Saturday, 25 February 2017

Behind the scenes on the classic BBC TV drama series 'Tenko'

'Tenko', the BBC drama series is currently being shown on television in the UK. It was so popular that Andy Priestner of Classic TV Press published a book containing stories from behind-the-scenes. I provided him with photographs taken on location near Bournmouth in the early 1980's. He had already typeset the paperback, but these shots are included in the Kindle edition, which is available worldwide.

 We were there when the set was literally blown up. The re-creation of a real fire that had taken place in a WWII internement camp demanded a huge amount from costume and make-up departments.

Women emerged from the make-up rooms covered in wounds.

Preparation took some time but the effect was pitifully realistic.

It was a horrible event to reproduce.

The visual effects designer was also busy that day.

The results looked devestating, with both internees and the guards injured by the blast.

But morale on the day was high and everyone kept their spirits up.

 It was hot on set and dirty with the smell of smoke

but everyone on the crew pulled together.

The cast was of some size with notable actors taking part in the long-running series. This shot shows the wonderful actress Jean Anderson, who has sadly since passed away, with Daphne Neville and writer, Anne Varley.

My sister stopped at a fuel station as she was driving home. The attendant was terrified by her appearance. Although she seemed to be well and behaving normally, her face was covered in burns. She was still in full make-up, waiting to take it off in a proper bathroom.

You can find Andy Priestner's book 'Remembering Tenko' from Classic TV Press at online stores and to order from all good bookshops. These photographs are included in the Kindle edition, available in the USA here.

Further stories of our adventures appearing in film and television can be read in Funnily Enough

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Appearing in the BBC TV drama 'Tenko'

A few years ago, I was contacted by the publisher Andy Priestner, who was compiling the definative book on the making of 'Tenko', the classic BBC TV drama serial made in the early 1980s and gained incredibly high audience following - more than any television drama before or since. It is currently being broadcast on Freeview in the UK this Spring.

I was able to send him a whole series of photographs taken on set for the Kindle edition of his book. These included shots of the imfamous fire scene. The reason for this was that we appeared in the production as a family of girls.

Mum began her life on the set of 'Tenko' as one of Sister Ulrika's Dutch nuns.

She reckoned this was because she was too fat to pass as a civilian internee and was happy to be covered up in a habit. However, another year she appeared at the camp in a floral dress, seen here along with members of the crew in their distinctive 1980's demins.

The production needed a number of supporting artists for the exterior scenes including children. They rather enjoyed playing in the sand all day. The set was near the seaside town of Bournemouth on the south coast of England where, from a distance, the heath might look something like scrubland of the Far East.

We all ended up going along. For obvious reasons, filmming on location took place in the summer months and it was a great holiday job for students. We picked up quite a bit of experience of both what it was like to have been a civilian internee under the Japaneses during WWII and how scenes were put together for a BBC period drama. Days were long but there was great comaraderie on set and firm friendships were forged.

The whole series of 'Tenko' is currently being broadcast on Freeview Channel 20.

Andy Priestner's book 'Rembering Tenko: A Celebration of the Classic TV Drama Series' can be purchased online and at the all good bookshops. It is available worldwide on Kindle.

Further stories of our adventures appearing in film and television can be read in Funnily Enough