If you enjoyed watching ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) on television

The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons

If you would like to know how the movie of Swallows & Amazons (1974) was made and know where the real locations can be found, ‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons(1974)’ is currently available as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords for £2.99.  The paperback was launched to mark the 40th anniversary of the film’s release and is available online here.

Do you know where the Peak of Darien can be found? photo: Roger Wardale
Do you know where the Peak of Darien can be found?

The paperback, which is suitable for any age group, is based on the diary that I kept when I played the part of Titty Walker in 1973. It is illustrated with behind-the-scenes photographs and memorabilia such as one of the tickets to the Royal Gala premier in Shaftesbury Avenue held on 4th April 1974. You will also find out what the actors who played the Walker family ~ the Swallows ~ are doing now.

The joy of the ebook is that it includes a number of home-movie clips that my parents took of life behind the scenes that you can play wherever you have internet access.

Classi Boat magazine Books ~ Feb 2014
A review of the ebook in Classic Boat magazine ~ Feburary 2014

If you have any questions about making the film, please add them to the comments below, and I will get back to you.

Richard Kay's column in Daily Mail Friday Nov 22nd1
A review of ‘the Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ in Richard Kay’s column in the Daily Mail ~

There were rather over-excited headlines in the Times and Telegraph when the ebook was launched but they only spoke of the legendary drinking of Ronald Fraser. Please don’t worry – there is nothing X-rated about the book – it is just the price one pays for half a page in a daily newspaper, especially since it came out on a Saturday.

The Times Sat 23 Nov 20131

The ebook has been doing well in the Amazon charts and hit Number 1 in the category ‘Stage and Theatre’.

Lymington Times 4th Jan 2014

A preview of what the book holds in store can be watched here:

‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ – the book trailer

Very many thanks to all those who have left customer reviews on Amazon. It is always exciting to find out how the book has impacted others, especially those who love the Arthur Ransome books.

To read more reviews please click here

'The Making of Swallows and Amazons (1974) by Sophie Neville'
Different editions of ‘The Making of Swallows and Amazons (1974) by Sophie Neville’

Author: Sophie Neville

Writer and charity fundraiser

28 thoughts on “If you enjoyed watching ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974) on television”

  1. Loved watching the preview, it will become my most watched piece of film as it will always take me back to those great times spent it the Coniston area.. Peter Mingay

  2. Thanks for the trailer. I shall ask my daughter to help me get the e book. I then clicked on the u tube of the launch of Swallow. I have not seen Rob Boden for a few years so it was really great to see him on the film. He and Joyce are so generous with time and hospitality. One day I hope to return to the UK and see Swallow for myself. Thankyou so much for posting the trailer so that I am able to find the links. Pamela

    1. We are driving up to Cumbria for an Arthur Ransome weekend this coming Friday. I haven’t been since Rob invited me up to launch Swallow, so am very excited. What country are you writing from, Pamela?

      1. Hi Sophie,
        I am in Australia living in the outer NE suburbs of Melbourne. There is not a lot of sailing but we have wonderful areas to where we are able to walk in the bush. It is especially good in late winter to late spring when the wild flowers are out.
        Several other AusTars live in the outer east of Melbourne and have a very different type of flora – but beautiful to see too.
        Others do live near the coast and sail on “the bay”.

        1. How wonderful. I love wildflowers. Does AusTars have a website or Facebook page? I have a good friend emigrating to Melbourne this April who I think would enjoy TARS. She is a headmistress.

          1. Hello Sophie,
            The web address for TARS in Australia is Arthur-Ransome.org.au/.

            Your friend would be very welcome to join us. There are several retired teachers in our Victorian group. I wonder if she has any idea where she will be living. At the moment we seem to be eastern suburbs of Melbourne and country area of Victoria.

              1. Hello Sophie,
                I don’t think there are any members who are at that school – Methodist Ladies College known as MLC. It is in the eastern suburbs but not as far out as some active members. We have several retired teachers – both secondary and primary.
                I have been in contact with Jan who is acting coordinator. Our co-ordinator is Nancy whom you may have met at the literary weekend. Jan is taking over Nancy’s tasks as much as possible due to her mother’s illness. Please ask your friend to communicate with me for the time being. I will pass on anything I receive to Jan. At the moment Jan’s contact details are not on the web site.

              2. Thank you so much for your help, Pamela. I know my friend Diana Vernon is going to be really busy when she first arrives, but do let me know if you hear of anyone at MLC who is a TARS member as that would make it easier for her to link in. I find that many TARS members are teachers or academics. Do you have an email I can pass on to Diana? Many thanks again!

              3. Hello Sophie,
                I have remembered your request for an email address for your friend at MLC. I am a bit nervous about putting it onto an open website but here is my mobile 0429614936

                We do not have any members at MLC. I wonder where she lives. If she phones I someone may be able to pick her up and drive her to a gathering. The next one is our annual winter dinner this month.

