Documentary, 60 minutes

In May 1986, shortly after the premiere of his final film, Biggles, Peter Cushing reflected on his career during an hour-long radio interview thought to be lost to the archive, but now, with the help of some of those who worked with him and some of today’s leading filmmakers, we revisit Peter’s interview and explore his lasting contribution to our cultural heritage.

PETER CUSHING: IN HIS OWN WORDS is a feature documentary based around a previously unbroadcast radio interview recorded towards the end of Peter’s career in 1986. He is relaxed and in reflective mood, despite having been diagnosed with cancer. He became known to many as the epitome of evil on the silver screen, but his interview reveals a very different character.

From a name on the credits of some half-forgotten second features to an internationally renowned actor, adored by fans and loved by his friends, Peter became the gentle man of horror. This documentary offers an appreciation of Peter’s rightful place in our cultural heritage and gives an insight into the lasting influence his work is still having on film and television creators today.

During the interview Peter reflects on landing his first acting job at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing and his many film and TV roles, including Sherlock Holmes for the BBC, the Baron in The Curse of Frankenstein, Dr Who in the two films for Amicus and Grand Moff Tarkin in George Lucas’ Star Wars. He recalls the Royal premiere of Biggles, comments on the mechanical nature of film acting, is optimistic about the future of the British film industry and describes his great affection for his country. He finishes by expressing his love for his late wife Helen, without whom, he concludes, none of it would have been possible.

Peter’s audio interview is animated with contemporary footage of many of the places that were pivotal in his life, including the Connaught Theatre, where he made his first stage appearance, Bray Studios, the Thameside ancestral home of Hammer’s gothic shockers, Elstree Film Studios where George Lucas shot Star Wars and Whitstable on the north Kent coast, where Peter and Helen Cushing lived since the 1950s.

The documentary is being made with assistance from the team at Elstree Studios, where Peter shot many of his feature films. Contributors include:

  • Valerie Leon (Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb, The Spy Who Loved Me)
  • Madeline Smith (The Vampire Lovers, Live and Let Die)
  • Jenny Hanley (Scars of Dracula, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
  • Derek Fowlds (Frankenstein Created Woman, Yes Minister, Heartbeat)
  • Paul Welsh MBE, film historian
  • Roger Morris, Elstree Studios, managing director
  • Morris Bright, Elstree Studios, chairman
  • Paul Campbell, Hammer production crew, co-author Running Scared
  • Brian Reynolds, Hammer production crew, co-author Running Scared

Our film will appeal to people with a passion for films and filmmaking, whether they’re in to classics from the last six decades or the latest releases, in particular those who favour more in-depth subjects, presented with higher production values. Audiences will respond to the warmth of Peter’s personality, the respect that he’s earned from friends and colleagues, his views on Hammer Films, Dr Who, Sherlock Holmes and Star Wars and the affection those within the industry still have for his contribution to popular culture.

Richard Edwards has worked in radio and TV for over two decades, including writing and producing documentaries, drama and current affairs for the BBC and other broadcasters in the UK and US. He studied at the National Film and Television School and is a published author.

He established RABBIT & SNAIL FILMS in 2017 to produce arts focused documentaries. Recent projects include STAGE DIRECTION (2017) and FILM PROJECTIONS (2018).

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