. Rose I am Indian but I understand why you asking the question Would you like me to speak like Peter Sellers.
SPEAKER: M11
I didn't get the part. So that was my one failure in life of the effort.
SPEAKER: F6
The other failure in life was I was desperate to get cast as one of the boys in Lawrence of Arabia. I knew there was a part for two young guys and David Lee knew me because of his wife then being Indian. Lena Lee and she. The problem was that I didn't get it.
SPEAKER: M11
So I now realize I had to apply elsewhere.
SPEAKER: F2
That's when I went to the Cambridge University appointments board and said Please try and put me up for that thing.
SPEAKER: F3
And they were waiting waiting waiting.
SPEAKER: M5
My production of season Cleopatra had fabulous reviews. This is with the two lots of student. Yes yes.
SPEAKER: F1
I got a call from the BBC would I book two seats for the Head of Drama who would like to see it. He came. I didn't see him at all I booked him at the hotel he left and I thought that's the end of it. I got the offer to come and be interviewed on the course because of the production.
SPEAKER: F5
Yes. And I then went I think you have to explain what the interview was for for the traineeship BBC BBC drama and PBL every dollar in television. Now let's put it this way at the time I went for this.
SPEAKER: F1
It was totally unheard of especially person of my age the BBC at that time had directors of vast experience like Rudolf Cartier who is a sort of Cecil B de Mille of the BBC.
SPEAKER: F6
He did all the epic stuff. And then I went for multiple interviews at each interview where there'd be a board of people sitting there. They would ask me if I would be OK if they gave me my BBC job would I be happy go to Bush House.
SPEAKER: F1
And I said What would that be about. They said well radio ad actually we've been pensionable job you'd have it for life. And I said yes but I'm applying for I'm applying for television but television Well I'm sorry we can't really offer you that. Oh if we did it would be temporary. I mean we could train you if that's what you think you could get. But at the end of six months we would let you go with no pension or we could keep you on with no guarantee of pension either. Which would you choose. And I decided. Against everything my hackles are rising. My father who is by now waiting for me to go back to India by the way he'd already agreed I'd graduated. He wanted me to go back and get a job in either oil. Or advertising which would have guaranteed me a very good social life in India. He gave me a year. I said Dad listen I'm very young still I've graduated at a very early age. Can you not give me a year. He said Well that's all I can help you with the rest you've got to find yourself. Well having gone to the BBC got through these interviews I waited. Believe it or not I got a letter saying we were very happy with your interviews but since you've turned the Bush House offer we are unfortunately unable to put you into a television course. However should anything fall through. You'll be first on our list. I hit the letter. I don't know what to say to my father. The week before I was due to go and do my stint as an Arab. In John Jacobson's safe Andromeda on the Friday I got a phone call from the BBC. Are you available to join the course on Monday. I said yes but I'm already signed with the BBC to do this thing.
SPEAKER: M4
Oh don't worry about that we can deal with that. Sorry to be so late on all this but we were on top of our list and we're very happy to offer you the course.
SPEAKER: F6
You cannot imagine what happened to me. I arrived at Woodstock grove on the Monday morning carrying my little bag tie jacket the lot walked him and sat down and saw in front of me the card of the person who had fallen out whose name had barely been extinguished and mine written in and I thought Anthony page dropped out being the kind of person Anthony is he still think does things like that.
SPEAKER: M11
Thank you Anthony. Huh. Yes. Little did I know one day I'd be competing with him for the same jobs. Oh yeah. At one point being mistaken for him because I've got a bald head a gray beard his size and not even the same anyway.
SPEAKER: F6
So thank you Anthony so thus started my traineeship at the BBC six months of sheer bliss learning which is what I did.
SPEAKER: M5
I believe the contract was the training scheme plus one production that does include.
SPEAKER: F3
No no no I was late in my case it was you had to do a production exercise.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah that's what I mean.
SPEAKER: F6
On that basis I guess what I chose I chose one act.
SPEAKER: M5
No I know I had to be realistic about what I was going to do.
SPEAKER: F3
One act which is Tennessee Williams called Hello from Bertha and it's about a prostitute dying in a new york new Orleans brothel. The scene is about the madam coming into the room and trying to get rid of the dying woman who's having her usual Tennessee Williams moments of total chaos mental chaos and dying at the same time. So I chose it one set two characters are perfect.
SPEAKER: F1
I decided that I needed to expand that a bit so in my set I asked for a brothel corridor leading to the bedroom. I peopled it with at least three or four prostitutes and about three sailors.
SPEAKER: F5
The camera travels yes to the room. Then we go to the room and then we have the scene bed sink.
SPEAKER: F3
And God knows what a window. And then in those days you couldn't do exterior you had total captions. So I had a photo caption of an exterior of New Orleans with Bessie Smith sitting.
SPEAKER: F4
Bessie Smith sing sitting and singing over it. And we cut that. Indeed.
SPEAKER: M12
Yeah.
SPEAKER: M5
So what was it like doing the course. Who were your contemporaries and how did they do. How did the exercise actually play out.
SPEAKER: F5
Well the course itself that I can't actually say who survived my stint there. Most of them actually were let go. Ah.
SPEAKER: M5
I wonder whether Oh you got to see the exercise with it with the Tennessee Williams extract. Oh hello from Bertha. Well the point was imagine.
SPEAKER: F2
It did the actual choice. Everyone else did their little bits and pieces but here I was doing a complete drama which only lasted half an hour about two women one of whom is dying and it's all set in America. Bessie Smith on the track. It was quite imaginative and I think it hit home to the executives at the BBC. They suddenly thought Oh wait a minute we've got somebody here who's got something to say and I think it contributed to the fact that after that I was then put on to. They didn't let me.
SPEAKER: F1
They told me that I was going to be kept on and all the rest of my they were all the people who are not actually BBC staff training but anyone from the outside of all let go.
SPEAKER: M4
I felt terrible because one of them was called Gerald Blake do remember Gerald. Indeed Gerald was a freelance and of the family. He was let go. He was on my course. Yes. And but he came back late.
SPEAKER: F3
Yeah but as a feedback Guardian he came out with his face right down there that got him next you know waiting for my axe to fall. Yeah and when I went in there of course in their true BBC fashion I was welcomed aboard. So you know I should have put on the old school time the Blazers anyway the.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah the bit then and then how did that you went into employment straight away or was there a gap.
SPEAKER: M4
No no I was put under control you were immediately put me under contract for a year. The situation was that if they took you on you were taken on on an annual basis at a fixed salary which they dictated and I was then there as a member of the staff for a year in serials or I was put into serials here.
SPEAKER: F5
My first interests to follow compact and I followed Christopher Barry around and I watched them work and it was terribly funny because with compact every scene was set in in an office and in taxi to A.C. too. And the sets were quite tiny and you didn't really have much to do except move them from a to b and to a filing cabinet. And I as a director kept thinking What can I do to make it spectacular of course. What can you do. I was in that time watching avidly ABC theatre from armchair armchair Theatre which is full of imagination.
SPEAKER: F1
A directors like Phillip Saville the Saville and Silvio Negrete SA know that they would take such a head coach if doing these spectacular dramas and here am I doing compact well trying to and I got my first stint and that was the big trial because my contract was coming to an end or being considered issue and so they had to decide if they're going to keep me on. Well my. First thing was how to direct Frances Bennett who was at that time the do I n the diva leading lady Louise. There was another girl called Louise dumb. They were famous and all I had to do is get a free drink at the bar at a pub by saying I work on what's happening next week.
SPEAKER: M4
This was way before Corrie and all.
SPEAKER: F1
So I had to do my first episode one was live. One was recorded the live show which I carefully mapped out and all my camera cuts and everything rehearsed countdown.
SPEAKER: M4
Q titles. Off we go. Camera 1 3 minutes into shooting starts shaking his head.
SPEAKER: M11
He is going down and I am now like Doris Day about to land the plane being taught from ground control and I'm saying camera to be careful. Don't go that I'm talking my way through it.
SPEAKER: M4
Not thank God not one shot was out of place. Nobody faced each other with somehow or other we got through it and I collapsed to my control room. I had to be taken out of the barn given the large drink and I thought this is the end of my career they may think I don't know my shots I don't know what they all will.
SPEAKER: F1
It saved my bacon. They watched it and they saw and they knew what had happened they would help. That result kept on and then on compact. Dying to get out alone forget we did one compact where which took place in a fashion show. Oh was I happy with that. At least I could get some models walking up and down a ramp and the big star was an Italian lady called E-Z Miranda. Oh gosh. And she came on set as a guest star. So how does Miranda cope. And the designer was Ridley Scott.
SPEAKER: M5
My flatmate and best man. And there you are. So he designed the fashion show. I don't really mind doing compact.
SPEAKER: F3
How does Jordan smell. I then went sat and waited and suddenly this show came up which nobody wants to touch Rex.
SPEAKER: F1
Rex. What's his name Rex. Tucker. Tucker walked off of it. Ah. This is crap. Mm hmm. And I was told that it was Dr. Who.
SPEAKER: M5
So tell and tell us about Verity and how she steered this is this is amazing.
SPEAKER: F1
Ah I was allocated this I was given the script. Anthony Coburn couldn't believe my eyes. All set in. Quest for Fire and people called argon argon. Dressed in skins and old woman and fire and Bones and I thought I can't deal with this. I had just done Shakespeare to play you know Caesar and Cleopatra and that I directed with. I forgot to tell you this but I did Caesar Cleopatra with that transferred o Cambridge Arts Theatre to the west in gosh went to the Duchess Theatre. Good. So you know all this. Yeah. Yeah I know you're acting something called Doctor vu with a car school are going to OG but that wasn't the first episode of Doctor Who.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes I was I don't know like in my yard the junkyard was the first episode and there are three followed. Beg your pardon. I did four episodes. Yeah yeah yeah. Anyway there I am.
SPEAKER: F1
I walk into an office which I'll never get on the fifth floor a table and two chairs and this wonderful looking woman and she said hello Verity I said Hello Maurice. And I said What am I good. What are we going to do with this.
SPEAKER: M4
We're going to have to make it work.
SPEAKER: M2
And we did Mervyn Penfield allotted to us as an adviser.
SPEAKER: M4
We were given the Studio D Lime Grove which we were horrified about because the television centre at that time was a gleaming building full of promise. And we were just sent off to the wilds of Shepherd's Bush. And that's where we had to create Dr Who but at that time I was allocated Peter McConchie the designer who would have done anything to get out of it. He in fact said to me Look I have no budget at all I can give you is this. And he gave me three flats with circles and hexagonal things set in the middle which is meant to be controlled with a few buttons that actually shot I came to light that could actually you could like them and made and a few knobs and it did go up and down. And that was it. And he was a very reluctant designer who was not at all friendly to a young director like me trying very hard to be artistic.
SPEAKER: M5
So how was it received. I mean you you did the first four episodes and was that we did that those that it was the instant success or is it just well dribble by.
SPEAKER: M2
No what happened was that first of all it was announced between football and top of the Pops. It was meant to be a children's show not a bitchiness from the children's department especially amongst the ladies who looked as if they'd all come out with the place killing of Sister George and their attitudes to Verity was one to be had to be believed.
SPEAKER: F9
We had no idea. We know she didn't walk into the job. And Verity who was a glamorous but incredibly clever. She'd been a P.A. at a theatre.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah. So you knew exactly what to do. The show was recorded. We did a pilot. We did the first episode is a disaster. Everything went wrong and we were only allowed three great tape breaks and entering the TARDIS was one of our problems. How do you get him to a telephone box and then there's no way you could follow somebody over their shoulder on what is now a Steadicam. Even the cameras were as large as the men pushing them up. So we had to cut and I just didn't know how to do it. And it became a nightmare. Anyway the show is a disaster. Sydney took us out to lunch and said By rights I should be firing both of you but I'm going to give you a second chance. It's never happened to the BBC before. He said I'm going to budget wise I'm going to say it was a pilot. Now knows there's no such thing as a pilot. That was an American lot here.
SPEAKER: M4
And so we were given a second chance and I'm happy to say with the second chance it worked. If you look at it it is quite amazing. It actually works on all sorts of levels the first episode it had and people keep coming up to me saying Oh my God it was so this that the other did really well. What do you mean you do it again. Yes. Deficits are bright and with all the virtues taken out obviously all the things that went wrong. First. Even the fog in the studio we had to start with the fog and manage and it was actually created on set up and we did it and it worked. Then on the night of transmission Kennedy got killed.
