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Reality vs CGI


The value of valium and a great team
Ken Adam Artist
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I was incredibly fortunate to have probably the best team of people working with me and… but they got worried too, obviously, you know. And I don't know if I told you that story, but on You Only Live Twice this... this crater lake opened on rails, you know, and the first time we tried it – the whole construction crew, myself, various other people, stood down below, I mean, this was 120ft up – and suddenly there was an explosion, or it sounded like an explosion, and we thought the whole set was going to implode or collapse, and my construction manager who never, never was worried, I mean, you know, Ronnie Udell, he immediately sent somebody up there to see what had happened.

First of all we were all waiting if there was another explosion, you see, and what we found is that one of the riggers had left a pulley in the steel rails in which the... this artificial lake was sliding, and the wheels of the... lake structure went over that pulley about that size, and it sounded like a... a terrifying explosion, but fortunately nothing happened, so you do need valium, you know. And you know, it was very funny because Cubby [Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli] said… I remember Cubby saying that, ‘Every time Ken puts pencil to paper, I have a heart attack’, you know. But those Bond sets really worked very well, you know, and I had probably the best team of collaborators I ever had in my life.

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: You Only Live Twice, Ronnie Udell, Albert Broccoli

Duration: 2 minutes, 52 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 11 November 2011