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Sharks:'The biggest faux pas I made'

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Thunderball: working under water
Ken Adam Artist
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Thunderball was a... a new experience for all of us, because we had to work underwater, and so the whole art department was learning to swim with bottles, and so on. But we also used the Ivan Tors' people, who were working in Miami, doing a... a Flipper series, which was very popular, and they were underwater experts, but we had several near disasters. The... the first one was that I had, from the air, found this incredible villa with two pools, a seawater pool and a freshwater pool. And I rang up the sea aquarium in Miami and said if we could get some actual sharks to drop into the seawater pool, and in one night they fished about 15 sharks, and they were, you know, some 10ft, and big bloody sharks, you know dropped into the pool. Then I remembered that the owners of the villa, and I shalln't mention their name, were fond of having maybe too many drinks at night time, so I had to provide a guard overnight in case somebody would drop into the shark pool, which was pretty awful because the smell already was... was terrible. But, you know, those Ivan Tors' people used to swim them around the pool to keep them alive, and we had to put... feed oxygen, and so on.

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: Thunderball, Flipper, Miami, Ivan Tors

Duration: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2010 and January 2011

Date story went live: 14 October 2011