One last post for the James Bond fans… And a big thank you to Andrew Howard
Well here I am, finally. Sorry it’s been such a long gap between posts. There have been problems uploading photos to my blog, which considering it’s a photo blog, is a fairly big (and very frustrating) deal. Anyway, here I am, with a final update on the Skyfall set at Hankley. The sets have all been cleared away now, and a few of you have told me you’d like to see how everything looks now. I’ve taken some pictures and I’ll put them up here with some older pictures as a comparison of before/during and after shots. Most of the ‘before’ shots you’ll have seen before, but for this post I’ve selected photos that were taken from the same perspective as the ‘after’ shots so that you see the scene from roughly the same angle.
First of all I want to say a HUGE thank you to Andrew Howard at Yorkshire Pet Portraits. Andrew is a Bond fan and talented artist, and was following my blog for the Skyfall photos. When it all went pear shaped with EON and I was in a bit of a state after almost getting arrested by the Military Police, Andrew contacted me and made the incredibly kind offer to cheer me up by drawing a portrait of my cocker spaniel, Bella. This is the stunning result…
We are absolutely thrilled with it. Andrew has really captured the essence of her; it’s pure distilled cockerness! The image has a luminosity to it that really makes her jump off the paper at you. We weren’t the only ones to think it’s incredibly life-like; Bella had a rather extreme reaction when she noticed her portrait. Now I know she’s not the brightest of dogs, but you’d think she’d have realised that this scary imposter cocker who’d sneaked into her living room wasn’t actually moving…
So the filming of Skyfall has long since moved on to more exotic climes, taking the sunshine away from Surrey with them, I think. The clear up operation took a couple of weeks, and walking across Hankley common now it’s hard to believe that only a month or so ago it was packed with people, vehicles, cameras, helicopters and all the fuss and buzz that go with film-making. The only signs left that it was ever there are the rutted tracks, the bare ground where the structures were, and a bit of litter. I expect the heath will regenerate quite rapidly in those patches, as will the heather turves that they cut to decorate the lodge and change the course of the ‘driveway’ down from the gate posts to the lodge. Apparently there are going to be some trees planted, paid for by the production company. I’m not sure what kind of trees would be appropriate, since Hankley is already partially covered in conifer plantation (not great for biodiversity) and the rest is heathland, which requires regular clearing of the pioneer trees silver birch and pine to prevent the heathland reverting to scrub and eventually woodland.
Here are some pictures of how things were and are.
Now it’s just back to the army huts it all looks rather lonely.
Now the next photograph might not look very special, but after the filming had finished and they started to dismantle the lodge, we discovered something rather exciting. Near the lodge (you can see its orientation to the lodge in the second picture) was a structure that had been kept very well hidden during filming. I’ve examined photos I took during the filming period and it definitely wasn’t visible then.
I took photos of it but I don’t think EON would be very pleased if I published them here. So you’ll have to be content with a little clue in the form of this neatly levelled patch of soil. Can you guess what it was?
Edited 02.11.12 to add: If you want to see what was on the mystery patch above, click here.
Trawling through all my photos of the set for this post has made me think again about the whole thing with EON. It felt a bit ridiculous that I couldn’t post images on here that were on other blogs and flickr streams, and that anyone could go and see at Hankley. It still does feel a bit ridiculous, so I’m going to include here some photos I took but didn’t put up at the time. They’re all old news now anyway, so I can’t see that it’d be a problem. They might be of interest to some Bond fans though – other than the ones I emailed them to at the time.
The flames that ‘engulfed’ the lodge were actually like a giant gas cooker; the slatted pipes you can see below were laid around the lodge so that the gas escaping from them could produce the spectacular flames without actually burning the structure.
And here are a few nice shots from the past couple of weeks. Between the lashing rain and winds, there have been some lovely skies.