Pinewood’s big birthday
...The home of Carry On hits 80.
PINEWOOD Studios is celebrating its 80th anniversary, having opened for business on September 30, 1936.
The studios, based in Iver, has been responsible for some of the biggest movies ever, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Aliens, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Superman and the Da Vinci Code.
It is perhaps best known, however, for its mega-franchises James Bond, Carry On and Harry Potter.
Based at a Victorian mansion called Heat-herden Hall the site was owned by Col. Grant Morden who was MP for Brentford and Chiswick at the time. It was the site for the negotiation and signing of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland in 1921, better known as the Anglo-Irish Treaty. This is the treaty that declared Ireland to be a Free State. The studio also had a huge role to play in The Second World War. As well as being requisitioned for use by the Crown Film Unit, the Army Film and Photographic Unit, RAF Film Unit, the Polish Air Force Film Unit for the making of propaganda and news films, Lloyd’s of London and The Royal Mint used the studio’s stages as their offices.
The modern studio complex is now made up of 20 stages, with the biggest and most famous being the 59,000 sq ft, 007 Stage. Originally built for The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
The 007 Stage burnt to the ground in 1984 and reopened in January 1985 with the new name, “Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage”, in time for filming of A View to a Kill.
Another fire occurred in July 2006 just after production ended on the Bond film Casino Royale. The fire-damaged stage was demolished in September and construction on the new stage was completed in under six months.
Pinewood also has an underwater stage – the only one of it’s king in Europe. It measures an incredible 240 x 60 ft and is always filled and maintained. It has featured in movies like The Da Vinci Code and Basic Instinct 2.
The studio is notoriously secretive about what is being filmed there at the time and its nearly impossible for a
member of the public to get inside the studios. In fact during filming of Star Wars Episode VIII the studios were debating shooting down spy drones that desperate fans were sending in to capture scenes from the upcoming film.
There is a long standing conspiracy theory that the 1969 moon landings were fake, with many suggesting that the footage was shot at Pinewood by the late great Stanley Kubrick.
Most recently a deal has been brokered for the multi-million pound sale of the company that owns Pinewood Studios.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has gave the go-ahead for a deal which would see London based asset management business Aermont Capital LLP acquire the Iver Heath based studios for £323
Classics: Sean Connery poses with the Bond Girls of Goldfinger. Below, Roger Moore and Tony Curtis fight on the set of The Persuaders!
On the road: The skeleton from One of our Dinosaurs is Missing being transported from Pinewood. Below, the studio in 1970
Stars: Sean Connery and Honor Blackman on the set of Goldfinger
Toot sweets: Dick Van Dyke and Peter Ustinov filming Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The beginning: : The great and the good gather for the opening of Pinewood Studios on September 30, 1936.
On set: Filming of The Spy Who Loved Me
Team: The stars of the Carry On films
PICTURES: KEYSTONE/HULTON ARCHIVE / GETTY IMAGES/ MIRROR PIX/ FOX PHOTOS
Golden moment: Shirley Eaton during her iconic scene in Goldfinger. Inset above, Michael Caine as cockney spy Harry Palmer came face to face with the Brain at Pinewood in 1967. Inset top, Bond stars at the opening of the rebuilt 007 stage in 1985
Celebration: Charlie Chaplin celebrates his 77th birthday on set at Pinewood where he is making a new film Countess from Hong Kong in April 1966
Action: J Arthur Rank chats with Bert Easy, the head of the Pinewood Studios Camera Department in 1946. Below, Workers lay down soundproofing material during construction in 1936
On the run: Charles Hawtrey during the filming of Carry on Teacher in 1959. Left, Audrey Hepburn with husband Mel Ferrer at Pinewood in 1955