This clapper board was for the last ever episode of All Creatures Great and Small, the Christmas Special, which Steve Saunderson lit and shot on S16mm film on the Panavision panaflex camera.
Actor, Robert Hardy, who played Siegfried (centre in the photo above) in All Creatures Great and Small’ died 3rd August 2017, he was 91. Hardy was born in Cheltenham in October 1925. He gained a BA from Oxford in English Literature, after being conscripted into the RAF during the war. He became an actor who could play a wide range of parts. Below is an excerpt from his obituary on the BBC website:
‘In 1978, Hardy took the part of the irascible but good-natured Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small, the long-running BBC series based on James Herriot’s best-selling books.
As the senior vet of the small Yorkshire Dales practice, Robert Hardy became one of the best-known faces on British television.
Full of animals, nostalgia and rural scenery, the show became a massive hit, attracting audiences of up to 20 million.
The original run ended in 1978 but the series was revived 10 years later after the BBC obtained permission to write new storylines, having exhausted the original James Herriot books.
But the new scripts failed to meet with Hardy’s approval and he rewrote large parts of his dialogue. “All they did was make Siegfried explode and be bad-tempered. I kept changing things.”‘
The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:
Keith Brook (Scouse): ‘What a bloody brilliant actor. Never forgot a line, could always find his light or see when he was shadowing someone, and could hit a mark in the middle of nowhere, every time. Occasionally, he’d even hold a line until the camera was ready! His rhythm and pacing were wonderful and repeatable. A true delight to work with.’
John Evans: ‘You suspect he was playing himself in All Creatures Great and Small.What a great part he played with such presence and humour.I always liked to watch him.’
Steve Weddle: ‘One of the greats of British acting, and a great advocate for Pebble Mill. He always approved of All Creatures being made at PM. He was one of us.’
Robin Sunderland: ‘You always knew when Robert was in a scene…. consummate professional!’
Andy Tylee: ‘ I recall him in Age of Kings playing prince hall opposite Sean Connery as hotspur. Also he was a leading authority on the English longbow.‘
This is the final excerpt from “All Memories Great & Small” – by Oliver Crocker
This time it is memories from Alex Christison (Film Sound):
‘The main problem on All Creatures was that we are talking about the days before multi-mic radio microphones were available – so you couldn’t just scatter personal mics around each actor and mix accordingly. We were also recording in mono audio, so I didn’t even have another track to play with like the dramas do these days with split track. Basically, I relied on my boom swinger to get my sound. We’d done away with the old sync lead by then, thank God, which meant I wasn’t joined up to the camera – the boom mic would be connected to my Nagra mixer and would be recorded separately to picture. The clapperboard really did concentrate the minds in those days because it was quite a costly process if you got it wrong.’
60 cast and crew have shared their memories for this new book, which is available to preorder now from Miwk – http://bit.ly/2d7p5ts
Excerpt from “All Memories Great & Small” by Oliver Crocker.
Memories from Maggie Thomas (Make-up Assistant, and later Make-up Designer):
‘Television was still in its infancy in comparison to what they can do today. We didn’t have mobile phones on location, they hadn’t been invented then, the AFM had walkie talkies, but they could only be used a short distance within the crew – we were totally on our own once we were out on location. It was too late to make any important changes once you left Pebble Mill, so you had to make sure you had everything you needed in your kit before you left for Yorkshire, because it was something like a four hour journey from Birmingham up to Darlington to the unit base, so you had to do a lot of preparation behind the scenes before you hit the road.’
60 cast and crew have shared their memories for this new book, which is available to order now from Miwk – http://bit.ly/2d7p5ts