                In July we have our “Dogs Home” weekend away at a members holidays house in Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula. Unfortunately I will not be with the group – although I will be enjoying myself with friend’s in South Australia


              4. Diana has found herself so busy as Head that she hasn’t had time to find anywhere to live yet, so she may need a while to settle in before she can have time for All Things S&A. You’ll have to get to know her by getting my other books in which she appears from time to time. All great fun. The Dog’s Home weekend sounds wonderful. I hope they have a great time and that you enjoy South Australia.

    1. Sorry – I’ve changed the caption. It was one you sent me! We are off to visit TARS North at Barton in Lancashire and Rydal Hall for Margaret’s AR weekend this Saturday. Sat 3rd May is a parade of traditional boats in Horning.I am sure they will all want your new book.

  3. Congratulations on the impending appearance of the print version! I’ll be ordering it within days of its listing on Amazon.uk!.
    It’s great that Swallows is rebroadcast on British TV from time to time. Does it usually appear on ITV or do other channels show it? Also: Are you notified by S&A afficionados each time it’s presented? I can’t see you scanning the television schedule every day! I imagine that each showing must attract a decent audience or it wouldn’t be broadcast quite as often!

    1. I might have to wait to release the paperback with the new DVD! S&A was shown on BBC once or twice but since the 1980s it has always been shown on ITV, Channel 4 or ITV3, without any warning or notification to us. The original trailer made for TV was rather good and foreshadowed the broadcasts but I now rely on fans sending me emails or tweets. Letters from viewers to the TV companies really help. Studiocanal who distribute the film are planning some special 40th anniversary screenings.The consultant there is called Candy Vincent-Smith, Studiocanal, 50 Marshall Street, London W1F 9BQ

      Do you have the ebook of ‘The Secrets of Filming S&A’?

      1. No, I’m afraid I’m a paper book person! I’ll just be patient and one day get a copy to sit beside my diverse set of S&A titles! Glad to hear that a 40th anniversary DVD will come out. Have you been contacted for “extras”? It would be a treat to hear you and some of the other actors provide a commentary track!

        1. Sorry, I am sure you’ve already told me you were waiting for a print copy. A commentary track! You’ll have to write in to StudioCanal and request one. What else would you like to see on the ‘extras’?

          1. Where does one begin!
            1) A commentary track with all the Swallows and any Amazons that can be contacted
            2) A retrospective “making of” that might have to draw heavily on you and your resources, Sophie!
            3) Any media coverage from that time (for the Box of Delights DVD they included Blue Peter footage – was there anything like this for S&A? Film stock of the premiere?)
            4) Still photos
            5) How about a featurette on the Lakes District locations as they are today. Or archival footage from Ransome’s time or the time of the filming?
            6) It would have to include a mini biography of Ransome himself, preferably a short documentary and not just text.
            7) They could rustle up the black and white TV version and include that, either in whole or in part.
            8) A reunion of the actors sharing memories, filmed on the island, with everyone drinking grog
            9) Don’t forget, a nice illustrated booklet with maybe a contemporary review or an essay by a film historian or actor reminiscences, etc.

            I’m sure that others could come up with more.
            If StudioCanal went with one or more of the above it would be quite something!
            I do think I’ll write to them and suggest it!

            1. Yes, do. Why not write to the Marketing Director. Their address is on their website. Here we go: Candy Vincent-Smith, StudioCanal,
              50 Marshall Street, London W1F 9BQ UNITED KINGDOM

              At the BBC we found letters from viewers hugely useful, and much appreciated.

            2. I have just remembered that ‘Animal Magic’ made an item profiling me and my green parrot soon after ‘Swallows & Amazons’ was released in 1974. The BBC might have it in their archives. Barry Norman reviewed it on Film ’74 and we were interviewed on BBC ‘Point’s West’ ~ ‘Nationwide’.

            3. Blue Peter were asked if they wanted to come and make an item on life behind-the-scenes of ‘Swallows & Amazons’ but they turned us down. The location was probably too far from London for them and the item might have been classed as advertising or promoting a movie – which of course was why they were invited along. Lesley Judd made an item about making the BBC sit com ‘Dad’s Army’ instead.

    1. Yes, we have paperbacks and hardbacks planned. the photos are only in black and white but it makes a nice chunky book, with interest for all ages of reader. I hope it will inspire others to search for the locations and join TARS. Are you coming to the IAGM?

    1. Have you managed to get an ebook version? I have links to the official Kindle site where you can download free kindle reading app with one click. You need a touch screen for the photos to expand but it is great to have.

  4. I think the book trailer is excellent. I am currently reading the e-book and, even though I’ve read the ‘book’ version (The Making of Swallows and Amazons) I still love this for the extra stories and the home movie footage.

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