A celebration of James Bond + An evening with George Lazenby at Pinewood Studios
11th June 2005 was another day to mark in the Bond calendar and remember. The place to be was Pinewood Studios, the legendary "home" for James Bond the last 43 years. It was the 2nd opportunity I had the opportunity to “delve deeply into its treasures”.
The mission was to celebrate the phenomenon of James Bond and in particular one-time-007, George Lazenby, who had flown in specifically for this event honouring him.
Also in attendance were 14 other Bond celebrities who themselves also have contributed to the success in one way or the other, these were:
• Alan Hume, Director of Photography on FYEO, Octopussy and AVTAK
• Actor Albert Moses
• Alec Mills, camera operator on OHMSS, TSWLM, MR, FYEO, OP, AVTAK / DoP for TLD and LTK
• Actress Eunice Gayson
• Stuntman George Leech
• Actress Jan Williams
• Jeanie Sims (Peter Hunt's assistant)
• Actor Joe Robinson
• Actor John Moreno
• Actor John Wyman
• Actress Madeline Smith
• Michael Reed, DoP for OHMSS
• Academy Award winner Norman Wanstall
• Actor/stuntman Terence Mountain
• Actor Thomas Wheatley
Barbara Broccoli had planned to attend the event but because of the recent, tragic death of one-time-Bond-to-be and Barbara’s close friend for many years, Michael Billington, was still grieving for the loss of her one-time lover. She sent her regards to those who did come.
I was staying with my friend, Ajay Chowdhury, and after a solid English breakfast at his local café adorned with a large B&W still of Sean Connery as Bond, we were soon in a taxi headed to Pinewood. Interestingly, the cab driver told us he used to deliver luxury cars for films and those ITC/Monty Berman/Brit detective/spy TV shows shot at the studios in the 70’s.
Arriving at Pinewood for my second time was like putting on an old pair of slippers. I felt home, like Lord Brett Sinclair at Greensleeves, his ancestral home. We socialized at first, meeting fellow fans in person after having only having had email contact with them. It was nice to see they were as passionate as us. The guests were great and seemed to enjoy it as much as the fans.
The day took of with the people divided into two teams, one led by the organiser and Pinewood expert Gareth Owen and the other lead by knowledgeable Bond aficionado Dave Worrall. The tour took us to all the places used for the filming for Bond films shot at Pinewood. This included the classic and enormous Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage, the outside areas (back lot) around this studio used to house Blofeld’s volcano crater in You Only Live Twice (1967), the take off strip for Little Nellie in the same film, the ice palace from the recent epic Die Another Day (2002), the spot where Sir Roger Moore’s 007 orders the gas station attendant to fill his Acrostar up in Octopussy (1983), a glimpse at Blackwood park used for the car chase in Goldfinger (1964) and numerous other scenes, the square where Bond crashes his Aston Martin DB5 in the same film (many of the roads inside Pinewood have names associated with the history and the creators of 007 such as Goldfinger Avenue, 007 Drive and Broccoli Road).
The tour also took us to the outside paddock tank used for the sinking of St. Georges in For Your Eyes Only (1981), the icy car chase in TLD, Zukovsky’s caviar plant in The World Is Not Enough (1999) as well as Jinx diving in DAD, also, the area next to this tank served as the gypsy camp in From Russia with Love (1963). From this place the brand newly built inside water tank studio was visible and still to some extent under construction although this didn’t stop a man working there inviting us to see the inside and smell the painted walls We continued to the cave used for Renard’s entrance in TWINE and next to that, the small hill used for some part of Pierce Brosnan escape running in DAD.
The last thing of the tour was the famous and extraordinary gardens behind the manor house at which the training of Grant chasing the character of Bond in FRWL, a place at the gardens also served as the spot for the masseuse in the same film to give Grant a nice time. It was a witty move of the organizers to see one of our guests, Jan Williams, who played this masseuse on this place when we came, offering embarrassed fans to have their own treatment. I also took a look at the spot and the stone dedicated to our beloved Desmond Llewellyn, all in the memory and to honour the ever best Q!
After the splendid tour, an appetizing barbeque was a chance to slip a few beers down our throats. I then thought about the upcoming screening and was aroused by the probably once in a lifetime chance of seeing On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) on the silver screen. This was preceded by an interview session with the guests on stage inside the sacred Theatre 7 were many talented and famous directors have previewed scenes and all films shot at Pinewood. Out of all the anecdotes told by the free speaking Bond people answering questions from both Gareth the host and the crowd, the most funny and entertaining Albert Moses was the uncrowned king! He seemed personally very amused himself by the whole session.
Then, it was time to see classic film which many fans consider THE ultimate Bond film (Gareth also told the unique story of obtaining this one and only remaining and watch able copy directly sent for this event from MGM’s own archive) and presenting the film were no other than the recently arrived, one-time-007, father of 4 (2 on the way in November which he happily revealed later in the evening), friend of Bruce Lee, married to a former world number one female tennis ace; Mr George Lazenby! Everything was much joy and excitement for the fans.
I would like to dedicate this article to the memory of Michael Billington, one-time-potential Bond, close Broccoli family friend and a missing presence for the this special day. I have met Michael a few times before and he was always very kind and supportive to the fans, especially to me as he put up a photo of us on his personal website. Thank you Michael, I will always remember you!
For more information about the event, read the official report at Bondstars
Anders Frejdh © 2005 From Sweden With Love
Other reports from visiting Pinewood on FSWL:
>Pinewood Studios 2004
>Pinewood Studios 2006
>Pinewood Studios 2007
>Pinewood Studios 2008
>Pinewood Studios 2009
>Pinewood Studios 2011
All Bondstars event featured on FSWL:
>An afternoon with Richard Kiel 2004
>James Bond: A celebration + An evening with George Lazenby 2005
>Bond girls are forever 2006
>Behind the scenes of Bond 2007
>Goldfinger Reunion 2008
>The Spy Who Loved Me Reunion + An evening with Sir Roger Moore 2008
>Summer BBQ 2009
>Christmas Party 2010
>Christmas Party 2011