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What is production design?

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Winning Oscars: 'Barry Lyndon' and 'The Madness of King George'
Ken Adam Artist
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[Q] But you won an Oscar for it.

And I won an Oscar for it, yes. That was… yeah... and he was very pleased about the Oscar, and of course I was pleased, you know, even though I felt my God, you know, I nearly lost my life and… and the strange part is that the two Oscars I won were both for 18th century period pictures.

You know, the second one, The Madness of King George, I did more the way I think that Barry Lyndon could have been handled. I think the whole paycheque was $7 million, and we shot it in seven weeks, and it was partly at this… the Royal Apartments at Windsor, were built at Shepperton Studios.

I used a castle which belonged to… belongs to a friend of mine, Arundel, for Windsor  because we couldn't shoot at Windsor, and in location I used Wilton too, for the Double Cube Room, is the famous thing, and the Painted Hall at Greenwich, which is quite beautiful, which I knew from my early research days into ships, and the rest were… the... the whole apartment at Windsor was at Shepperton Studios.

Sir Kenneth Adam (1921-2016), OBE, born Klaus Hugo Adam, was a production designer famous for his set designs for the James Bond films of the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, he trained as an architect in London, but in October 1943, he became one of only two German-born fighter pilots to fly with the RAF in wartime. He joined 609 Squadron where he flew the Hawker Typhoon fighter bomber. After the war, he entered the film industry, initially as a draughtsman on This Was a Woman. His portfolio of work includes Barry Lyndon and The Madness of King George; he won an Oscar for both films. Having a close relationship with Stanley Kubrick, he also designed the set for the iconic war room in Dr Strangelove. Sir Ken Adam was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Academy Award, The Madness of King George, Barry Lyndon, Arundel Castle, Shepperton Studios, Windsor

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 11 November 2011