Photos by Willoughby Gullachsen, no reproduction without permission.
‘Olly’s Prison’ was a three part drama series produced at Pebble Mill by Richard Langridge. The script was written by Edward Bond, and directed by Roy Battersby. It was transmitted in 1993, and was probably the last studio only drama to be recorded in Studio A at Pebble Mill. Dave Bushell was the lighting director, and Bob Jacobs the 1st A.D. and Ian Barber the AFM. Dave Bushell remembers it being a satisfying drama to work on, although not a bundle of laughs.
Mike Eastman remembers working on the series: “I had a small acting role in this production playing a prisoner, my filming days were just prior to Christmas 1991. It was the first time I had worked with Bob Jacobs as ‘first’, but went on to do lots more work with him later on.”
The BFI database http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/489433 includes this precis of the storyline:
Part 1: Tells the tragic story of Mike who sees his life crumble as his grip on reality becomes ever more tenuous. He shares a claustrophobic flat with his 16-year-old daughter, Sheila. Sheila is uncommunicative, like many teenagers, and Mike becomes increasingly frustrated by her silence. He resorts to violence.
Part 2: Bernard is serving a life sentence for the murder of his daughter. He attempts suicide but fails. His fellow prisoner Smiler uses his makeshift noose to hang himself.
(No precis of Part 3 is included)
‘Olly’s Prison’ featured Bernard Hill as Mike, Jonny Lee Miller as Smiler, Mary Jo Randle as Vera, George Anton as Frank, Bryan Pringle as Barry, Richard Graham as Olly, and Maggie Steed as Ellen.
Mike Bloore was the Editor and I was the Assistant Editor and Dubbing Editor. Working alongside Mike and so closely with Roy Battersby and Edward Bond was certainly an experience I will never forget for numerous reasons, not least the ‘get out of jail’ edit to the empty chair! One point of interest, Edward Bond explained to me and Mike where the name ‘Olly’ came from … can anyone guess?
There was also the small matter of undertaking one of the first non-linear tracklays on ‘Olly’s Prison’ using the dreaded Augan software and kit, which if I remember correctly was tech supported by a Dutch bloke called ‘Hans’ in Amsterdam! Paul Vanezis tracklayed ‘Under Milk Wood’ around the same time using the augan and it was an interesting experience to say the least! I remember one eventful Sunday when we popped out with V.T for a lunchtime pint only to return and find the Augan had, to put it politely, re-layed all my dialogue and FX tracks etc randomly throughout the film whilst it backed itself up! I don’t think it lasted much longer after that … nice pint though, I seem to remember.
Thanks for that Mark – you’ll have to tell us where the ‘Olly’ came from!
I was the 2nd AFM on Olly’s Prision and loved it, but as Dave Bushell says, not a load of laughs! Seem to remember introducing some of the actors to some of the Indian Restaurants around B-ham – driving them around in my old Allegro!! Really nice crowd to work with.
Think I have an on-set photo somewhere of Ian Barber strangling me while we were sitting in looking at shots!