The large James Bond 007 "Albert R. Broccoli" stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, UK, has been destroyed by fire - again...

007 Stage Destroyed By Fire
30th July 2006

The large James Bond 007 "Albert R. Broccoli" stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, UK, has been destroyed by fire - again.

According to BBC and Sky News reports, at least eight fire engines and up to 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the set, where filming for the new movie Casino Royale had finished. BBC eyewitness Jen McVean, who owns a firm at the studios in Iver Heath, said the stage had been "completely on fire. The roof has caved in. It was a very big fire."

The sound stage had been transformed into a replica Venice where "Casino Royale", with a reported budget of £39m ($72m), is partly based. MI6 can confirm that all filming had been completed last week and that the sets were in the process of being dismantled.

The roof covering the stage caved in through fire damage and firefighters used special equipment to reach it. Buckinghamshire Fire Brigade confirmed it had been alerted about the blaze at 11:18am on Sunday, and said oxyacetylene gas canisters may have exploded inside the building and they expect to remain at the scene until Monday.

Brian Dugdale, the firefighter in charge of controlling the blaze, said: "Luckily the stage was just being disassembled after a shoot and there weren't any of the hazards that you would normally associate with filming - there weren't any pyrotechnics or anything like that.

"There were a number of welding kits on the stage that were being used by some engineers and one of the elements of the welding kit is an acetylene cylinder and that is still alight and so we're dealing with that. It will probably take us 24 hours to resolve that problem."

A spokesman for Pinewood Shepperton told the BBC: "We do not know the extent of the damage to the 007 stage, although it is believed to be significant. Filming was not taking place. A production (Casino Royale) had completed filming and its film sets were in the process of being removed."

Right: The blaze seriously damaged structural integrity, causing the roof to collapse.


Above: Smoke billows from the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios over local houses

007 Stage History
Pinewood first opened for business in 1935 and was home to many James Bond films, starting with the first - Dr No - in 1962.

When production designer Ken Adam was brought back on board for 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me", and with a much larger budget than of previous 007 films, it was inevitable that fans were going to get a Bond on a grand scale. So grand, in fact, that Bond's traditional home at Pinewood simply didn't have anywhere large enough to house Adam's latest extravagance, the interior of Stromberg's massive super-tanker.

Broccoli's answer was to begin work, in March 1976, on the construction of a whole new sound stage at Pinewood, the enormous 007 Stage, the largest stage anywhere in the world. To complement this 374 x 160 x 53 foot tall monstrosity, Eon also paid for the building of the largest water tank in the industry, capable of taking some 1,200,000 gallons.

On 5 December 1976, with principal photography on Roger Moore's third Bond film completed, the massive 007 Stage was formally opened by Prime Minister Harold Wilson at a star studded ceremony.

In 1984, pre-production was going along nicely on "A View To A Kill" when suddenly disaster struck. The immense, custom-built 007 sound stage that had been built at Pinewood to house "The Spy Who Loved Me" was severely damaged in a fire on 27 June 1984 shortly before it was due to house Ridley Scott's "Legend". With "A View to a Kill" due to move in towards the end of the year, the race was on to almost entirely rebuild the stage in time.


Above: (top) Producer Albert R. Broccoli during construction of the original 007 stage, and (bottom) inside the huge tanker set.

On 7 January 1985, the newly rebuilt 007 stage, now renamed the Albert R. Broccoli 007 stage in honour of the producer who had made Pinewood his second home, was officially reopened, though it had been finished some time before and was now playing host to Peter Lamont's huge set representing the interior of Zorin's mine workings. The finale called on the services of over 100 stuntmen, then the largest stunt team ever assembled for a Bond film.

Bond Scenes Shot In The 007 Stages
The Spy Who Loved Me: The Liparus supertanker
Moonraker: Special effects model work for the space battle.
For Your Eyes Only: The underwater wreck of the St. Georges.
Octopussy: Kamal Khan's palace courtyard.
A View to a Kill: Zorin's silver mine, scenes of flooding.
Tomorrow Never Dies: Interior of Elliot Carver's stealth boat. Also, the HMS Devonshire underwater set.
The World Is Not Enough: Russian nuclear testing facility.
Die Another Day: Gustav Graves' Ice Palace.
Casino Royale: Recreation of Venice for film's finale.

Related Articles
The Spy Who Loved Me - Production Notes
A View To A Kill - Production Notes