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On location with James Bond, Octopussy, Magda & Gobinda

By: Ian Davis
Published:
2014-03-20
It all started with a visit to Pinewood Studios in the late summer of 1982. An open day, the first since 1978, had drawn my family to the Buckinghamshire home of 007, I being a youngster with a keen interest in the James Bond movies, a passion that I've always regarded as an offshoot from my father's lifelong interest in films and film stars.

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
During this particular event we spent several hours visiting sets, which in preparation for the forthcoming Bond film Octopussy (1983) (1983) included M's office and General Gogol's war-room. A horse box was being constructed to have a seat and steering wheel for a hidden driver and a rocket launcher, of mainly wooden construction, was sitting uncompleted in front of one of the workshops, little did we know at the time that these two pieces would be major to the storyline of the next Bond's pre-credit sequence. Other stops included various property departments and workshops, one of which accommodated the production of an armoured rail cart. It was being constructed to a drawing which stated that it was destined for the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough (later used as location also for GoldenEye (1995)), and this was to be the start of our next adventure. . .

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
In those days before the web, it was obviously trickier to find out where productions were being filmed. However, the industry journal Screen International and a Peterborough newspaper's offices helped and in the following days and weeks, we began to understand more about the Nene Valley Railway scenes and learned that filming was scheduled to take place there in September [1982].

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
We chose a weekday to visit the location, and established that scenes were being shot at Wansford station. We chose a good day to visit and shortly after our arrival we learned that Roger Moore and most of the principal cast members were on set – Maud Adams, Kristina Wayborn and Kabir Bedi were all happy to pose for photographs outside their caravans.

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
Only on seeing the finished film was I to realise how ideal our timing had been – there were not many sequences at the railway in which they were all involved. The caravans being used for the cast dressing rooms were positioned alongside the station and some of the railway buildings were being used for production offices such as the Stunt Department. A handful of Mercedes', all in various states of destruction, were grouped together in storage. Whilst it was good to meet the stars (who I was yet to see in the finished film), one crew member whom I already knew – Bob Simmons, stunt co-ordinator on many of the films, was also on location that day and I have fond memories of a short time spent with him as he signed for me and posed for a picture.

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
A photo was called for in front of one of the locomotives, Roger Moore, Maud Adams and Kristina Wayborn posed for photographers and we were able to take advantage and take our own pictures. I watched the shot involving the switching of the rolling stock being filmed – it's good to know, as I watch the film again that I was there whilst Kabir Bedi acted out the scene. In addition, the segment where Bond, Octopussy and Magda board the carriage was also shot that day and I also have photos of Roger Moore preparing for his scene where he rode beneath the rail cart.

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
Bond girls adorned the location, I remember seeing Caroline Seaward and also Mary Stavin who acknowledged us as she walked by. (Ms. Stavin is pictured on the photograph of the station platform, perhaps the scenes on the platform were also being staged that day? - My photo shows Octopussy Circus sweatshirts as choice clothing!)

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
At the time of course I wasn't aware of the roles of many of the cast, nor was I aware that the "armoured" rail stock that we had seen in manufacture months before at Pinewood would appear in the completed film for only a few seconds (it can be seen in the shots of Bond's borrowed Mercedes during its 2-wheeled journey towards the railway tracks).

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
As the end of the day neared, my dad took a photograph of Roger Moore and me, a treasured memory of my day on location with the Bond team.

Octopussy Nene Valley filming
This article was written exclusively for FSWL by Ian Davis. © 2014 From Sweden with Love.
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