Gavin Scott |
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10 Apr

Enter – Brian Cox

 Britain’s liveliest scientist, Brian Cox, came to record a scene today in which he explains how the earth had come to turn into a giant snowball, not knowing, of course, that it was all Simon Pegg’s fault. As the hair and makeup artists got him ready, we started talking about global warming and ice ages, beginning the most information rich and delightful conversation I have had for a long time. Among our topics: how ice ages have helped make the human brain bigger, how the resonance of Jupiter affects life on...

10 Apr

Absolutely Anything Author Demolition

A busy morning today as we prepare to film a scene in a TV studio in which Joanna Lumley, as a ruthless book programme presenter, eviscerates a hapless author while our heroine Catherine looks on, appalled. We’d written Joanna’s introductory remarks but stopped there, because we’ll then cut to the control room next door in which Catherine is harassed by her oily boss, played by Robert Bathurst of Downton Abbey fame. But what Terry realised in the early hours of the morning was that Joanna’s interview with the author will have...

hailing bus
08 Apr

Absolutely Anything Day 13

Today we got our own bus to play with. Well, the loan of a bus, which we fill with extras who gaze in astonishment at a very disheveled Simon (explanations later) as he magically appears, jumps off and runs down the road past the bus stop. But there’s a problem: we’ve been provided with the wrong sort of bus stop. And though another sort of bus stop can be provided, it won’t be here for forty five minutes. I’m afraid I must own up to consoling Terry by pointing out that...

08 Apr

Absolutely Anything Day 12 Part Two

One of the delights of filming is when everybody jumps in a van and roars off somewhere to check something, as we did this morning. It was the bridge over archway where something VERY IMPORTANT will happen towards the end of the movie. And the view was terrific. After which Terry found another cool place to shoot.  Then we jumped in the van again and went down to Archway to plan a scene in which … well, it involves irrational admirers of one of our characters. And Terry demonstrated very vividly just...

08 Apr

Absolutely Anything Day 12

Coming back from our location day in Woolwich, this slightly run-down old ex-school is beginning to be like home – a home with a very large family in it, with people saying greeting each other from the Camera Department, the Art Department, Production, Hair and Make Up and Sound, jokes doing the rounds, stories being exchanged, and the benign figure of Terry, holding tight to his storyboards, moving with a kind of (generally) serene determination through it all. Today he and I go up to the room where the editing...

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07 Apr

The Adventures of Toby Wey

I wrote "Toby Wey" to be the sort of novel I myself like to read. That is, one which takes me to another world (in this case pre-Victorian England), has a hero who's trying to achieve something against the odds, is full of action, and tells me something about our world I didn't know before. Whether I've achieved that with "Toby Wey" you'll have to be the judge, but that's my goal. Click play below to watch a video which will give you an idea what "Toby Wey" is about. I do hope...

07 Apr

Famous Extras

This is the scene in which Catherine presents Neil with an award for the brilliant book he hasn’t written yet, and he accepts modestly in front of a crowd of extras. But this being a Terry Jones movie, our extras include people like BBC Arts Supremo Alan Yentob, last seen on W1A arm wrestling with Salman Rushdie, who declines to arm wrestle with me, but does offer to do a selfie. Perhaps I will include him in my next novel. ...

07 Apr

Absolutely Anything in Woolwich

Here’s a picture of Terry Jones and our production designer Jim Acheson looking over the marvelous interior of Woolwich Town Hall where Neil will be presented with the award for the book he hasn’t actually written yet. It’s enormously satisfying to see a book Terry and I invented as a line on a page of script turn into (what appears to be) a real book, complete with piles of brand new copies, cover art and huge posters covered with admiring quotes (all attributed to members of the art department). And...

07 Apr

Absolutely Anything Day 11

Our day on location at Woolwich Town Hall got off to a disastrous start, as the handle on a box broke, and the box fell to the ground, emptying its contents, which consisted of 140 portions of bacon, sausages, mushrooms, eggs and baked beans – in short complete breakfasts for 140 crew and extras– all over the pavement. At 7 am on a cold, wet morning the only blessing was that the thirty (repeat thirty) dogs we also had on set weren’t around to pounce joyfully on the fallen bacon,...

07 Apr

Absolutely Anything Diary Day 5

We’re out of the studio today! Just round the corner in Cressida Road, where the whole adventure begins as Neil gets knocked off his bike by a passing van and is zapped by the alien ray which gives him his supernatural powers. This could be an expensive scene involving major stunts, but Terry has come up with a wonderfully simple way to make it happen. One camera is at the bottom of a gently sloping street; another, attached to what looks like a modified golf cart, is at the top...