We celebrate Peter Cushing and his outstanding contribution to our popular culture, by combining extracts from a previously unbroadcast radio interview with Peter recorded in 1986, with insights from some of those who knew him and worked with him, including some never before seen clips of Christopher Lee talking about his dear friend.
The documentary also includes new interviews with Madeline Smith, Derek Fowlds, Valerie Leon, Judy Matheson, Morris Bright MBE, Paul Welsh MBE and The Hammer Runners, Brian Reynolds and Phil Campbell, co-authors of Running Scared. The narrator is Jenny Hanley.
From a fumbling actor on stage at the Connaught Theatre, to the sure-footed international screen actor we see in Star Wars, we hear about the warmth of his personality that is often at odds with the many characters that he played, we understand more about his acting technique and get to appreciate why colleagues adored working with him.
Peter is often defined by his work with Hammer Films, but his output was much more extensive. For many he’s as fondly remembered as Dr Who, Sherlock Holmes or Grand Moff Tarkin as he is for playing Baron Frankenstein or Doctor Van Helsing. Our contributors offer a critical appraisal of Peter and his work, reviewing some of his most famous performances.
The documentary’s director, Richard Edwards recorded the interview with Peter the day after the Royal Premiere for Biggles. During the interview Peter reflects on landing his first acting job and his many subsequent film and television roles, ending by expressing his love for his late wife Helen, without whom, he concludes, none of it would have been possible.
- CHRISTOPHER LEE: Peter and Christopher became synonymous with Hammer Films and their internationally acclaimed Gothic horrors. With exclusive, previously unbroadcast archive material, Christopher appraises and pays tribute to his dear friend.
- MADELINE SMITH: Madeline is an established international actress known for many film and television appearances, including the Bond film Live and Let Die opposite Roger Moore and Hammer Films’ ground-breaking gothic shockers The Vampire Lovers with Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing, and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.
- VALERIE LEON: Valerie is an internationally renowned theatre and film actress. She has appeared in many of the classic Carry-On comedy films, is a former Bond-girl who appeared alongside Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and also took the lead role in Hammer Films’ production of Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb.
- DEREK FOWLDS: Derek appeared with Peter Cushing in Hammer Films’ classic 1967 shocker, Frankenstein Created Woman, one of the last to be produced at their former home, Bray Studios. Derek has many acclaimed leading roles on stage and television to his name, including the notable BBC comedy Yes, Minister and ITV’s Heartbeat.
- JUDY MATHESON: Judy appeared in a number of horror classics in the early 1970s, in particular appearing with Peter in Hammer Films’ Twins of Evil in 1971. Her horror film credits also include Hammer’ Lust for a Vampire (1971), as well as Crucible of Terror (1971) and The Flesh and Blood Show (1972) with Jenny Hanley.
- MORRIS BRIGHT MBE: As chairman of Elstree Studios, an author, journalist and a broadcaster, Morris has a long track record within the British film and television industries. He has tremendous insights into the studio’s history, Peter’s work and the future of the UK film industry.
- PAUL WELSH MBE: In 1997 Paul was awarded the MBE for his services to preserving Elstree Studios. As a film historian and as the former chief entertainments officer at Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council, Paul worked very closely with many of the leading performers who came to the studios, including Peter Cushing.
- PHIL CAMPBELL: Phil, a former runner at Hammer Films, is co-author of Running Scared. He spent much of his time in the late 1960s and early 1970s working with Brian Reynolds at the company’s offices in Wardour Street and at Elstree Studios, where they worked on many of Hammer Films’ iconic productions from that time.
- BRIAN REYNOLDS: Brian worked closely with Phil at Hammer Films and together they had the pleasure of working with many of the company’s stars, including Valerie Leon, Jenny Hanley, Madeline Smith, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Ralph Bates. They jointly published their experiences in their recent book, Running Scared.
Our narrator is JENNY HANLEY whose career includes Hammer Films’ Scars of Dracula and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Produced and directed by Richard Edwards.
Duration: 74 minutes