Pinewood Studios – 007 Stage

The 007 Stage at Pinewood was built to house massive Liparus supertanker set for ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.

After a search across Europe, the producers failed to find a stage large enough to house the three submarines the scene required, so they decided to build a new stage and tank specifically for that film. Designed by the Academy Award-winning production designer Ken Adam, the stage enabled massive sets to be constructed under cover and away from prying eyes. For the earlier James Bond adventure ‘You Only Live Twice’ the scaffolding exterior of the set for Blofeld’s volcano base was an eyesore, and resulted in numerous complaints from nearby residents.

The construction cost $1.8million (in 1976).

Timeline

1976, December 5th – 007 Stage officially christened and opened with a dedication ceremony attended by then British Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson. The first 007 Stage measured 102m x 41m (334 ft x 136 ft) and was 12.5m (40 ft 6 ins) high, with maximum floor area of 4220 sq.m (45,424 sq ft.). The tank measured 91m x 22.5m x 2.7m deep (297 ft x 73 ft x 8 ft 10 ins).

1984, June 27th – Fire #1 (following production on Legend)

1985, January – a rebuilt (and re-christened) Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage is reopened. A View To A Kill was the first movie to shoot on the new stage.

2006, July 30- Fire #2 (during production on Casino Royale)

2006, July 31 – Pinewood management issues a statement saying the stage will be demolished and re-built as the fire damage was so extensive.

2006, September 13-14– The stage is demolished.

2006, September 18 – Construction on the new 007 Stage begins, and is completed within 6 months.

2007, April – Enlarged 007 Stage re-opens.
The new stage was redesigned and includes a number of new features including an increased working floor space area, enclosed stairwells to the gantry, a vehicle ramp into the tank, aircraft hangar style loading doors, increased electrical power and better insulation. The new stage is 374 feet (114 m) long, 158 feet (48 m) wide and 41 to 50 feet (15 m) high (114 x 48 x 12–15 m). The stage is the ‘biggest in Europe’ around 59,000 sq ft (5,500 sq.m).

Construction & Filming for Prince of Persia on the 007 Stage:

Fire!

The stage has been destroyed by fire twice.

On 27 June 1984 just after Ridley Scott’s ‘Legend’ had finished shooting, fire broke out (worsened by gasoline canisters on the set), completely destroying the sets and the stage structure. It was rebuilt by January 1985, just in time for shooting to commence on A View to a Kill. The stage was renamed the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage in honour of the James Bond producer’s contribution to Pinewood Studios and the British film industry as a whole.

In July 2006, just after ‘Casino Royale’ had finished shooting the Venice scenes, fire broke out again, this time allegedly caused by an oxyacetalyne torch being used to dismantle the structure supporting the Venice sets.

The newly reopened stage is now 59,000 sq feet in area.
Article at newsteelconstruction.com has some great photos of the construction

Largest in Europe?

PInewood Studios publicity claims this is the largest stage in Europe, but as this is a silent shooting stage (with no soundproofing), Cardington Shed 2 (used by Christopher Nolan on his recent projects) is considerably larger.

However, even without that exclusion, Stage 15 at Babelsberg Film Studios in Potsdam, Germany is far larger (78,954 sq.ft.) and is fully soundproofed.

Specifications (after re-opening in 2007)

  • Length: 374 ft (114.00 m)
  • Width: 158 ft (48.16 m)
  • Height: 41 ft (12.50 m)
  • Area: 59,000 sq ft (5,481 sq m)
  • Tank Specifications
  • Length: 300 ft (91.44 m)
  • Width: 72 ft (21.95 m)
  • Depth: 8 ft (2.50 m)
  • Other: Floor Area: 21,600 ft (2015 m)

Link to the Official 007 Stage website

See also The Richard Attenborough Stage