SPEAKER: F9
And they canceled the show obviously they postponed it because they've actually literally next week they transmitted.
SPEAKER: M4
And for some extraordinary reason the show took off but it finally reached its peak with the dialects which not mine however it had already gained momentum. By the time after the dialects because the format in those days is meant to be historical educational futuristic and then back to historical and I did the Marco Polo which is to educate the children about a journey across Asia I remember it well. So that's how it went by then the budget had already gone up because they realized they'd got a good show on their hands.
SPEAKER: M10
Suddenly they realized and that was the beginning of what is now their biggest moneymaker.
SPEAKER: M5
They did so but but you stayed in that area you stayed in serials because you did that.
SPEAKER: F9
Well what happened was I after I did that the newcomers a bit later well but this is what happened with me there. I actually opted out and I got my first major play. It was a drama to be written by Patricia Highsmith and original. I was thrilled to quite meet the lady and we were told that casting it wasn't her best idea it was about a husband who plans his wife's death and we were talking about how to do it and is that the other and suddenly I get a phone call from Donald Wilson who is head of serial worries we're going to take you off the play because pretty low. But producing a new series about call the newcomers and she's requested use our director. I said Donald please don't do this to me. I've done my stint. He said Well I'm sorry but that's the way it is. You are under contract and you're obliged to do whatever we ask you to do. And I was taken after Patricia Highsmith and put on to the serial and I did the newcomers.
SPEAKER: M5
The first one still in line growth. Yes. The only good thing was I met Maggie Fitzgibbon who I really liked. She was a lovely. She goes back to Australia.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah yeah yeah just. But anyway that was my stint but in all fairness to Verity our relationship blossomed. And subsequently when she went on to much bigger and better things. I was her first choice for a number of things that I was lucky enough to therefore direct some stuff that I'm be proud of. Yeah yeah but do you do that.
SPEAKER: M5
From the newcomers. I mean your progression was just copybook really wasn't it. I mean the series one shot plays movies you know I mean it was what we all aspired to do at that time. And the clever ones did it well.
SPEAKER: M2
I was lucky I got some of the better shows to do. I did a passage to India for instance before David Lean black and white player of the month.
SPEAKER: M5
I did say Joe with Janet Suzman. Yes now in the in the CV. You appear to have written St Joan. Oh that's intelligent. Whoever wrote that in. No I directed Sure. No I don't. But Bernard Shaw. But I mean I oh I'm sorry but I must maybe look at you. We did a bit of adapting but that was hardly writing. I think you're credited with having oh how could I possibly have written it. No to to writing credits one of which was St Joan. That's not in the inaccuracy I'm motivated to amongst the cast and wonderful cast of course.
SPEAKER: F9
Janet Suzman and John Gielgud as the inquisitor and that's when I first met John Karr and then subsequently worked with him on stage. So that was a feather in my cap then Passage to India which I got by default because I wasn't the original director on it. Michael Elliot was going to do it and he fell ill. And Peter Luke then asked me to do it. That's where I fell into my natural rhythm after that I did had a gobbler with Janet many and McKellen was Cedric not doing Claire the month or.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes. Yeah I think it was Peter Luke.
SPEAKER: F9
Yes. And Cedric shared I yes he'd gotten a job. I did had a garble of Cedric right. And that's that that literally put me into a different category and as a result of which I got asked to and then by now I was in my fourth or fifth year now at the BBC he and I then got asked to do Hamlet for ITV and I couldn't because I was under contract BBC. And it was it was Dr Richard Richard generally an actor. Richard Chamberlain. Yeah. He was going to do Hamlet. And he asked me to do it. Having seen my work. It also I think done the Henry James portrait of a lady or something. Anyway I was asked to do that and the BBC wouldn't let me go so I thought.
SPEAKER: F1
Right. Once my contract comes up I've got to take this huge leap. And at that time a friend of mine had watched and he tried to remember the chronology No because in I did of film my first full feature was because of results of my work in television. Oh I'm sure I'm sure it was a thing by Margaret Drabble called a touch of love for a novel called the millstone. Mm hmm. And.
SPEAKER: M13
I was asked by David partner. No. My first film was Milton C Brodsky and Max Rosenberg used to do horror film. Yes. Yes. And they were now trying to go legit and they called this book.
SPEAKER: M10
The Millstone about a middle class girl who becomes pregnant in London becomes a single mother refuses to have an abortion. And sadly Dennis was cast from America. She was by now very hot. She'd just done Broadway and now Virginia Woolf and all that sort of thing. So she came to play the ultimate English girl being the total Brit that the total and all American girl that she was. But in all fairness to her she did a very good job. There were moments when she'd lapse into all sorts of mannerisms which I would say Sandy I'm sorry but no English girl would speak like that or say that the way that I cast it in his first real film role ever was Ian McKellen.
SPEAKER: M4
Do you happen to know Eleanor Brown. Well I persuade got all my chums in. Yeah yeah yeah. Ian didn't want to do it. He said I don't want to do film I want to do theatre only.
SPEAKER: F9
I said yes of course here. But please do me a favour. And he did. And he was very good at it. So I did my first film I graduated but I went back to the BBC subsequently I did. I did the glittering prizes. Which got a lot of attention but were there two directors on that. Yes. Rob Knight. Yes I did three and he in three.
SPEAKER: M4
But mine was scene because I introduced Tom Conti into the world of fame. He was famous for being theatre but not television. And then at that time we were looking for somebody to play at upper middle class Jewish boy. And believe it or not upper middle class Jewish boys didn't act. They all went into law often being medical.
SPEAKER: F9
It was very strange because at that time we were looking and I was having lunch with Francesca Ernest who at that time was doing Madame Bovary and I said to you know we're trying to find this guy. So hard she said. Have you thought of Tom Conti he's playing my husband in the and over in the in the studio next week. So I have a look at us that I went to look at him on the monitors which we used to do. Sure enough there was Tom and I called Mark shivers down to the producers Mark I think there's somebody there could do this if we came it looks at him Is it a possibility. And we sent him the script and he got a phone call. If you don't give me this part I will commit hara kiri at the gates of the BBC Television Centre. That's what happened.
SPEAKER: M4
He got the part that was very funny because he wasn't Jewish I wasn't Jewish I had to cast his parents who were my cast Leonard Sax who was but he'd forgotten all to do rituals we had to do as I say that night on a Friday night. Nobody knew what to do with the candles and the terribly funny. But anyway it landed me I got me the attention of producers in America. That's how it happened. And a producer called Herb brought Kim who is on top of the heap because he'd just done a series called Holocaust with Meryl Streep in it and people of that calibre.
SPEAKER: F1
Yeah. And suddenly out of the blue I got a script and I read this couldn't believe it about a gang warfare in New York where be a Puerto Rican kid based on a true story Puerto Rican kid kills an Irish three Irish boys in a playground and was tried as an adult. There was so much racial hatred and prejudice. And I got the script. I can't believe I've been offered this.
SPEAKER: M4
And I said yes. And I went to America to do it in New York and they got you a card they got me an H1 visa. Yes. That was my first stint up. I already committed to do something but it wasn't till further down the line for Granada. By not giving up my. BBC staff. Yes. Like security. Become a freelance. So where are we now. 1970 and now he's 19. No. Still 60s low 70s beginning the 70s. We're getting into the late 70s are. I did the the.
SPEAKER: F1
It was called Death Penalty 1978 and we shot in Pittsburgh in a real prison in a real courtroom.
SPEAKER: M3
And the leading lady was the most wonderful actress I've ever met in my life. I saw far to Virginia Woolf on stage with Bengal Sara. And it was a lady call Colleen do her. Oh yeah.
SPEAKER: M10
And she and I just clicked like that and the show went very well. I was amazed at my own ability because it was all shot as a feature film of that mill in those days full film crew.
SPEAKER: M4
I was so used at the BBC to getting up and going down on the floor and doing all the extras that I got up out of my chair and the assistant director came up and said Mr. Hussein Boris do you mind sitting down because I'm being paid very highly to be your assistant.
SPEAKER: F1
Now tell me what you want and I will see that it's done.
SPEAKER: M4
But I'd rather you didn't go around telling people what to do it's actually against the equity rules for the action to address the extras. So I suddenly learned what it meant to be powerful. I sat in my chair and said Tom could you just. Yes. That extra over there.
SPEAKER: F1
We did this film set in a real prison. And I've never founded the prison system before the American prison system has to be seen to be believed the racket the noise the ethnicity of it all.
SPEAKER: M8
They're mainly black and Puerto Ricans. The whites are minimal. And those constant noise and seeing the way they behave the muscle men that the feminine people the boys who did their. T shirts in knots to show their bare midriff is. Parading around like a girl. Yeah yeah. I was absolutely horrified. I couldn't believe it but we felt we was that in the film we filmed it. Yeah but they were like we had to get permissions we had a sequence where this angelic looking guy is bringing the food trolley with all the hands reaching out to the food being passed into the prison cells.
SPEAKER: F1
I said Oh what did he do for me to be here. This guy was taking us I said don't be fooled by him as a triple murderer. Cut the throats of his mother and his brother.
SPEAKER: M4
Cops and he was an extra in a film. So we did it and it worked. And I came back to England thinking Oh my God I've had such an experience reported to Granada Golden Square. This was the height of the strikes when piled up to the ceiling with crap and rubbish. I reported to this tiny office in came a man in a naval double breasted suit the usual. Welcome aboard Morris.
SPEAKER: M11
I'm about to do.
SPEAKER: F1
Staying on by Paul Scott set in India. And he said Now I'm gonna to give you your crew list. And I said Oh. Aren't we having a choice of crew.
SPEAKER: F3
No no. We've got to use staff members. I said but can I say something we're going to India for six weeks we're not able to see our rushes on a daily basis. Can I not choose the cameraman I'm used to. No I'm sorry you can't you can't have freelancers here. This is unfortunately a problem with the unions.
SPEAKER: M8
So I said Oh well can I at least see the person you allocate allocated to me. And he said Oh yes. He's actually filming something he's doing some inserts for a TV show.
SPEAKER: F1
And I'll give you the address. So I went along to look at the filming. It was dreadful. And I could see the man was not qualified to direct a major drama.
SPEAKER: M8
So I got back and I called them I said Look I honestly I'm not being temperamental but if this is not going to work with the people giving me a civil war is I'm very sorry but I said Look can we at least discuss this. Well you can discuss until the cows come home we're actually having a meeting next week but we need her decision before then.
SPEAKER: F1
And so a week went by and I sat looking out the window thinking this is ridiculous.
SPEAKER: M4
And Wendy Hiller was playing the lead and she was the one who guided me to this project that Granada got it. Yeah. They didn't even know about it until I got it to them a week later.
SPEAKER: F1
I had memories of my time in New York with the fabulous crew and everything and I. At that point David playwright called me Boris.
SPEAKER: M6
We need your answer about your crew.
SPEAKER: M12
I said David I thought long and hard and I Wisconsin do Hurst.
SPEAKER: M10
Yeah it was calling you asked why I'd worked with and she said. I know you're about to go and do something but I don't know what instinct has asked me to call you because I thought there may be an odd chance that you might be available. She said I've been asked to do a pilot for a TV series in California should I live in Connecticut but I'm reluctantly going over there because if it takes off I shall have to live there.
SPEAKER: F1
But the pilot they've offered me I've got director approval and I've turned down God knows how many people because I think you'd be perfect for this. Would you be interested. I said Would I be interested. She said. I'll send you the script. It arrived within four days. Darrel I was on a plane to California and I took with me one little suitcase thinking I'd just do the film. I arrived there note her.
SPEAKER: M9
Position was but something that doesn't exist anymore. Nobody has director approval now in television in America. But she did. At that time nobody amongst the production knew who I was. They'd been forced by her and the network who I NBC who also didn't know who I was to. Except me.
SPEAKER: M10
I was met by very bewildered assistant at the airport who didn't know who to look for. Obviously look out for a puzzled Indian. And then I'd take him to a hotel.
SPEAKER: M5
This is your first trip to California. Yes are. I'm installed and.
SPEAKER: F1
I just found myself in a production office with everyone say hello producer.
