I’ve had a few computer problems, which is why there have only been sporadic postings for the last two weeks. The hardware has been fixed, but I’m now going away on holiday. Plenty of stuff to report when I get back, in the first week of August!
I don’t know who watches Channel 4’s Big Brother these days – I certainly don’t, and nor do my two teenage children and their friends – but people who do might be intrigued to know that underneath the house is the water tank used in the 1955 film, The Dam Busters. Although various locations around the UK were used in the making of the film, much of it was actually shot on three huge sound stages built at Elstree Studios. One of these was presumably constructed around the tank (although Jonathan Falconer’s useful book, Filming the Dam Busters, is not specific about this). Other important landmarks in cinema history shot here include The Young Ones (Cliff Richard! Robert Morley!!?) and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (the one with Mr Creosote).
There are several of the prototype bouncing bombs used in the training for the Dams Raid displayed around the country, but the good news is that there is now one more, at thr Newark Air Museum. (Strictly, this is actually the one previously on display in York, so it doesn’t count as a ‘new’ one.)
It joins a growing list of Dambuster/Barnes Wallis related artifacts on display in Newark:
– A Lancaster fuselage section from a 9 Squadron aircraft W4964, which dropped a Barnes Wallis designed Tallboy bomb on the Tirpitz battleship;
– A memorial plaque loaned to the museum by Jan van den Driesschen, who tends Guy Gibson and Jim Warwick’s graves in Holland [Gibson was leader of the Dambusters Raid and Warwick was an Instructor from 1661 HCU at RAF Winthorpe and he was also Gibson’s navigator on the flight when they were killed]
– A propeller blade from Lancaster AJ-S flown by Pilot Officer Louis Burpee, which was shot down in Holland in wave 3 of the Dambusters Raid
If you are in the area it may be worth a visit!
… but, this time, some one did ask me to play! Even better, it was at a Prom Concert.
It’s pick up a plectrum time at the Proms as the wonderful Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain invite you to join in their performance in the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 18 August. They will be performing loads of favourites including, of course, The Dam Busters theme, and you yourself can play along (if you have a ukulele) in an audience participation rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. The whole thing will be live on Radio 3 if you aren’t able to get to the Albert Hall on the night.
You can see the Orchestra’s version of The Dam Busters here, in a Youtube video recorded at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. (It’s about 06.55 minutes in after Pinball Wizard and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.)
At last, Peter Jackson has spoken publicly about the delay in starting work on the long awaited Dambusters remake, and revealed that he himself is the cause of the delay. In an interview he told journalists about his various on-going projects:
He said Dambusters, announced in 2006, would be made but was “waiting for me”.
“I need to polish a draft of the script, and I’ve been too busy. Fortunately, there’s no ticking clock, but that has meant that it’s been held up. I’ll get my draft done soon, and will get it, ahem, off the ground.”
He is a busy man – in the same interview he mentions that he’s still finishing The Lovely Bones, beefing up some chase sequences in Tintin no. 1, setting up Tintin no. 2 and co-writing The Hobbit. As a commenter on the NZ Dominion Post article says, he deserves to be knighted for his contribution to New Zealand film industry. Arise Sir Peter!