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Thread Topic: filming
Topic Originator: Mike Laughton
Post Date March 20, 2012 @ 7:07 AM
 RE: filming
 filming/fake or "right"?
 filming/Secret Army

Mike Laughton
March 20, 2012 @ 7:07 AM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Film-makers began taking notice of this part of the world after the Nene Valley Steam Railway opened in the late 1970s. The railway was used for several major films and TV movies including the James Bond film Octopussy and The Dirty Dozen's Next Mission.
But the first major filming to take part in Stamford was in 1984 when the Paramount/CBS mini-series "Space" was filmed in the town.
The mini-series told the story of the space race from World War II to 1969 when man landed on the moon.
Stamford featured in just the first episode set in 1945 when the Americans  rescued the German rocket scientists like Werner Von Braun from under the noses of the Russians.
Stamford doubled for the towns of Wittenburg and Peenedmunde in Germany and the whole of St George's Square was turned into a bombed ruin.
Scores (even hundreds) of Stamford people took part in the filming playing German Soldiers, fleeing refugees and concentration camp inmates working on the railway at Nene Valley tunnel. I played a US officer in one scene and Himmler's aide in another.
Stars involved in filming in Stamford included Michael York, Bruce Dern, Shane Rimmer and Michael Sheard. The episode was directed by Joe Sargent who's had a big hit with the Walter Matthau/Robert Shaw film "The Taking of Pelham 321".
As well as St George's Square, filming took place in The Town Hall, Wansford Bridge, Harlaxton Hall near Grantham and various location at Nene Valley Railway.
The mini-series was not a big hit. It was shown on British TV just once - late at night - and is not available on video. It was a six-part series but Stamford only featured in the first episode set in Germany at the end of World War II.
Even during filming some Stamfordians regarded the whole thing as a bit of a joke - trying to pass Stamford off as Wittenburg.
Later the town was more suitably used for the period pieces "Middlemarch" and "Pride and Prejudice" but Stamford as a major location for filming all began with "Space".
I wonder if anyone has any photos of the 1984 filming of "Space."

John Tyers
March 20, 2012 @ 5:45 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Seem to recall in 1981 scenes for the Hollywood epic "Reds" were filmed in Burghley Park with local personalities as extras.  The film chronicled the life of the revolutionary Communist John Reed and was directed by and starred Warren Beatty.  Reed had the dubious distinction of being the only American to be eventually buried in the Kremlin.  There were scenes for a "horsey" film also filmed in the park; the name of the film I forget now but a friend of mine played an extra in a crowd scene ostensibly at a racecourse.  He and others were positioned between plywood dummies of spectators and on the order being given were obliged to wave and move about animatedly!

Clem Walden
March 21, 2012 @ 7:55 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Hi Mike, great posting most interesting Stamford has become very popular over the last 30/40 years. And that can only be good for all. Those films you mention have without doubt resulted in the considerable increase to Stamfords tourist which continues to grow. The film National Velvet i believe was also filmed at Burghley 1978.
One wonders what the next film will be, using Stamford as a location? Perhaps a film about the Danish settlement in the 8th century? or Stamford in 12/13 century? Be nice have a film about Stamford itself  on the big screen. However whatever the film makers in the future decide to film using Stamford can only benefit the Town as a whole.

Mike Laughton
March 28, 2012 @ 4:33 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Yes, I hadn't forgotten about REDS or INTERNATIONAL VELVET.
Warren Beatty also filmed Word War I sequences for REDS near the Bythams and Burghley Park had often been used for filming various films and TV Shows.
And, of course, Brian Forbes filmed lots of Horse Trials sequences at Burghley for INTERNATIONAL VELVET which was about an eventing horse.
A couple of scenes for ANOTHER COUNTRY (1983) were also filmed in the Barn Hill area of the town.
But SPACE was the first time Stamford itself had been used as a film-making location on such a big scale and MIDDLEMARCH used even more  of the town.
Incidentally at the time the book was written Middlemarch was based on early 19th century Coventry. George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) came from nearby Nuneaton.

Ray Tyers
April 2, 2012 @ 9:03 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Just an aside to Middlemarch, some of the props,  particularly the signage  that fronted the  properties in St georges square were dispersed by Auction thorugh St georges auction rooms, As the auctioneer at the time I authenticated them by signing and dating the back so should you ever be  offered or tempted to purchase such artefact check the reverse.

Dan Entwisle
April 4, 2012 @ 2:27 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Wasn't the BBC drama "Secret Army" filmed round Stamford and the Nene Valley Railway in the 1970s?