40th Anniversary of the original film of Swallows and Amazons (1974)

Guest sepaker Sophie Neville seen here on the film poster of 'Swallows and Amazons'

The 40th Anniversary of the filming of the original film ‘Swallows and Amazons'(1974). This was marked by a number of events:

Dulwich Film  screened ‘Swallows & Amazons’ (1974), produced by Richard Pilbrow and directed by Claude Whatham. The film was introduced by Sophie Neville, Suzanna Hamilton and Sten Grendon who played the Swallows. They answered questions about how it was made after the screening at the Michael Croft Theatre

Sophie Neville as Titty in 'Swallows & Amazons' (1974)

Michael Croft founded the National Youth Theatre.  One of his students was Simon Ward, who went on to star as James Herriot in the film version of ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, which Claude Whatham directed in 1974 after finishing  ‘Swallows & Amazons’.  Sophie Neville was invited to watch the filming in Yorkshire, meeting Anthony Hopkins and members of the cast and crew who had worked on Swallows & Amazons in 1973. Brenda Bruce played Mrs Harbottle and Wilfred Josephs composed the music, Terry Needham was the Location Manager and Ronnie Cogan the Hairdresser.

Sophie Neville with Ronnie Cogan in 1974

‘I didn’t meet James Herriot until I worked in production at the BBC on Russell Harty in 1982. He was charming – an incredibly confident man. I don’t remember his wife being interviewed but she came with him to the studio and struck me as being terribly nice. She wore a proper dress, which is more than could be said for anyone else in the Green Room.’

A year later Sophie Neville appeared with Simon Ward’s daughter Sophie Ward in the adventure movie ‘The Copter Kids’ when they played sisters. Simon brought the family to watch the filming on location near Gerrards Cross. In September there will be a special tribute to Simon Ward at the Michael Croft Theatre when they will be screening ‘Young Winston’.

Swallows and Amazons flags Sophie Neville gave a 40th anniversary talk on ‘Filming Swallows & Amazons in 1973′ for members of The Arthur Ransome Society gathering for their AGM at Brockenhurst College in the New Forest.  ‘Swallow’ the dinghy from the 1974 film, was moored at Buckler’s Hard on the Beaulieu River for members to sail.

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Arthur Ransome’s cutter the Nancy Blackett 

Arthur Ransome’s boat The Nancy Blackett ~ The Goblin in Arthur Ransome’s book ‘We didn’t Mean to Go to Sea’ was also the Solent for this event and for the Old Gaffers Yogaff regatta at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Meanwhile in the Lake District there were two wonderful events:

29th May-2nd June 1913~ Coniston Regatta based at Bank Ground Farm.

30th May 2013  ~ An outdoor screening of the movie Swallows & Amazons at Holly Howe (Bank Ground Farm) on the shores of Coniston Water,  with Captain Flint’s Houseboat, SY Gondola, in attendance.

Bank Ground FArm above Coniston Water in Cumbria

To read the filmography posts about the 1974 film please go to ~ https://sophieneville.net/category/autobiography/

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