Monthly Archives: December 2015

King Arthur on location – behind the scenes in film and TV cont…

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'6

It could only happen to them. My parents decided to take a holiday looking at castles in Northumberland and came across this scene:

Filming 'King Arthur and the paceship'

They ended up appearing in a Walt Disney movie called Unidentified Flying Oddball.  Here is the evidence:

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'1

The film’s original title had been The Spaceship and King Arthur, billed as a family adventure. It was an adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and was shot at Alnwick Castle, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland where the Harry Potter films were later made.

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'2

It was released on an unsuspecting public in 1979, but was shot in the summer of 1978. I’m not sure how advanced Visual Effects were at the time but there were no Computer Generated Images. It looks to me as if this little airbourne stunt was for real.

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'3

Life before the advent of CGI

Absolutely terrifying. While Kenneth Moore played King Arthur, Dad’s distant cousin John le Mesurier was Sir Gawain. Ron Moody played Merlin and Jim Dale starred as Sir Mordred with Dennis Dugan who played Tom Trimble. Rodney Bewes, who we knew as one of the Likely Lads had the role of Clarence. My father was hired for five days as a weapon bearer. This was simply so Mum had license to watch the filming.

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'4

Dennis Dugan on location in Northumberland

Pat Roach,  6’5″ tall British actor, later in all three Indiana Jones films, was Oaf. Mum hadn’t seen Jim Dale with permed hair before. She was used the lovable innocent he tended to play in Carry On films, but there he was looking fashionable on location in Northumberland, in the Duchess’s garden at that.

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'5

Jim Dale at Alnwick Castle

Jim Dale is known for the Harry Potter audiobooks in the USA, winning several high-profile awards for them, and for narrating the Harry Potter video games such as the Hogwart’s Challenge and Wizarding World. I wonder if they transported him back to Alnwick Castle?

Filming 'King Arthur and the Spaceship'

 

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DVD and Blu-ray of ‘Swallows & Amazons’ available in French

The Swallows discover Niagara

If you know anyone who loves the original film of Swallows and Amazons, and is now learning French, why not buy a copy of the DVD that has been dubbed into the French language:

Sophie Neville as Titty and Simon West as Captain John

Sophie Neville as Miki & Simon West as Jean

French version of the DVD

StudioCanal have brought out a fabulous remastered Blu-ray and DVD with an extras package in both English and French.

Hirondelles et Amazones

If you live in France you can order a Kindle copy of ‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ – which is full of behind-the-scenes photos and links to home-movie footage taken on location, although the text is in English. The paperback makes a good present for students of Media Studies, Drama or Film:

9780718894962_cover Amazons.indd

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For other present ideas please click here

Swallows & Amazons film billing

The website All Things Ransome have links for of the Arthur Ransome’s book in French here with a useful list providing translations of names here.

The translation of the telegram BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN is Préfère les savoir noyés que stupides. Si pas stupides pas noyés.

Hirondelles et Amazones - the book in French

You too can find the locations and sail Swallow:

If you would like to stay at Holly Howe ~ contact Jonathan Batty at Bank Ground Farm

To stay at Arthur Ransome’s house in the Lake District ~ contact Stephen Sykes at Hill Top

Swallows & Amazons tours of the Lake District ~ including a trip on the steam train, led by Peter Walker of Mountain Goat in Windermere can be booked for groups by request.  A must for overseas visitors.  To read about this do go to: ‘In Search of our old Film Locations’. For booking details please click here.

Swallow, the dinghy used in the film, is currently in East Anglia. For opportunities to sail her yourself please click here

Grab-a-chance to sail at the Glenridding Sailing Centre on Ullswater who run Swallows & Amazons Days in summer time.

To go out in the boat used as Captain Flint’s houseboat ~ the Lady Derwentwater, contact the Keswick Launch Company.

Information on visiting Peel Island can be found here

For a cruise on the Coniston Launch, click here

If you are thinking of visiting the Lake District the website VisitCumbria.com has a ‘Swallows and Amazons’ page with activities listed.

StudioCanal graphics

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Filed under Acting, adventure, Arthur Ransome, boating, British Film, Cinema, Claude Whatham, Cumbria, David Wood, Dinghy sailing, e-publication, Emi film, family Entertainment, Family Film, Film, Film Cast, Film production, Filmaking, filmography, Kindle, Lake District, Movie, Movie stories, questions about filmmaking, Richard Pilbrow, sailing film, Sophie Neville, Swallows & Amazons, Swallows and Amazons, titty, truelife story, Uncategorized, Vintage Film

Ideas for Swallows & Amazons Christmas Presents

book-page-brooch of swallow

Isn’t this brooch lovely?

It has been handmade out of recycled materials with pages from old books and can be purchased direct from House of Ismay

wooden_postcard_swallows_and_amazons_large

A small brown paper package tied up with string arrived in the post today, stamped in red with the words Thank you and containing four wooden postcards featuring Arthur Ransome’s illustrations. I think it makes a wonderful stocking-filler or thank you gift from The Wooden Postcard Company 

CDs of Swallows and Amazons

I was also asked about CDs of Arthur Ransome’s books today; a great present for families as they can be listened to on long car journeys. Click here for the series read by Gabriel Woolf.

The Nancy Blackett by Claudia Myatt

The Nancy Blacket Trust shop has a range of books and useful things including a set of mugs by the marine artist Claudia Myatt, along with tea towels ideal for any sailor.

Nancy Blackett product

Proceeds go to the upkeep of Arthur Ransome’s well-loved yacht portrayed in his books as the Goblin. Orders for the USA and Canada need to reach them by Friday 11th Dec.

Sophie Neville with Titmouse in Norfolk

Sophie Neville on a TARS weekend in Norfolk – photo Diana Dicker

Alternatively you could give someone a year’s membership of The Nancy Blackett Trust or The Arthur Ransome Society or a subscription to a magazine such as Classic Sailor

Swallows and Amazons

Mugs featuring Swallow in Secret Harbour from ‘Swallows and Amazons’

StudioCanal stock mugs with photos from the film, along with jigsaw puzzles and prints. You can even order a mousemat:

Film poster

And, as Joanna Lumley says, books always made a wonderful present.

9780718894962_cover Amazons.indd

I have been signing copies of ‘The Making of Swallows & Amazons’ and other books at charity events. It can be ordered from local bookshops, Waterstones or purchased online.

Red Cross invitation

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Filed under Arthur Ransome, British Film, Sophie Neville, Swallows and Amazons, titty, Uncategorized