SPEAKER: M4
Hi my name is. And on this basis. But what was what was on the page. You haven't said what that was. Oh the show itself. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M10
It was the pilot for a show called. And baby makes six. And it's about a middle aged woman who becomes pregnant when she and her husband think that they're now due for a fabulous life having brought up their children and they can now lead a life of Riley as middle aged people. They want to do things with their lives. You know they're both adventurous and they're both active in terms of being athletic and. Perfect American couple. Suddenly she's pregnant and now it's a decision. Do I get rid of it. And she against all everybody's advice including her children were all great. She's got a grown up daughter who's married. She got a teenage son who actually approves and she's got another son who is a bit of a runaway and all of them are saying one thing or the other. And this woman is surrounded by a cacophony of objections including her devoted husband who finally says I can't deal with it. I mean what are you doing. And that was played beautifully by Warren notes I got a lovely cast Timothy. How is this a pilot. Well you do a pilot to start with. And then if they approve it then they do a series. But how did you get a series out of a well read.
SPEAKER: M5
It's all about how does a woman of her years cope with the oh I say being a mother of a baby as well as how I see. So it was gonna get bored and that rabbit. Yes. Yeah. It's born at the end of the episode. Oh I see.
SPEAKER: M10
But the first film and then everything else blows up like the family be our daughter in trouble. John's teenage son played by Timothy Hutton. And so you know credentials. The show I thought went incredibly well. We shot in San Francisco vexed areas. It's supposed to take place there and then interior is out here is in the studio at 20th Century Fox. I'll never forget driving in my car. My name is written in the parking lot.
SPEAKER: M11
Arrived at the right time in West Hollywood. I mean I'm in Hollywood this is weird. Marilyn Monroe walked.
SPEAKER: M10
That was my first show. And then because of it going well I did it on you get it. It's a two foot film shot in 18 days. And I filmed it in 18 days did not go over schedule. The moment it finished her Kim in New York said to Boris because death penalty's gone down very well. We want to offer you another film. And before each one had to be applied for with an H1 visa. So from one production company I now go back to New York. I did a show there but it was shot in Richmond Virginia.
SPEAKER: F1
It was called the Henderson monster.
SPEAKER: M10
Beautifully written the sort of dramas you don't do anymore about the issue of contamination in the laboratories where something might escape into the mainstream. And would it affect the population. It's about a very ambitious scientist who by a chemist who's working on a particular virus.
SPEAKER: M5
So you did quite a few of those in the states didn't you. And I seem to remember you at one point saying oh yes it's another disease of the week. Well but this was before the disease.
SPEAKER: M8
This was the integral. This is these were dramas with it got right. This is an issue drama about what happens when something goes wrong and the conscience of the people were responsible for it possibly going wrong and the conscience of the scientist versus the purpose of the person out in the street. And it dealt with the people who it was very intelligently written and it issued drama. Well this was suddenly overtaken by disease of the week because the producers suddenly started finding headline stories and people magazine and immediately going and getting the rights of some dreadful murder some wife battering or some extraordinary event signing people up and then coming back to Hollywood and casting the most unimaginably wrong people in the roles for some working class mother in the backwoods we we played by Loni Anderson. And all Lindsay Wagner who was very popular having the a woman and then my life moved from these very serious pieces to soaps of a magnificently expensive kind. I ended up doing mini series thing called Kali and Son based on Mildred Pierce.
SPEAKER: F5
But about a woman obsessed with her son rather than with her daughter who is so set in Texas which we shot in Los Angeles I had the brilliant brainwave of having my character arrive in Dallas in downtown Los Angeles and on a long lens put all my crowds who I think numbered about 50 instead since so long lens shot of Stan Stetson is bobbing up and down with my lady in Focus in the photographs. That's the art of telling and you get you get used to that kind of storytelling.
SPEAKER: F1
You know I've skipped a whole chapter actually which I should have mentioned because before any of this happened I had done a series called Edward and Mrs Simpson and four times for ten.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah. And that was just it. It got the Emmy.
SPEAKER: F10
And the BAFTA. When I was shooting baby make six and Colleen do hers. It stopped the shoot and said I want to announce that my directors just won an award.
SPEAKER: M5
And I wasn't there to accept. I've never been there to accept anything. But to have you have you bypassed the head of the eighth as well. No no. Oh I'm sorry.
SPEAKER: F10
Right. Have I bypassed Henry the eighth. My mind's going l straight. Chronologically. I think. Yes I thought you had. I have. I did a whole lot of films before I went to Hollywood.
SPEAKER: M5
I have film feature films. Yes I know. So we have bypass. Yes. Okay with the backtrack then backtrack to did the first film which was for the American producer. Yes. That was 79 Chappell but the Drabble film was in 68 right. Yeah I can vouch for that. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F6
Following the Drabble film a whole bunch of films is offered to me features. I did a film called melody with David Putnam written by Alan Parker.
SPEAKER: F3
Based on music written by the Bee Gees specifically from their songs. So the songs dictated the narrative. Years later they've ended up with Mamma Mia. As you can see it and in this case it was the Bee Gees album that was put into drama about two young children falling in love. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F1
Mark Lester and Jack Wilde were the two boys and the young girls I discovered called Tracy Hyde. It had a wonderful group of people involved David Putnam Alan Parker Peter it gives the cameraman and I shot it all in south London alone location. That was seen by Americans. Gene Wilder. Was doing a film in Ireland called cracks of fortune as a cousin in the Bronx where he played an Irish shit shovel horseshit settler in the days before horses were taken off the streets. Manure and his. Manure job got him into various women's beds.
SPEAKER: F5
That he'd be putting manure into that slab. Yes. Plants and sometimes playing with their flower pots. So he. That was my second stint in Ireland. In I Dublin Dublin before it became what it is today. And I discovered a young lady called Margot Kidder. Subsequently went on to be in Superman's girlfriend. So that was then. And then from there Henry the Eighth had been a huge success on television because it's been all about his wives.
SPEAKER: F3
Emi wanted to cash in on the success of that. So they decided. To give me the job of a feature film two hours. I said What am I going to do that hasn't already been done. Why am I going to do this especially as Keith the other to play the lead and then they sort of would you know it's very hard to just turn something like that down because it's one of my favourite periods in history anyway so I said look if you give me the chance to to think this through with the writer is a very good writer. She called Ian Sharp not Ian Sharp. Anyway he and I sat together I thought. Now how do we do a two hour film. We approached it on the psychological basis. Who was this man. What was he capable of. What was his big problem. His big problem was that he couldn't touch sons. Every woman he touched somehow. Catherine American had God knows how many miscarriages. And Berlin had a daughter no son. Jane Seymour had a son sickly but died in the process. And so you know he we have a scene way talks to Thomas More and says why it cost us more than wonderful family life. How come I haven't got one. So this whole thing of feeling betrayed by up there by the people around him that's trying to keep himself together when he's got the ability to destroy. That's what we made.
SPEAKER: M5
And it kind of worked. Yes. How. Tell me about working in a very well established studio like Elm Street like you see.
SPEAKER: M8
I have to say it was fantastic because the budget even though it was not excessive gave us the chance to create and I had this desire that was Roy Stannard and Roy was an incredibly clever guy because his theory was having worked in television that you can make things look different in the way you shape them and and them around you and so used. He built all these Tudor. Paneled walls with windows and platforms and you simply move them into different positions to be different rooms. And there was one main hall that we created which also could be refurbished and made to look like different things. If you simply use certain props and foreground stuff. I mean my work in television have taught me this the whole theory of which is that it's an illusion. Nothing is for real and you create your reality with what you shoot. I've known directors who've gone into fantastic locations and you never see any of it. You see a corner of a pillar and that's it. So I said no this is what we're going to see and this is what we're not going to see. Roy It created the home of Hampton Court like this and brilliantly and Peter suggest he's lighting was brilliant too because he was my DP. It looks like whole bone paintings. And it ended up as a royal premiere with Princess Anne and Prince Philip coming. It was very funny because I deliberately put on my Nehru jacket and presented myself as an all Indian director and it was terribly funny I was being introduced in line. First of all they got the name wrong. I was introduced as Mark shivers and I know they're sorry oh sorry no worries you say who says this is sad. Have you been here long. And.
SPEAKER: F11
Philip.
SPEAKER: F10
And where do you come from. For me. Did your. Highness. Oh it. I did do the film they did see it. And after that I then was I had the awful experience of going to see a film directed by Mike song called myRA Breckinridge and it was awful. I remember it.
SPEAKER: F3
And it was it was it Mike Myra Breckinridge or he did a second film about a girl in London. Yes. Sorry I'd been to see that. Yeah. And it was dreadful.
SPEAKER: F10
I was so incensed because I so terribly tense on getting films and I happened to at my agent's house. She'd been giving she gave a buffet lunch and as I'm piling my plate with food in frustration I'm rabbiting on to nobody in particular about having just come from this terrible film that I'd speak and I looked up and saw this woman it was Shirley MacLaine.
SPEAKER: M8
I said I'm so sorry I'm being terribly negative she let me go on I'm listening. I said Well I'm sorry but I just see this and I can't understand how people get films I end up you know and I said Well let me say Miss MacLaine I'm really thrilled to meet you. Actually your somebody I've always there filming right now. Robin My agent has been responsible for that. And Edna O'Brien film with Elizabeth Taylor. I'm sure you should be playing the role she's playing because Edna's more or less written herself into the script is called Zee and company and. And I said and Cherie said do you think I should be that I suppose it's just that you look so much like it being both. And she kind of grinned at me and I said that was the end of that.
SPEAKER: F1
Next day I got a phone call Hello my name is Martin pole. I said yes. I'm producing a film with Shirley MacLaine. I believe you met her yesterday. I said yes. He said We've got a book we're basing this on. There's no script yet. Would you be interested in reading the book. I said I'll send it round came round. It's called the possession of Joel Delaney.
SPEAKER: F3
Well I read the script a book and I thought how they're going to make this but I'm not going to quibble on that front. So I said Oh I think it makes it interesting. So then I was asked to meet Mr. Pole who was a bit worried. He never met me.
SPEAKER: F10
And I was introduced to him in a screening theater because I'd been asked to bring some of my films in those days there were no VHS days. We had to run an extra. Carriage to film it and we had to arrange it. I showed him a bit of melody that cracks a fortune. That of Henry the eighth. And they then said Would you mind why we had a bit of a meeting and I went outside and sat and I sat in his and sat and then suddenly out there came Martin looking a bit shaken because Shirley was co-produced on it and she'd virus I'd like you to do our film.
SPEAKER: F8
When can you be in New York that's exactly what happened. Mm hmm. Oh.
SPEAKER: M5
I got to go so and I just. Yeah sure. I'm sorry.
SPEAKER: M4
Just gonna check when I going. One hundred and seven minutes left. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M14
Left. Okay so now you're talking an hour. Oh put my hands up. I was really told we can do that too. Yeah well that's that's what I generally do. Yeah I've got one hundred and seven minutes right.
SPEAKER: M5
Oh divorce his divorce her so it was next as it were. So it's coming up. Yeah. Right. Right. So this canvassing was where did you do Joe Delaney Joe Delaney was shot entirely in New York and on location.
SPEAKER: M13
No sets at all. We had to find a townhouse where we had to rally. There was quite narrow and you know they looked quite large in films there was much larger because they build sets. Eyes it was more. Anyway it was all about that was about something that I will never touch again.
SPEAKER: F1
It was about some very odd supernatural things that happened to people in the world of the occult and dealt with I thought a very interesting theme.
SPEAKER: F12
It seems they started again.
SPEAKER: M5
No I I think were hiding to nothing. I think.

SPEAKER: M1
That's camera speed gentlemen thank you very much. Okay. We'll pick up more or less where we were yesterday which was bringing us to 1973 and divorce his divorce her. Yes. How did that come about.
SPEAKER: M9
Well I believe John Hopkins wrote the script John Hopkins wrote the script and it's had a very interesting how do I call it Genesis Genesis. It wasn't officially going to be John Hopkins at all. But he. Actually took it over from the right of Look Back In Anger John. Osborn Osborn. He apparently wrote a script which wasn't acceptable. The whole point about this venture was that Richard Burton was a member of the of holic of the television television group and. Because of his name they'd got the franchise. And this was his Thank You to Pollock by saying I want to do something for you. So they commissioned. Now what happened was when John Osborne dropped out.
