On the set of the Jason King episode, ‘To Russia With… Panache’
This is a snapshot of what a typical day was like for PETER whilst he was working on the Jason King series.
Thursday, June 3rd, 1971 – Six days into shoot
PETER running through his lines on the set of Jason King
5.30am: PETER is woken by the sound of his alarm clock. He gets out of bed and takes a shower. He has breakfast, consisting of porridge and tea.
6.15am: He leaves his home in West London with his Afghan Hound, Youssef, to make the 13-odd mile journey by car to EMI-MGM Elstree Studios on Clarendon Road, Borhamwood.
7.30am: After first popping into his private dressing room (No. 515), PETER makes his way over to the make-up department, where Pamela Salem, who plays Alexandra in the episode, is already in the chair.
7.45am: Director, Paul Dickson, is supervising the preparation of the set on Sound Stage No.9. He calls for the five Stand-In’s who’re needed to set up the first scene of the day, which is the completion of a sequence started on the previous day (inside the Kremlin Committee Room). An actor by the name of Andrew Dempsey fills in for PETER, who is still in make-up.
8.30am: PETER, John Malcolm, Michael Poole, Stefan Gryff, Tutte Lemkow and Pamela Salem all arrive on the sound stage, following Mr Dickson’s Unit Call. The very first sequence involves John Malcolm in the role of Colonel Kolkow, plus six extras dressed as Russian guards.
9.30am: PETER makes a beeline across the studio floor for his regular morning cup of “Rosie Lee”, as the tea lady and her trolley appears on set.
9.45am: Stunt Coordinator, John Sullivan, arrives to rehearse a fight sequence involving PETER and Michael Poole. Two fight doubles – Paul Weston for PETER and Bill Cornelius for Poole, are introduced to the actors. A nurse is on hand both during rehearsals and the shoot in case an injury should befall any of the four men.
PETER with his beloved Afghan Hound, Youssef in his dressing room at Elstree Studios
10.00am: A member of the Props Department arrives with a number of items for the set, including a briefcase, papers, handguns and blanks, mats, mattresses, breakaway furniture, handcuffs and a telephone. PETER, Michael Poole and their stunt-doubles run through the scene once more before the Director calls for quiet on the set.
12.45pm: The Unit breaks for lunch. PETER slips out of his suit and into more casual attire – which usually includes an old woollen jumper and either shorts or tracksuit bottoms. He takes Youssef for a run within the Elstree grounds. Once back in his dressing room, he picks out an album from his vinyl collection and places it on the turntable of his record player.
PETER uses the remainder of his lunch break to answer some mail, so he has the studio restaurant send his meal up to his dressing room on a tray. This includes sandwiches and a can of Coco-Cola.
A fax arrives for him from ATV regarding interview requests from Hazel Slater of Woman’s Own magazine, and from Margaret Pride of Reveille for the following Saturday – June 5th.
2pm: The first scene of the afternoon involves PETER, Michael Poole and Milton Reed. PETER is required to wear a frogman’s suit, and props including a large packing case and a carrier full of gold-plated jewellery.
3.15pm: The Director calls a halt to filming whilst the 1st Unit view the mornings ‘Rushes’ at Preview Theatre No.3. Meanwhile, the 2nd Unit move onto sound stage No.8 to add additional scenes involving Jason’s Bentley.
3.30pm: An Inter-Departmental Communication is issued by Production Supervisor, R.C. Liles to Jeremy Summers, Cyril Frankel, Billy Herlthy and Gino Marotta, requesting that no one from the Studio contact PETER “For any reason” on the following day, when he’s not scheduled to work on the series.
4.00pm: The final scene of the day involves PETER, John Malcolm, Michael Poole, Pamela Salem, Elizabeth Counsell, and fight-doubles Bill Cornelius and Paul Weston. Two guns and a pair of handcuffs are requested from the Props Department.
A candid shot of PETER relaxing in his dressing room during a break in filming
5.30pm: At the end of a gruelling day at the studio, PETER has recorded a grand total of 11 minutes and 30 seconds of screen time!
6.00pm: PETER leaves the studio for home with Youssef – looking forward to a well-earned weekend off.
The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/