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Making Dr No for less than $1 million


The first Bond sets
Ken Adam Artist
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When, six weeks later, the unit and everybody came, I had three large stages at Pinewood filled with sets, which nobody else had seen, not even a sketch, and I thought, either I’m going to get fired or maybe I’m going to be a hero.  And... Terence was the first to arrive and he adored what he saw, and then Cubby and Harry came in, and when they heard that Terence loved it they also, reluctantly, said, ‘Well, it looks pretty good’, but they all thought, he’s going to ask for more money next time, you see! But…  so I had won, and then everybody came up with ideas, you know, I had for this underground apartment, which was nearly completed, but ... somebody said, well, we should have some famous stolen item.  And so, Joanna Woodward, or somebody, a writer, came up with the Goya, you know, of the Duke of Wellington.  And remember, we had to shoot after the weekend, so I rang up the National Gallery and they gave me, thank God, a slide of the Duke of Wellington portrait, which I projected and then painted, and... it wasn’t perfect, but you got away with it. 

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: Goya, Duke of Wellington, National Gallery, Pinewood Studios, Terrence Young, Cubby Broccoli, Harry Saltzman

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011