SPEAKER: M8
John Hopkins came on board and his idea was to do a story about a couple who were already divorced but they're now meet in Rome having had separate lives. And then they find out that they're going to meet and then they're having met they have their memories of their past. And so that two hour films each. There were four hours altogether for television and one hour deals with her point of view of him. And the second two hours are about his point of view of her. That sounds very interesting because then you can overlap the action and you can also do certain memory things about that particular past. It's complicated. And he was actually basing it on his concept of a script called talking to a stranger which also was an incident in a suburban house where members of the family see something and then see it from different points which I think is fascinating. However this needs a lot of thought rehearsal and understanding of why you're doing what that's to put it on the side.
SPEAKER: M5
The fact was that Richard agreed to do the role and Elizabeth out of a kind of loyalty to him agreed to be in it.
SPEAKER: M9
She never read the script. I read the script and I liked it a lot but I said you know this is going to need an enormous amount of preparation. And the producers who are by the way John Heyman who is very eminent as her agent and producer the father Now coincidentally David Heyman the producer of. Harry Potter John and arranged the whole situation along with Gareth Wigan. It was a very very tightly knit and prominent group of people. Richard I met in London. They had a place in Hampstead. He made it very clear that he was on the ballot papers drinking Perrier water and nothing else. And we had a long chat. And obviously my meeting with him was important. The reason I was chosen was that this was going to be shot. With four cameras in a TV studio at Hardwick TV which was therefore going to offer employment to the people at holic and give them a sense of themselves and the pride. Now the studio facilities were in Bristol. We have. Had to book way ahead because then in order to accommodate this illustrious couple we also had to find accommodation. So I went off to Bristol and we decided actually to put both of them in Bath which is much more congenial city in terms of accommodation. And we were going to get put them into a five star hotel. The studio is going to be emptied out. I was going to work with four cameras exactly as I did at the BBC. The whole point about my being employed was that I was very well lit and working on multi cameras. If it had been a one camera situation as a film goes a cinema film I may not have been considered. However I was contracted to do that with this understanding in mind. I then had to meet Elizabeth. She was filming at Elle story with Laurence Harvey who it turns out was actually terminally ill and the film is called Nightwatch and Elizabeth gave me I think ten minutes of her time in between shots I heard her coming down the corridor and I heard her saying Who is this I don't know anything about it.
SPEAKER: M6
What's it what's it all about. And then she appears in the doorway and says Hello I'm Elizabeth. And I said Oh hello Miss Taylor. Out of sheer respect she sat down to write tell me. Well what am I doing.
SPEAKER: M9
What's it all about. So I started telling of this very complicated story about a couple meeting in Rome and flash backing and all this I should between flashbacks flashbacks.
SPEAKER: M6
I said yes. How many years do I go back I said well actually it starts off very early in your life and sort of 20 years and should 20 years. Alexander she said. And suddenly out of a caller came Alexander the hairdresser who'd been nowhere.
SPEAKER: M8
From what I could see said Did you hear what the man said. I need hairdressing to look like I was in a place in the sun.
SPEAKER: M9
And the entire conversation then revolved around hair and I could see she was glazing over when I started narrow. And then the middle of my narrative she said I've got to go back to said goodbye. And off she went. And that was the beginning of my meeting with Elizabeth.
SPEAKER: M5
So you can see this foretold chronicles that were then to take shape in the very monumental way divorce and his and hers due to go to Bristol.
SPEAKER: F2
She then stopped before she left and that by the way where are we. Where are we doing this. I said Bristol when I said such and such date that I couldn't possibly do that I'd be had up for taxes. I've got to leave the country before then. Who's the producer on this. I said Gareth Wigan. I'll be in touch.
SPEAKER: M7
Next year I got a phone call.
SPEAKER: M9
What is this film it's not going to be shot in Bristol because Elizabeth can't accommodate herself into the situation for tax reasons. John is busy negotiating a deal with another company. It'll probably be Germany. So stand by. Though I was kept waiting for about five days and John negotiated a deal with a gentleman production company and so it was now going to be shot exteriors in Rome and interiors in Munich meant to be in Rome. So whatever exteriors we did would have to be matched on sets thereby complicating the issue somewhat. However the four camera situation still wasn't mentioned. No I assumed it would still shoot with multiple cameras to get through the schedule because the schedule was quite tight. However Elizabeth then demanded certain people service the show one of whom was Edith Head the costume designer in Hollywood. Well as we all know Edith Head was an M.A. series in the way of design for me and total privilege. So Gareth and I were flown to. Hollywood to meet Edith Head and in meeting Edith Head who I found to be absolutely delightful. She said Now tell me what sort of character this is. I said well she's married to a wealthy man and they've been divorced. She's been to very prominent education establishments in America. She belongs to the upper echelons of American society she's well read she's intelligent and a modern woman not a snob but understands the world and.
SPEAKER: F2
I see her in very elegant but simple clothes and nothing too brash. And Edith turned to me and said Have you met Elizabeth. I said yes. And she said well the whole situation is this that I would have to do designs and show them to hell.
SPEAKER: M5
Before I do that I'll show them to you. But she's got permission to alter them. So I said well good. And she said we'll meet in London when I've done the drawings and then I'll show you. Because Elizabeth somewhere else by this time Richard was filming in Yugoslavia comes a day and Edith shows me the costumes at the Dorchester Hotel.
SPEAKER: M8
And I said Oh they're wonderful. She said yes but I've got to show them to Elizabeth. So she went off to Yugoslavia. I mean this production was now taking its own impetus. You can imagine Edith Head. Yeah. Slava had our first class back and forth across the Atlantic. She comes back with huge red crosses and all the drawings.
SPEAKER: M3
And necklines down to that. Yes. It said about that.
SPEAKER: M9
So I knew now we were dealing with a diva. The biggest star in the firmament.
SPEAKER: M5
No rehearsals. We arrived in Rome. Richard had a week ahead of Elizabeth. He was extremely amenable and the butler Perrier was firmly held in his hand and between shots.
SPEAKER: M1
And we did the first it didn't turn out to be vodka. And.
SPEAKER: M12
At this point we started working and everything went very smoothly by the way we had now got a cameraman who had been asked for by Elizabeth who she'd worked with in the past for Gabo Pagani Gabo Pagani was a Hungarian who behaved as if he was related to Otto Preminger.
SPEAKER: M9
And he ordered his crew accordingly and deferred to me in a very formal way. But you could see with no communication whatsoever I would have to be very specific because if I wasn't he would have ideas that had nothing to do with the film. Clearly he had not read the script. So I would then tell him. About this is what we really need. And he would say there'd be a long pause and then he'd say Well I'm going to have to take quite a while liking it. And then I would say I understand he.
SPEAKER: M2
Every time Elizabeth. Well she hadn't turned up yet Elizabeth. So Richard and I went together. He said now don't on any account call me Dick. And I said No I won't Richard. And he said Can I call you Briscoe. And I said you may. He said By the way you know we have something in common. I said Oh what is it Richard. He said well I Welsh your Indian and we are not English.
SPEAKER: M11
So we had something that's him being kind. I'm sure you well know his companion. Yes.
SPEAKER: M2
He was very Welsh orientated anyway. True. One night we had lit the entire Vicar of villa of the vehicle Dodi for a walk. He simply wouldn't be walking towards us reminiscing it during which we would use the walk as a flashback point in different angles of his walk. Suddenly out of nowhere chaos lights flashing lots of noise police car sirens the entire shebang and who arrived early without announcing herself Elizabeth off she'd finished early in London.
SPEAKER: M5
And decided to see what was going on.
SPEAKER: M6
We were totally stopped in our tracks. She got out of her limo with lots of cameras flashing. Came up to and said Oh I hope I'm not interfering or interrupting. Well I hope I'm not interrupting. I said Oh no please do it. She sat down and I said right. What is the shot. I said it's Richard just well. Oh wonderful.
SPEAKER: M7
Where is he. So he looked around though Richard. I turned to the assistant director I said. Do we know where Richard is. We was here five minutes ago. I said where could we find him. Because we're ready to shoot and you know. Richard. Well now there was subsequently a recent search party went out and no one could find him. And she said this. Oh dear. Is there something wrong. I said I hope not. And then finally the assistant director came back and said we have found him. I said yes. I'm afraid he's. Not really up to it. What do you mean. I can say is a whole bottle of vodka speed drunk.
SPEAKER: M9
So he then emerged from wherever he'd been honed and moved Elizabeth saw him she said oh is there anything I can do. I said I don't think so. I said Richard are you all right.
SPEAKER: M7
He's of course I'm having all right. What am I supposed to be doing.
SPEAKER: M5
I knew I was going to be downhill all the way from simply telling you this story because no one knows these things. And I then subsequently her first day of shoot came another shot of her walking towards camera. Remember come and see me the flashback boys. She arrived on set. Was the Borges gardens I'll never forget. She turned up and I said Elizabeth we start off here. Then we walked towards the camera and said yes. I said right. I should have you lined this up already and I said yes with your stand and she said Oh I hope she's good because you know I always I expect you to rehearse with my standing before I go. Come on said all you need to do is tell me where she moved and I will then follow the moves. I said Oh so no rehearsal no no I just need to be told. To do whatever's necessary. So I said fine. Well this is quite simple as your dialogue. And I said I walk you back to the start point and it is all on a fairly long lens and she said as I walked I said this is the bit where you are doing this and this bit in the script. Yes yes I've read the script now. Right. So I went back to the camera and shouted action and she walked as if she'd forgotten where to go. And I came up to the camera and I said Elizabeth could we do one more. Because I would like you to perhaps be remembering some of it. Now I'm not sure what you could be helping me do yourself to do. Perhaps you could. I jokingly said perhaps you could stop and blow your nose or something and I'd never blow my nose in my life.
SPEAKER: M6
I said No I know you haven't. She said I guess I'll I'll do something just that's yes. Just action. So she starts walking to block action. She walks and she got a scarf it goes like this. That's the action. She comes up to camera cut kisses the lens by.
SPEAKER: M7
Gets into the car and leaves.
SPEAKER: M2
That was the sum total of our first day back but oh forget this. Between the shots have I keep forgetting chronologically what happened in between. She was sitting in her chair and I could see Gabor going up and kneeling at her feet in sheer basins.
SPEAKER: F2
Now we were going to go on to Munich from Rome and it was agreed that when we got to Munich we would have a German crew. It was understood that the crew would change and so would the GOP. Yeah it was a part of the deal. I could see Garbo talking to her and she said where's Gareth. And Gareth was hiding behind me. And she said.
SPEAKER: M10
What's this about Garbo not going with us to Germany and guys who will Elizabeth we've unfortunately got to do this because of the I don't care what kind of deal you've made. I'm not having a DP change horses midstream. He's got to come with us and just see to it. So Gabo got up with a cheshire grin on his face.
SPEAKER: M5
And his own crew. Now we had to somehow inform Ernst wilt back in Munich that he was going to share the DP orders right because we couldn't get rid of him either.
SPEAKER: M1
Oh so nice inside. Right. So pardon my intervention but I'm worried about the money.
SPEAKER: M11
I mean well it's not exactly paying for this. Well this HDTV.
SPEAKER: M2
Well HDTV was way behind in all this. Yeah. Jon Heyman being the genius he was after all don't forget as Elisabeth's agent he had negotiated the first ever multimillion dollar deal drove a Audra. So I guess he had the art. His son is now inherited of negotiating and he managed to get the money right. Don't ask me because I wasn't involved and I wasn't about to be involved. All he wanted to do was to get old and finish this thing. And so now this entire thing Roe was now a two bub about to roll into Germany before we did that we had a night shoot and Edith had a design the most wonderful outfit for because it all takes place over a certain one night in terms of the present and she design is elegant black dress with a long dress of evening dress and a black coat to go with it.
SPEAKER: M13
This is off white silver light silk lining.
SPEAKER: M4
Very elegant and it also helped Elizabeth's very curvaceous yes. Believe me she is very curvaceous. So which is one of the reasons for a lot less lines.
SPEAKER: M5
But anyway when we got to the set it was a night shot. I by now my patients with Mr. Pagani was really beginning to wear because he lit the thing and I could see for instance it was an entrance to an apartment building with the statue. And there were three shadows on the statue. And I had to go and see Gabo. Ah could you just explain to me why the lighting has three separate shadows. I mean I don't understand. So he was justifying himself anyway. Elizabeth meanwhile was in her trailer and I was summoned and I went into the trailer and there laid out on the table was all her personal jewelry and she pointed. She's not going to wear that. And it was the diamond necklace with the Mary to the pearl that Richard had bought her that Philip of Spain is getting married to that Pearl is the size of a duck's egg. And I said Elizabeth.
