BBC OLYMPICS

Production Design by Bruce Hill.

Open on a remote island in Greece for three weeks, need I say more. Given a brief, and a budget, and told to get on with it, perfect! Trouble is, it was the BBC so the budget wasn’t enough, plus we needed English model making, never cheap, and there wasn’t enough time, as ever. I didn’t care. It’s a lot better struggling on a beautiful island than at home and people at the BBC are always great to work with.

You might remember it. Hermes and other gods challenging athletes to a race to promote the Olympics for the BBC. This was contracted out to a French production company, Passion Pictures, and it was mostly involving computer animation. As a result I was building just elements of scenery, to be used later in post.

Passion loved my show reel and plans which put me on a good initial footing. The schedule was ever so tight. In fact the shoot even continued after we left. The local Greek crew (flown in from Athens) thought it could never be finished on time and we nearly had a strike (despite them having more in per diems than us!). The lovely director (Camille Bovier Lappier) and first assistant Gregoire Barachin (From Passion) held it all together and kept moral high. We were shooting dawn till dusk every day though, and I don’t remember any time off (last days filming 3.00am wrap, so much for wrap parties).

The local Greek art director (Dimitris Ziakas) built a fantastic top up to a building, whilst I was standing by on the shooting set, full of architectural detail which unfortunately was blown down prior to filming. We managed to rebuild some of it so we still got a result. The telephones were very erratic leading to problems getting last minute gear over so much had to be improvised on the island.

A fantastic island though with a beautiful hotel. I’d love to go back for a holiday one day. In retrospect the shoot went very well considering the language difficulties with Greek, French and UK crew, possibly better than a UK crew on their own.