Flesh And Blood – A History Of Hammer – Just For Laughs – tape 1798

First on this tape, from BBC1, and coinciding with the death of Peter Cushing, Flesh and Blood: A History of Hammer looks at the studio that brought us very British versions of the classic monster movies, and made stars of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

I love these old documentaries, when they use old footage of London. Here’s Piccadilly Circus, showing where Wardour Street is.

Piccadilly Circus

It’s narrated jointly by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, rather stiltedly, I have to say. Lee in particular sounds like he’s reading in a foreign language. Perhaps it was a very rushed recording.

There’s a lot of interview material from prominent players in the Hammer story. Here’s producer Val Guest, who I have always mixed up with Val Lewton, but who made The Quatermass Experiment for Hammer.

Val Guest

Producer Michael Carreras

Michael Carreras

Composer James Bernard

James Bernard

Writer Anthony Hinds

Anthony Hinds

The great cinematographer Freddie Francis

Freddie Francis

Writer Jimmy Sangster

Jimmy Sangster

Christopher Lee himself

Christopher Lee

Director Roy Ward Baker

Roy Ward Baker

Actress Hazel Court

Hazel Court

Actress Caorline Munro, much beloved of readers of early Starburst magazine.

Caroline Munro

Joe Dante is one of the executive producers on this documentary, and appears as a film historian.

Joe Dante

Actress Martine Beswick (credited here as Martine Beswicke as she seems to be in several of her films. She was even ‘Martin Beswick’ in From Russia With Love)

Martine Beswick

Actress Veronica Carlson

Veronica Carlson

Here’s actor Christopher Neame, last seen (here) in Babylon 5.

Christopher Neame

Actress Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch

The incomparable Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen

BBC Genome: BBC One – 14th August 1994 – 00:15

After the programme, there’s a very short montage of Peter Cushing scenes, scored with John Williams’ music from Schindler’s List, as a tribute. For some reason, the final shot, Cushing as Doctor Who, made me tear up a bit.

RIP Peter Cushing

After this, recording switches to Channel 4 for Just For Laughs. Clearly, UK TV was at Peak Evans, as the host of the show is that well known regular on the stand-up scene, Chris Evans.

Chris Evans

He basically does his usual audience stuff that he did for Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. I climbs over the audience to kiss women in the audience, then does a bit at the expense of a bald mamber of the audience.

Acts on the show include Harland Williams

Harland Williams

Bobcat Goldthwaite

Bobcat Goldthwaite

Torian Hughes

Torian Hughes

There’s a french act, The Video Clowns

The Video Clowns

Not quite as bad as they sound (or look).

From the UK, Nick Revell.

Nick Revell

Tommy Davidson

Tommy Davidson

Ending with the wonderful Emo Phillips.

Emo Phillips

After this, recording continues for a time, with the start of The Hunger. Then this recording stops, and underneath there’s the end of a Peter Cushing Hound of the Baskervilles. Then there’s a trailer for A Fatal Inversion.

After the weather and a note about the Proms concert tomorrow, Andy Taylor wishes us all a good night as BBC1 closes down with the national anthem.

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2 comments

  1. I believe the recording session for the Hammer doc was one of the last times, if not THE last time, that Cushing and Lee saw each other, which makes it extra poignant. There’s a sad photo of them making each other laugh (which they loved to do – especially over Loony Tunes cartoons), and Cushing looks desperately frail.

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