SPEAKER: M4
Can I just point out that unless we say it's costume jewelry it could not possibly be anything that you as a character would wear because it doesn't have anything to do with the story. And then I jokingly said besides which when you bend down to kiss the kids good night you're going to knock them out because in the script we had two children and she said Oh well I'm wearing it anyway so.
SPEAKER: M5
And that year by the way the coat I'm going to wear this and she put on her black floor length mink. And I said Well what about Edith's coat Well I can change I said no you can't because it's in one night and continuity wise.
SPEAKER: M10
Oh we'll have to have a scene where come in and the James coat.
SPEAKER: M7
So I said Well Elizabeth I then went out and Edith Head was standing and I went up and I said Edith she's not going to be wearing your coat. What do you suggest. Can you have a word you said Maurice when you would finish this by Christmas.
SPEAKER: M5
This was in May. Yeah. She said let her wear whatever she wants. So Elizabeth got out of the trailer wearing her Mary Tudor Pearl and the black floor length mink. And that was the beginning of us wonderful experience together which took us to Munich. Do I need to go.
SPEAKER: M11
No no no no not every one want to.
SPEAKER: M4
Well Larry I think you've given us the flavor of the piece as a result of this was it was sold to ABC television in the states in America. But without the necessary commercial breaks that they need over there we had not shot for commercial break climaxes so arbitrarily peppered through the film were of a very talky script. It was sold on the name of the two stars.
SPEAKER: M12
By Jon Heyman the head of ABC at the towers medical Barry Diller who bought it sight unseen financing quite a bit of the film I think he paid over a million for it.
SPEAKER: M5
He sent over what it was representative is a very Liszt lady who came over to see a rough cut. We warned her that it was temp tracks and everything and she then said Oh it's wonderful it looks like something out of Antonioni and went back to tell her boss who said oh I must look at it straightaway so off it went. They cut before that cut. He hated it. Loathed it. He made the same woman come back and tell us was crap. By the way the four camera things stopped immediately. Oh yeah. I'm on set I had to do a single camera. The sharing of the GOP was quite interesting. Birdsville would light it and Gabo Pagani would be the bunting a little bit more then it's Hungarian. Before the Mansfield with them being told what to do. This thing ended and I can tell you when it showed in America the critics would already watch the decline of their career before mine. Mine was a wimp compared to about a bag which started it all while they were waiting with knives. They had a field day. It died a death. If it hadn't been for the fact that Verity Lambert Bledsoe court found me hiding. In L.A. with friends that said come back I've got a series for you which is based on the suffragettes called shoulder to shoulder.
SPEAKER: M4
Which leads me to the next bit. Yeah that's what resurrected my career because believe me after the disaster of divorce isn't hers. Yeah I would have been unemployable. In America. They just stopped enthusiastically saying forget it. We don't like it. We don't know who you are. The two stars of course by that star. They divorced very soon after the entire thing fell apart. The ingredients of this a whole different story but that was the experience I had had to.
SPEAKER: M1
So I said I was going to ask you to go on to Edwards and Mrs. Simpson. But I mean if you want to talk a bit about well I did show the shoulder up I did Edward Mrs. Simpson before didn't I. I think that was 78 yes but shoulder to shoulder. Shoulder to shoulder. I was must be in 72 so to 74 74.
SPEAKER: M4
So Edwin Mrs. Simpson came after that. Yes indeed. So we should talk a bit about your show because I'm very proud of it. And this is the year of everyone's talking about Beverly Emily Wilding Davison. Yes. Fell under the King's horse. The story of that was a verity. Out of sheer loyalty to me asked me to direct what was basically a totally women orientated production Midge Mackenzie Georgia Brown Verity Lambert and Verity said look we cannot just have a whim. It's going to become a women's ghetto. Let's get a man in and Warriors is great with women. Let's go. Major MacKenzie was against it all down the line. We don't want men. She was extremely anti male and Verity said made you are becoming apps you're becoming the extremist. We cannot extreme. We cannot have extremists on this.
SPEAKER: M2
So I was brought him with a lot of reluctance on the part of Midge a certain amount of fence sitting by Georgia who I began to like very much by the way she was lovely. She elected to plan a Kenny which was north country blonde girl which was not exactly Georgia not even tried wearing blue contact lenses in the first three days shoot and she couldn't wear them.
SPEAKER: M9
So we suddenly Andy Kenny from blue eyes went dark and me. I mean it should have been someone like Billie Whitelaw.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah. Know at that time would have been perfect. And anyway. This production gave me the chance to get back into the saddle. I had to direct the way I work and I did I think very well from it. And for them and Verity was very grateful to me because halfway through I was approached by Andrew Brown who I done. I'd Well I was new and Andrew wanted me to do. Jenny Churchill. And at times attempts. It was great. And Lee Remick was going to do it but it would have meant that I would have had to leave children. Hilda I was going to do three now contractually I wasn't bound. I was per show. I could have left and Verity said to me look wise I can't influence you but I'd rather you didn't leave and out of loyalty to high stayed. And Jimmy Carter Jones remember I remember took it it did him a huge amount of good because it was very popular. Yeah I was sad. Julian Mitchell never forgave me because he thought I turned it down because of him and. I ended up doing shelled shoulder became a very close friend of Sean Phillips a number of people involved on the show. And from that I think I went on to Redwood Mississippi. Yeah. Which by the way. Was one of my career highlights tonight.
SPEAKER: M4
Right. It did. They gave me enormous amount of time to prepare. It was seven hours. Producer Andrew Brown and me. And it just I can't describe it. It was a pleasure from beginning to end. And again you see when you as a director you would appreciate this. Given that kind of support system to prepare for instance because we couldn't get it wrong it was too close to the royal family.
SPEAKER: M5
In fact we actually had a meeting with somebody from the palace who came and said to us Look we know we're basically you're doing this based on the lady Donaldson's book which is very highly thought about but don't ask us to help you officially he said. I mean officially. And we said Ah my little clue. So. But we had to do our homework so that if we didn't get anything wrong.
SPEAKER: M12
And then we had the extra burden of having the Duchess of Windsor who was still alive. Her lawyer Maitre Blum.
SPEAKER: M4
Who a fearsome French woman threatening to sue us if we so much as implied there'd been any calm or exchanged between the two before the wedding. Mm hmm. Well we all know that. But she wasn't good. She was gonna sue us. Yeah. So Verity had every page vetted by lawyers and had to go to Paris twice to talk to this awful woman who threatened to shut the production down. I couldn't showed them in bed together or anything like that. And they would not. I don't think we even showed them kissing. But I implied. We had a scene on the darlin which was the boat they went on to. They went on this cruise. Well we know they shared a cabin. We know they shared hotel rooms. Well I had them dancing on deck. She had taken her shoes off and significant in those days when you took her shoes off. It was significant. And then I had the camera pan across to two silhouettes merging.
SPEAKER: M13
That was my metaphor for what was going on. So.
SPEAKER: M11
That's we had some of those things happen. Yes. You mean you mentioned Verity in relation to that but you seem to imply that Andrew was the producer. Andrew presumably was the script that it. No no. Andrew was actor producer. That was the head of drama. Oh I think he's on at this point. Yeah she was the executive head of it.
SPEAKER: M3
Yeah. Yeah. Alan Cameron by the way was the designer. Right. Brilliant. He went into features after them and he did a brilliant job.
SPEAKER: M13
But I learned so much from my TV experience fences there's a sequence in it which is a long corridor at Buckingham Palace where Edward has been summoned to see his father. And we obviously couldn't shoot anything in Londo occasion or even on film. So Alan designed one low flat that went from one end of the studio to the other and a carpet and pillars one foot in the foreground and then a row of pillars on one side. And we put footmen on one side and all you could shoot was yeah.
SPEAKER: M10
There was nothing behind me off to the left. Yeah. One pillar obscuring. Yeah. And you had this long lens a long shot of him walking down this length of the corridor and footman. Yeah I mean that is the art of illusion and I keep mentioning this to people I keep saying it is an illusion. We are creating an illusion. There's nothing realistic about any of this. And when people go on about this I have to contradict them because I learned this you know how I love this art of this BBC Tony Abbott. Yes. Years before brilliant designer. What I did. And Joe. Mm hmm. He built the whole of a medieval structure in Studio One with archways and this but with different it was in the form of basically the cross. And then hexagonal is off of it. So you could use different angles and it would become something else. Yeah. Yeah. From the cathedral to the bedroom to there. So that's the art of it. But no one see you as a designer. No. This I know is a director how many people today but even know about that. No. Unless they have the four walls.
SPEAKER: M11
Yes. My studio drama has passed away. Hasn't every year it's passed and so therefore they're shooting in real locations. And so they will you have the whole thing. Yes. But the whole corridor or whatever. Yes. But the fact is even now but not all of it is done that way. Steps are still built at great expense. Yeah. At Pinewood Shepperton them but fully built instead of suggested. Yes photoshop.
SPEAKER: M4
You could save money if you have enough thought went into it and said You know what we don't need a forward set here. We know we need a very elaborate setup there. Put the money to the staircase. Yeah. Forget the back of the wall behind me. Because I won't see it. Yeah sure sure. But what about casting about Mr Sims. Well the casting was actually quite amazing because it was a vast cast and the key was of course Edward himself. And we were I think we we struck gold with Edward Fox. I mean he couldn't be bettered. I think actually the most recent portrayal of him which I thought was rather good was in the King's Speech in that very short sequence not the film itself but the king's speech playing the brother David. Yes. The Australian actor. Yes. Yeah. Terrific. The King's Speech. We can discuss on totally. Because to me it was like a grandiose play of the month with a lot of money. Thrown in.
SPEAKER: M11
What about that casting Mrs Simpson Mrs Simpson was it did you import Andrew and Verity who'd gone to New York.
SPEAKER: M6
Ah I had nothing to do with it. Right. And they cast an actress who.
SPEAKER: F2
I was then told had been cast and I had to go with that. And then at the last minute she backed out because she'd been offered a TV series in America and they paid far more. And suddenly that we were stuck and out of the blue. Cynthia Harris was suggested Cynthia's red haired and very consciously so and but physically she came in. We put her into a dark wig and I said perfect. And. Having been cast then we did a photo shoot for the credit sequences. It turned out that her wig had been styled. Exactly like Mrs Simpson's but was red.
SPEAKER: M4
I said hey wait a minute what's this red hair. Well Cynthia asked for it. I said no way way Cynthia I said Cynthia this is insane. Do you not know that Wallace was dark to the point where they accused her of being a Chinese woman. I said look we're going to have to redress this wig. And of course at great expense Amy Dunne thank God for my stepping in. Yeah but you see here's this thing.
SPEAKER: M5
I bet you there are certain directors who would not have contradicted that and gone ahead and said oh you know who cares.
SPEAKER: M11
It's rather like Joel Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing every day. Not aging one you know giving me a goatee and that's it. Yeah yeah.
SPEAKER: M4
So but thank God it didn't happen that way because I wanted her. I mean we all know what Wallis Simpson has anyway. She looked uncannily like her then all the subsidiary actors were just.
SPEAKER: M8
I mean I've got some of the best actors in London in England to play the various roles I gave Cherie Longley had one of her first roles as felt a film a furnace. Yes. And Patricia Hargis. Yeah. Diana Cooper. Right. And we had the good luck to film at Fort Belvedere which was that I was going to ask if you went to the fort.
SPEAKER: M4
Well the fort exteriors yeah. However it was very rundown it was real it was owned by the less ls family. The swimming pool was full of crap and mud. And we at enormous expense emptied it out filled it up and shop there. The actual house amazingly is tiny inside. And we built the interiors at Shepperton to match the exteriors Shepperton.
SPEAKER: M14
I went right to Twickenham chicken town tempts television tending to steady Twickenham to the TTP. No attempt.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah yeah wonderfully done all matching the interiors by giving us more leeway in cameras.
SPEAKER: M1
Yeah. Back to your multicast. Yeah. Multi cam. Daphne Larry. Laurie laughs. Daphne LAURIE Hello.
SPEAKER: M12
Came about because Laurence Olivier was doing a series of Granada called Laurence Olivier presents classic dramas mainly turns out American ones he did come back. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
SPEAKER: F2
You come back Little Sheba and so I was going to do and I was contracted to do a patriot for me and I was thrilled because actually that play is cumbersome onstage but as a screenplay it works in a house because I thought Oh my God. David talk about Albert Finney is available. They were talking about olivier playing the baron in the drag scene which would have been fantastic. Can you imagine dressed as Queen Mary and I thought this is going to be sensational. And then Derek Granger was a producer and it was I thought it could be set in the studio but for some reason they budgeted because the thing is set in Vienna for Vienna. And I said but I thought you could. No no I'm afraid it's going to be too expensive. So they cancelled the show and I'd already been contracted and suddenly because I had a shared aspiration I think Larry said Daphne Larry Ola which he had produced onstage stage it with Edith Evans's ad Peter Finch who'd be brought from Australia actually in those days has suddenly lumbered with this piece. It's quite interesting piece but quite stage gee you know it's all set in a restaurant where this woman sings a lot and then in Hampstead her back garden of the Hampstead house something I mean it totally different to anything I was directed to do with Joni so horribly for Joan was now cast.
SPEAKER: M4
This is why Joan Burton that being Joan chloride. Yeah. Yeah but Joan Plummer right.
SPEAKER: M11
Sorry yes I should mention that of course lady and she related to anybody at Granada.
SPEAKER: F2
She was indeed her brother being a David but I think rather like Elizabeth was doing a favor to her husband. Joan was doing a favor to Larry and here's the rub. Joan called me up and said Can you come on down to Brighton to see me. I said yes. When they were living in those days and Brighton I went to see that Larry isn't here. And I asked you specifically to be here when he's not here. Why am I doing this part. I said But Joan I thought you know I'm doing it because Larry's asked me. I am not Edith Evans. I said No you're not. I said Well I've certainly never played like that. I said No you're not. Let me let Joan let's sit down discuss this I don't think I think everything will be fine. Let me just do a bit of research and get back to you. So I did.
SPEAKER: M9
And I then found out that this play had been written for Faye come to and it was sitting on the desk of in those days the company that did all the thing tenants.
SPEAKER: M11
Heavens yes. You keep a binky Beaumont desk here.
SPEAKER: F2
And Edith Evans swept in and said well what is there for me. And she said What's this. Picked it up went away called and said Binky Beaumont I'd love it I'd love to do it. So they was left out of the picture. However the clues in the script where the character turns out to be a vicar's daughter who was highly intelligent but impecunious wanted to go to university but had been thwarted because she was a woman and.
SPEAKER: M5
Was ultimately married off to a very rich man much older than herself who treasured her.
SPEAKER: M13
She's now trapped loves him in her own way but feels put upon and therefore that takes to drink hence all these scenes in the club where she starts to sing and hence the young admirer who follows all the way to Hampstead and her ambivalence towards herself and her relationship with her old and aging husband who in the garden realize that he catches them. It catches the young man actually kissing the woman who reluctantly. Who are the two men.
SPEAKER: F2
It was the young man was there it was Larry and the young man was played by a young actor who have lost sight of that. But he played the beat of intro guess in the scene in the garden Larry is sitting in his chair more or less doing a monologue about dying and about infidelity and calls her his head Paul White. I have never collected anything so more beautiful pure hip or white and she says oh you collected me did you. All the key to the idea of age difference a marriage difference. It was almost uncannily like Larry and Joe. Yes. Little did I play on that but I mean I think they both knew. Larry gives one of the best performances of his career I think not that I directed it any more than I did in that scene where he talks about dying and about being married to her.
SPEAKER: M4
How was it received. Very well very well but very talky piece very theatrical piece. No exteriors. So you know Marty Kam multi cam this to the back garden in Hampstead is a marvel of design.
SPEAKER: M13
Because not only do you get the interior of the House where it starts off in a sort of conservatory where they're all sitting around and the neck and then the garden which is a whole length of the studio beautifully designed. I'm trying to remember I think it was Richard Henry.
SPEAKER: M11
Maybe no it wouldn't be great if he was not going to.
SPEAKER: M8
That wouldn't be cool would be the Granada designer.
SPEAKER: M1
I'm not up on Granada designers or freelance perhaps. Yeah could be. Well I'll have to look it up. Not to worry not to worry. Where can we go on to. One of your many TV movies which seems to be cropping up the arch of triumph. What is that. I just have another famous work.
SPEAKER: M13
Is based on a novel. Same writer who wrote all quiet on the Western Front Harry Murray area market. It's a love story set and just prior to the second world war about displaced people refugees in Paris.
SPEAKER: M9
And it ends with the invasion of parents by the Germans and the displacement of people about a woman who doesn't have a focus on life and a man is a refugee from Germany. I played and it was done originally as a feature film years ago with Ingrid Bergman and but it was not a huge hit. It just had to. How was that set up. Was that an American production. It was an American production in Paris. No it was going to be shot by garlic. Garlic had an agreement.
SPEAKER: F2
Now the producer Peter Graham Scott was going to do it or he said we're going to do it very very well. For instance the seed on the bridge over the same will simply imply it with lighting and the way you shoot it for us against black drapes.
SPEAKER: M13
I said Peter stop. Either we do right or we don't do it at all. I think we've got to really think this thing through. Well I managed to persuade the head of drama in those days who you know Daryn you're gonna have to report me. His son then.
SPEAKER: M3
Took the Bush Theatre. Oh go. Go. Patrick. Yeah. Patrick drama ghoul.
SPEAKER: M13
I persuaded them I said Patrick let's sit down and discuss this. This isn't you can't do black drapes for American TV anyway. I know you can say go you know find a location in Bristol to look like Paris and it won't work. Why can't we at least try and make this happen. I mean and you've got Tony Hopkins for God's sake. But in those days he wasn't as big as he is now. He hasn't done his big films yet but he was wonderful Tony. Anyway it was a remake of a film. And Ingrid Bergman it be the lead Charles Charles Boyer had been the the lover and Charles Laughton had been the villain the Nazi villain in US set in wartime a pre-war Paris.
SPEAKER: F2
We had Leslie on down and Donald Pleasants played the Nazi ad my lovely friend Jane Martin directed designed it. She did a brilliant job. We shot the exteriors in a Paris streets and that bridge over the same lovely stuff could've died anywhere else. They shot the interiors in an aircraft hangar in Bristol where we.

SPEAKER: M10
Dated an entire hotel complex on our 1940s and she even did a courtyard so we had him sitting in a window and across the courtyard we saw another hotel with windows and people inside. It was through a flat a series of flats. Again television design. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F6
Yeah.
SPEAKER: M11
So it's a love story. And I got Jorge De La Rue to do the music to humiliate him. Yeah yeah yeah. Wonderful man. He loved working on it because it was a French subject. Yeah because we did the music in L.A. and he said to me I said to Mr. De La Rue I remember you. I would love music almost exactly the same.
SPEAKER: M13
It used to be legend music temp track when you are right. So that was and it was very very well-received. Right. Another television movie was Onassis. Yeah. Richest Man in the world.
SPEAKER: M3
Oh my goodness. Based on another book. Peter Adams for us for one hour more. Thirty two hours. Oh I say to two hours. Yeah. Big mini series. He.
SPEAKER: M11
Took me to Greece where we tried to get the original Christine of the yacht which is now lying rotting in Piraeus Harbor.
SPEAKER: M9
Was this based in the States or you. It was working an American production. Yeah based out of London.
SPEAKER: M11
Yea that's their way of getting out of the DGA agreements and although I'm a member of the Directors Guild I can work as a British person as well so that's advantage of hiring people like myself. They get out of all sorts of taxation and stuff. Greece turned out to be a disaster and then we got a crew already and we had to lay them all off. And it was bad. Closed down and then I said For God's sake don't close it down. We can go to Spain. Spain looks like Greek. Greece in certain areas. I mean Scorpio is the island and all that could be in my Yorker anyway. They did bring it back and we shot all of it in Madrid and in the south and Cadiz and Seville who played Onassis for you are another interesting you see now in America. You don't cast according to the way someone looks you go according to the fame. Right. In this case the fame belonged to a wonderful actor. Go round Julia. Oh yes. And roll a six foot one. Yes. Doesn't resemble Onassis at all. I tried to introduce them to David sushi who'd been far better physically because the whole point about Onassis was that he was shorter than his leading ladies. That was his whole thing. If he screwed a lot of women and they were all taller than he was. But anyway. It didn't matter.
SPEAKER: M12
Role was the access the money and the other money that I was more or less told I had to have was Jane Seymour that I was riding very high in television. Yeah. Q rating as Maria Callas. She apologized profusely to me about having been cast without my permission. Took me out to a very expensive lunch. I said Jane I'm sure will be wonderful. I offered the Jackie part to various American actresses and they turned it down because in the script she was portrayed as a bitch.
SPEAKER: M13
And she was still alive at that point. Oh you know she'd gone Oh I see her. Jackie was older Whitman documents which she's still alive when did we make this. No I think she'd gone. I beg your pardon. Eighty eight is I think she was still alive. I thought she was. I think she died in the 90s. I. Don't know what the impact was. Yeah we know not that she was an icon in America. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M12
So I had to then literally try and find somebody to play her and I said British actresses well with Jane playing a Greek I said I guess I'm being English anyway anyway.
SPEAKER: M10
I then got I called my mate Francesca Ernest. I said French and she said oh Francesca please read the script. The great part I should but Maurice I mean I'd have to study again.
SPEAKER: M11
And anyway she agreed because the fee was quite generous in American terms and not just because of that but partly I see it anyway because of me. But she read the part and she agreed. Now here's the rub. She wanted to look at material on Jackie. Funnily enough there's very little of Jackie actually talking a lot of material on her images. The one that. Actually she spoke in was when she did a tour of the White House first lady. Yes. So we got the tape and Francesca studied it. Yeah. And in it she speaks like Marilyn Monroe. She's gone yes terribly girly voice.
SPEAKER: M12
And so Francesca got the room and now he started to shoot where in Spain and the rushes go all the way to America takes three days to go there three days to come back not quite because they then phoned in their reaction yes you can imagine a row of executives sitting with yellow pads making notes in America. My producer takes me aside and says we've just had a report on rushes Boris. They're very concerned about Francesca earnings. I said oh what's the problem. Well what's this little girly voice she's speaking with. I said But that's exactly how she spoke. Yes yes yes. But you see the problem is most of the executives don't know that and therefore neither do any of the American public they will think this is an English actress being very bad. So we I think what you're going to have to do is to go to her and tell her that you just have to go back to a normal voice with an American accent. I said but Frank is Frank Konigsberg the producer. This is not my job. You should go as a producer. Oh I can't do that. I think you've got to go and do it site go Francesca. Francesca sit down and let me tell you something. They don't think that your voice right is she put. I said Look do me a favor. Can you just drop that. It tried to be like Jackie just play with an American accent. And what about the first three days rushes. I said we'd have to loop them. And that's what happened so these are the things you have.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah. Way. Oh yes. Yeah. I did a whole spate of American films by this time.
SPEAKER: M9
Yes. Yes. Now I've. Next on my list is Chelsea Piers which is the next year which one Chelsea cos the shell seekers.
SPEAKER: M11
Mm hmm. Have we done Princess Daisy yet.
SPEAKER: M2
Is that mentioned at all. I'm sure it's on the list but I haven't I haven't. I haven't pulled it out as as. Here it is. It will be passed that. We passed that. That was it forward ideologically. Was that alas before nurses. Oh yes. Oh about five years before. Well princess Daisy. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M3
Just to mention it very quickly was a potboiler. It was very much Pulp Fiction. You know American TV rants Judith crowds American television one.
SPEAKER: M5
She's one of the biggest bestsellers along with Barbara Taylor Bradford. And there was a spate of mini series done in America which are based on these rom coms and and Princess Daisy was one of these dramas and because of its money I believe it or not for instance I was flown that five different locations Los Angeles New York London and Normandie.
SPEAKER: M1
That's four different look but we flew from one to the other. First class airfares. I was we shot in each city as we went along from New York to go ahead of the crew. I was flown by Concorde to Paris and the cast consisted of unknowns such as Rupert Everett and I even got we had killed your car Denali.
SPEAKER: M13
Stacy Keach I mean yeah this is not chopped liver.
SPEAKER: M9
No but it it was enjoyable and and worked on its level or it was Pulp Fiction.
SPEAKER: M5
Yeah I was going yes. Where money was spent on costumes and locations. It was glossy. Everything had to be glossy. Yeah. You could not afford to do anything other than gloss right. And I realize this. Yeah I unfortunately. Oh I forgot to tell you Ringo Starr was in it. Oh I got him to play Go part with his wife Barbara back in it.
SPEAKER: M3
There was supposed to be a bisexual couple who are supposed to corrupt our heroine. Oh dear. And I we couldn't in America imply bisexuality it was verboten.
SPEAKER: M10
But what I did do is I put Ringo into a bath full of bubbles a bubble bath and the entire scene is him spitting smoking as Schrute while his wife paints his toenails green.
SPEAKER: M1
And they discuss Daisy right. Right now if they if you have any idea of the subtlety of that.
SPEAKER: M15
That was my that was how subtle the film got. Yes.
SPEAKER: M5
OK so Ringo I'd forgotten mention of it. Yes our major star Rupert by the way had not yet made his mark. No. So that was another story. Right. But anyway.
SPEAKER: M2
Huge hit. It kept my career going. In America. It also paid my bills. Yes it is vital I find this vital. Yes. Yeah. Sorry. I got got myself last night. Oh so we were just out of time.
SPEAKER: M3
Oh Chelsea As Chelsea gets the answer Chelsea is based on another book Rosalind Pilcher was in the best selling charts for almost a year on top of the bestseller list about an English family. Wonderful thing. I love doing it. We shot it. It was American production shot in England. Mark Mark production entirely location everything. No studio did to Shepperton interiors what it was was it was set in London Cotswolds it ether and the cultural sequences were a cottage exteriors wonderful cottages and the interior was built on the studio floor at Shepperton.
SPEAKER: M6
He beta was for real. We found a real thinker.
SPEAKER: F2
It was gorgeous.
SPEAKER: M7
Yeah. Cornwall Caldwell beautiful was Cornwall Cornwall was that that was all.
SPEAKER: M8
Location. Yeah sometimes. Yeah yeah. I in fact I saw it on the box last week no you saw Vanessa Redgrave.
SPEAKER: M3
Ah I was a different. That was not mine. Oh it's so interesting. Mine is I might tell you Vanessa was the perfect lead in it. I when I read it I was way before that. Yeah I see. And the casting there was not half as good as mine. Patricia Hodge played the daughter. Yes Anna Carteret played the other daughter in Michael golf played painter. The husband was Dennis the lover for the older lover and a beat that was played by Dennis Quigley. Did they go to Spain in that one. Did they go to beta. I don't know but it looked as though they did go to Cornwall. Yeah. But Piers Haggard did it did it Piers it was so funny piers didn't even realize that version had been this was a German company were intent on doing Rosemond Pilcher stories for some reason they did desert mine much after mine. I wanted in mind when I was casting it because a woman has to be of a certain age she's actually supposed to be dying. Vanessa would've been perfect but she wasn't concerned. There was an embargo on Vanessa by the way in that time politically.
SPEAKER: M10
Politically I want to say Anne Bancroft who had done a wonderful pumpkin eater because she could play English and they were all saying well nobody knows who she is she is Broadway and she's not got any TV. Q And then out of the blue a letter was written to the head of NBC from Angela Lansbury. Could she please be considered.
SPEAKER: M12
Well having done Murder She Wrote yes automatically went to her so I had to deal with Angela.
SPEAKER: M13
Mm hmm. She was fine. Yeah I'm sure I'd love you to see it actually in contrast to the other one. Yes I think I did a bloody good job right. Anyway Angela played the lead. Yeah and a Zamboni maker played her lover in the present. Right.
SPEAKER: M9
Sorry I confuse the two. No no no. There's no reason why you shouldn't use the same title and same clothes in the wardrobe clothes the wardrobe wonderful.
SPEAKER: M1
Well John Oh yes and Julie Walters and Joe Blow right. Yes. Guess what. Produced by Norma Heyman. MRS. MRS John payments. Yeah. My ex-wife and David's mom. Heyman family is featured heavily.
SPEAKER: F3
I was called up one day on a Friday. MORRIS Are you available. I said yes. Well it is rather awkward. We're filming at the moment with John Morrow and I'm afraid we're going to have to replace the director. Would you be available to take over. I said well.
SPEAKER: M13
John Barrow. I don't even need to read the script.
SPEAKER: M6
So she said Well the script will be sent to you by cab and it arrived. And I read it. Yes I'd love to do this but I need to see why you see it. I usually shoot yes. Yes. I see what I need to see the material. Sure. Well we'll show you whatever we have but unfortunately we have to continue shooting over the weekend because we've got crowd scenes. I said You mean to say a word to shoot with the director you're planning to fire and shoot yes. So I then said Well alright.
SPEAKER: M12
But I could need a few days.
SPEAKER: M9
Can you name names at this point about whom you're replacing. I presume it was a man.
SPEAKER: M12
I think it's awfully unfair to me to mention people not maybe not.
SPEAKER: M13
Go on. Should we talk about yes go on. You can embargo this bit if you like. No it's not a question embargo. It's just that the poor guy. I just feel terrible. Well I would. He was the same one who.
SPEAKER: M16
Did a private practice. Michael what's his name. Great Alan Bennett knows Alan Bennett and appropriate about the pig in the war. Jim you know what I mean.
SPEAKER: M9
Oh yes yes. I can't think of his name either. Sorry I interrupted. Anyway. He was being replaced. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M11
And to make it even more bizarre on the weekend the editor was on holiday we had to get him back. He'd taken the weekend off. I had to call him back because I had needed to see the rushes. Yeah. And when I saw that I said at the BBC in the editing rooms back then.
SPEAKER: M4
And what's happening. I said.
SPEAKER: M1
Are there any close ups of John Morrow. And he said Well no I said but. I rang up.
SPEAKER: M6
Norma. It's a Norma. This seems to be all this material but all we've got John is over shoulders and long shots. And she said that's the whole point worries. He hasn't been covering her. And.
SPEAKER: M15
I'm sorry can you. Oh.
SPEAKER: M1
Yeah. This pretty ghastly the fact that I was doing this. Yeah. Anyway I had to go and see you rolling. I'm running all right. I had to go and see John Miro yeah with Joan with the doorbell. And John presented herself with a hair pulled back just looking the way she normally does. And I said Miss Morrow I've been a great admirer. You don't mind me just direct me. So that was my meeting with her. But anyway now going back to the editing thing and. What had happened was that Malcolm Mowbray had asked to see John's work and not was not familiar with it. So they sent all these videos of John in things like you Jim sailor from Gibraltar and various other things of her life to the scaffold. Now the point was when she turned up in person she'd obviously got much older.
SPEAKER: M11
Yes Sir Malcolm Beaupre apparently turned to the GOP whose name I've forgotten conveniently as well because he was not nice. They apparently turned to each other and Malcolm said What the hell are we going to do with her. Yeah. And he apparently said well try and avoid not knowing that this lady's as canny as you can get a show and knows that she's not getting coverage. Yeah. And apparently this is hearsay. I wasn't witnessing to it.
SPEAKER: M12
She and Joan sat down and said. And she said journal Joan said to her is this ship sinking.
SPEAKER: M1
And I think John said yes it is and I don't intend to go down with it. Right. So she went to Norma and said it's either him or us. So that's what happened. I was dragged in. They stopped for two days shooting.
SPEAKER: M14
That's all they could afford to do. I had to then look not only the rushes but rush around looking at the locations that had been chosen there was a real location show. It was a suburban house in north London. And then for some reason Malcolm a chosen another house which is supposed to be adjacent to this would be next door. The other with a golf course in between.
SPEAKER: M1
And he chose the other house in south London. So one houses in North London the other was in South London at and creating shots are difficult. Well you couldn't do it. So I thought this is I said this is so bizarre. And they'd already shot stuff so I killed him. So now there was also location about to happen in Egypt where he'd already done his location hunting. And I said look I I I can't just go to Egypt and I've got to go there ahead of the crew. But first of all let's get the London stuff done. So we.
SPEAKER: M14
Had to then squeeze into tiny kitchens.
SPEAKER: F4
I mean it was unbelievably difficult for me and the costumes had all been set. I had to watch the staff the Egypt we've got to go back we asked our camera speed.
SPEAKER: M1
Okay. So we were close the wardrobe. We haven't finished shooting in in in London. We then went to Egypt to do the Egyptian stuff.
SPEAKER: M10
And when I arrived I had I took the writer with me Mark Martin Sherman and Norma. We arrived in Luxor and I was shown what had been chosen and I turned on its head. But you could have put a palm tree up and in one of the pits around hands where a doctor who used to be shy and say it was Egypt but this isn't Egypt.
SPEAKER: M1
What has he chosen. So there was panic and I said Can we at least look at what we have. And I then walked to the temple of these Luxor to I said can't we shoot here. Oh no we can't do that because the permits have to be got from Cairo takes up to six months. I said Oh for God's sake let's just do it you know what I. I don't know whether we got permission or not. But we managed to shoot amongst those wonderful temples of a whole sequence of them walking through the temples and they had he had chosen all fairness a villa by the Nile was a private villa which we also shot in the outside. So I used that. But the locations that I created were entirely mine and they worked wonderfully.
SPEAKER: M10
And so we got away with that. And the show actually was I thought one of the best things I've done. I had to match Oh that was the other interesting thing. I had to match up some of the stuff that had been shot that Sunday which is an art gallery sequence with the crowd. And I couldn't do that sequence. I had to get my characters into close shots because I had to show paintings of what we had shot in Egypt was that some of the paintings are supposed to be in Shia intermediate.
SPEAKER: M5
So it was all very skillfully done where we got the crowd scenes and the close ups of my people looking at the paintings and the paintings themselves which had to be recreated again in a set. Yeah.
SPEAKER: F5
We then I think I think that the film itself got made. We loved it the BBC in their wisdom should have held it because heading for Oscar season and we managed to sell it to Golden company as a feature because it got very nice reviews in America.
SPEAKER: M10
They wanted to enter it for John Morrow's performance. The BBC in their wisdom broadcast it the week before the nominations went in thereby cutting it dead for nomination because it was shown on television and not in the cinema.
SPEAKER: M5
Yes yeah right. Same thing is happening just now because behind the candelabra has been made by HBO. Yes. For television doesn't qualify for the Oscars.
SPEAKER: F5
Oh yeah.
SPEAKER: M9
So I've read great notices for that. I'm good to see it. I want to see very badly.
SPEAKER: M3
But so here we've got this awful situation where John could be nominated Yeah and possibly one.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah. So yeah that's luck of the draw as I did. So another lady Pamela Harriman. Yes.
SPEAKER: M5
A real life lady. Yes. Who became the first British born woman to become an ambassador to Paris for America. The reason for that was it was thank you and Bill Clinton's part for getting him into the White House. Right. She used her influence from her husband Haverhill but of course her life was a checkered past. Yes. She was known as Lois all dull and.
SPEAKER: M10
However I have to say the privilege of working with the wonderful Margaret who is brilliant at the British accent and she gave a consummate performance as Pamela. We were we weren't allowed to go and delve into her sex or the darker deeds but we made her into quite a character.
SPEAKER: M9
How was that set up. Was that obviously was American but American totally shot in America right.
SPEAKER: M10
Even Paris and we found Oh that's another story that defined the American Embassy interiors which all very grand you see.
SPEAKER: F1
And I found this mansion built in the French style by a Russian dentist's wife who had created the entire Fontainebleau palace to look like hers. And we shot it there. As interiors as it was wonderful gloriously vulgar.
SPEAKER: M13
But with all the right ingredients. Yeah yeah. What's that. That was a one off. Was it it was yes it was a two hour movie. Yeah. Television Lifetime Television.
SPEAKER: M15
Yeah. So.
SPEAKER: M1
Then her best friends as president again shot in. This was an American production movie for television for lifetime. Yeah about it this funnily enough came up it was an idea of mine you see.
SPEAKER: M10
It was my idea was to remember that film where Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft played old friends where Gwen was a ballet dancer. They'd been friends together and then it fell apart. Anyway I wanted to do a film because there's very short the very few films for older women. I want to do a film about two best friends one of whom would and I want to write it because I'd work with and Margaret loved her very much. And Margaret and Sophia Loren two wonderful looking women in their 60s. One would be an Italian obviously the other American it was about a woman in grief whose son gets killed him. She's obsessed by her son. He gets as she is resentful of his engagement to a young woman. Anyway he gets killed in a car crash. At the beginning and she's now in total grief.
SPEAKER: M13
She's very well off but she's a major one is this the American and Margaret.
SPEAKER: M16
She's a rich widow and she doesn't know what to do with herself. And she gets this invitation to go to Florence wanted shoot in Florence by a best friend who is a Russian Italian countess to come to Florence and she does she goes reluctantly but heat to heal herself and the two women are very fond of each other and woman said that this is all my idea by the way. And she's trying to repair itself goes to galleries and things like that. Now Sophia has a son who she dominates. Who she's arranged this marriage is dynastic managed a Florentine family. And of course the location is wonderful outside and the sun is very much against it being dominated and dying very hard to find himself. He's very sensitive artistic. He likes to go to Fitzy a lot and so does Margaret are older woman younger man.
SPEAKER: M8
Da da da.
SPEAKER: M12
And reluctantly she allows herself into a relationship which of course betrays her friendship with her best friend. Crisis. And there's this huge scene where they confront each other. Well I presented all this to the network.
SPEAKER: M6
Wonderful idea but no location in Italy too expensive to foreign filming is now no longer in Sofia can be in New York and it and Margaret can be in Los Angeles and we can still do the love story if we do it that way. And then the next thing is actually how old are these two women. I said well in the 60s. No no no they can't be older than 40. So I said but the whole idea was to nope nope sorry worries it's not going to work for television we're going to have to rethink this whole thing. We know you love our Margaret but ends up.
SPEAKER: M12
With us looking for 40 year olds. I'm now in Toronto casting. We're offering it to think oh the network gives you a list. They even thought of a country and western couple husband and wife. Because now it's not going to be a love affair between a young man. It's going to be the husband she has an affair with their best friend's husband right.
SPEAKER: M1
Hence the title. Yeah I'm now locked into this project and I can't extricate myself because if I did I'd never work again. Besides which I need the fee. Yeah.
SPEAKER: M4
We're employer in Toronto looking at locations and for New York food supposedly for New York it's and I get my producer of course planes just flown into the one of the buildings in Lausanne in New York.
SPEAKER: M10
I said oh was it a Cessna something private. They said well my niece is coming from Los Angeles and apparently all traffic stop should be better get on with our location. So the entire day doing a location and I get back to the hotel.
SPEAKER: M1
Turn on the telly. What the world has come to fall into is Oh my God. I called out Jean. Jean if you just want to tell Yes I know it's absolute. Get a little disaster. All flights are canceled never to to move anywhere let alone actors because the leads have to come from America. The rest are being cast in Canada to play Americans. Now those scripts can be sent by FedEx. No actors. But. Even though when that embargo stopped when you could send overnight. How close were you to shooting.
SPEAKER: M4
Two weeks. Two to three weeks.
SPEAKER: M5
No cast no American wanted to fly. We could not get a single person to get on a plane now permutations of who we could.
SPEAKER: M1
Well one actress you know who I think needed the work but had was well-known. Cheryl Ladd from Charlie's Angels. Let's get the two women from Charlie's Angels to play us the two best friends.
SPEAKER: M5
In the end we were we. She wouldn't say yes. The woman who played the other dark angel. She married Toni Richman. Justin's just Jaclyn Smith. No no she said no. So in the end we ended up. I read a review with an actress called Best Armstrong and best Armstrong.
SPEAKER: M16
The network said well anyway we are now close to the wire agrees to do it. She turns up onset blonde hair the same as Sheryl lads. And we now have two actresses playing blondes. I said No no no. We've got to dye someone's hair now. Sheryl said not mine. I'm known for being blond. Bess do you mind having your hair done. Well I suppose so. Well it's a weekend no shoot on Monday. No rehearsal. They hire a hairdresser to come in. At high expense risking everything because the hair could have gone disastrously wrong. Anyway he managed to give her reddish hair and we start shooting on Monday. And meanwhile hysteria is raining down in America and everywhere. Well yeah and in this swirl of hysteria out shooting this thing caught her best friend's husband. For my idea for which by the way I get executive producer as well as director of the credit credit and I think a little bit more money we finish shooting and then the American cars are flying back with me with the producer was also American and one of them said you were right about getting back in. I said back in where because you crossed the border in Toronto you don't do it in America. The border is in Toronto at the airport. I go into America right. And they said well you know maybe we should help you get through.
SPEAKER: M9
I said I didn't realize. Yeah I say yes. And my looks. Yes I. I could have been arrested. Yes.
SPEAKER: M10
So they went ahead of me to the immigration and said something. So when I pushed my trolley through the immigration set.
SPEAKER: M14
Oh hi welcome back home. I you'll be directing. Cheryl Ladd she's one of my favorites. I said well.
SPEAKER: M1
How is she to work with it. Terrific. Yes. Welcome back with open arms. Cheryl Ladd went ahead and said please be nice to my director. He's very nice. I'm not a terrorist. So that's yes that's the adventure and luck. And that was by the way the last film I shot there since then. When was that it was in 2001. And to achieve a six happiness we haven't mentioned. No. Which was a film I shot for the BFI the BBC.
SPEAKER: M13
Oh in 1976 here in 1977. So that was how much longer we got to stay interesting. Oh I see finish this. That's right.
SPEAKER: F5
Nineteen was sent to me as a script about a boy with brittle bone disease and set in the policy community community in Bombay who it was from a book called trying to grow written by a boy who is brittle bone disease since any biographical vision.
SPEAKER: M10
I was asked to read the script. I loved it but needed work. I met the writer. And he was adorable and he's tiny its legs like this. He needs a wheelchair. Mind is sharp as that brilliant. I said clearly. Have you ever written a script before he said no. But I. So film orientated that I just taught myself. I said well you're brilliant but there are things that you need to do. And let me help you.
SPEAKER: M4
So we worked on the script and then I said right now we have a problem.
SPEAKER: F5
Character starts date to 18.
SPEAKER: M11
How do we do this we can't cast three different stages in the age with this ability. I said to the producers. Oh and it was BFI in those days. Its name is Gibson Brian Gibson or Bill Gibson.
SPEAKER: M10
Was it Brian. Yes. He he ran the BFI and I went to him and I said look I'm going to take a huge check step here. Do you remember Phil gold the Tin Drum where this little boy played somebody who grew up an adult. And there was this incredible scene where the 6 year old is screwing a 40 year old woman. Now that was to say the least a stretch. I'm going to ask you to give me that option.
SPEAKER: F5
I would ask for those whose never acted in his life to play the role from eight to 18. He's tiny. And they said was be it on your head. I took the risk otherwise we could have made the film. Yeah yeah. So here is a decision for those was cast. I insisted on rehearsing with the cast which cast in England. It's set in Bombay entirely. We did it. I got a fabulous young designer. We went to Bombay for a week and we looked at the locations.
SPEAKER: M11
Not even the weekends and four days five days. She went around and I looked at flats and apartments because it mostly action takes place in the apartment because the boy can't move her out. And we found one apartment that's perfect. She took measurements. She went out she got locks door knobs and light fixtures everything trunk loads of stuff. And we came back and we built the interior at three mils. Yeah. So that's where we shot the Bombay apartment. We shot exteriors actually in India for 10 days but most of it was in the apartment. My cast consisted of a wonderful group of actors partly here from here. British agents and partly in Bombay Nina Wadia played his sister and this wonderful in drama played you know these lovely very good talented arson but he played the boy. Suad Faris who's not actually Indian but she played a policy but the whole point was it was about a boy a who has the handicap physically be as a policy which is a diminishing minority. That's why they they were Anglo Files. Yeah. And at the height of their fame during the Brits the British left everything went downhill. Yeah. And on top of that he's gay. So to deal with the gay thing as well and not be able to tell the policy community in Bombay we were shooting this because they're very religious.
SPEAKER: M9
Yes. And did they know the book there. They did know the book but they know very vaguely yeah that the gay thing was much stronger in the script.
SPEAKER: M10
We even had a kiss and all that. I mean we have quite a lot. And there's one sequence where the first time they kiss actually is when the talk of the the boy who plays his lover friend who becomes his lover is standing on the bed looking through a telescope and and he's off. The hero is lying on the bed and he collapses on top of him by mistake.
SPEAKER: F1
Now in reality for those we had to be incredibly careful that this fall wouldn't break.
SPEAKER: M11
Yeah. I mean I mean we shot it. I mean I was like this. And I said God we're risking a hell of a lot for this one shot and we did it in one take. Thank God. There was not a sequence our whole bookshelf collapses on him. I mean books. And we had to do fake books so that he wouldn't be hurt. Yeah. Very very difficult for this boy. He used to get exhausted. We to have to give him moments to to just recover and that went out on BBC. Here's the rub. One BBC group had given the green light trust my luck. Another group came in.
SPEAKER: M12
The new head of whatever he had been responsible for green lighting it. She didn't do it. They shared you two. She had scheduled it 11:00 on BBC Two on Oscar night.
SPEAKER: M7
No one saw it. No. It got bought for distribution in America.
SPEAKER: F1
But once they bought it they didn't know what to do with it. So Catherine I used to abuse never got repeated on BBC and you know what with the Paralympics.
SPEAKER: M13
You just thought Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah. The place is in chaos. Yeah. They don't know their arse from their elbow. And Ben Stevenson is head of drama. I don't know who that is. Have you known. Do you know what he looks like. No. Looks like a twelve year old.
SPEAKER: M9
But a lot of people do now is he.
SPEAKER: M1
Well yes but even I didn't look like a 12 year old and when I was 21 or something I know the guy sanction stuff. I mean one million an episode of Doctor Who no more. Yeah on all those special effects. Yes on scripts that were gradually going downhill.
SPEAKER: M8
That gives me the cue to ask you about the man who gave you the job in the very first.
SPEAKER: M5
I don't know whether you should hear me saying Ben Stephen doesn't know his arse from his elbow.
SPEAKER: M8
Oh no that BFI he'll he'll have passed out by the time he did the the we talked. I talked about two mentors and people patrons of things we didn't have a name for the man who put you on the BBC training course in the first place Head of Drama was at that time.
SPEAKER: M10
Michael Barry. Oh now that's something we should mention because. I've done this production of season Cleopatra which had got wonderful notices which was a student production not to pay tribute to a head of drama who at that time was Michael Barry who presumably read the reviews which would Nash and the national papers The Times The Guardian which are excellent the Telegraph I got a phone call from the BBC asking if I would book two seats for the play which was running at the outset at Cambridge and he not only came to see it and went back but when I was applying for a job obviously he had knowledge of my work and I suspect he put in a word for me to put me in to the training course that I finally was recruited for. And so I have to say that I had to be very thankful someone like him who gave me the opportunity to get into the BBC.
SPEAKER: F5
He was then replaced by Sydney Newman of course.
SPEAKER: M13
Yeah. Oh yes. Yes. I'm way on. Yeah. Okay. Five minutes left. Now is there anything we've not talked about that you think to mention maybe we should talk about what I would like to do. Yes.
SPEAKER: M5
Because I still haven't given up. No you know I feel that one of the things that I'm very strong about is ageism. We all have experience and we are still in a position to do what we do while our creative wheels are turning. I mean let's face it some of the A-list us today amongst the directorial group are people like Martin Scorsese. And people like Steven Spielberg. But they've already created their situations. The fact that I'm not on an A-list does not mean to say that I'm not creative or capable. And on that level alone I would say that I'm still trying to do things. I actually have ambitions to make a film about the Burton Taylor experience with actors playing them someone playing me or whatever I may not even end up by directing it. But I want to do it as a film. I joke about something my week with Marilyn my two months with the butler school and the other thing I want to do is that I'm involved on it but I have I'm involved with a producer who's working and trying to finance a most wonderful script Shakespeare based on the Winter's Tale and I know Shakespeare is not box office but I see that as one just opening in Much Ado. Yes. Which he's very good shot in somebody's back. Yes. So that if that can happen I firmly believe that that asked our version of The Winter's Tale can happen but it needs casting. Yes. And that's a whole nother story. But in other words I'm not giving up.
SPEAKER: M16
I want to continue as best I can. Cut.
SPEAKER: M15
To the ending is really. Yes. Thank you very much.