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The Richard Attenborough Stage opens for business at Pinewood Studios

23 April 2012

The Pinewood Studios Group has officially unveiled a new stage. The Richard Attenborough Stage, is 30,000 sq ft and has been purpose-built to serve the needs of both film and television production. It will be the second largest at Pinewood, and will increase stage capacity at the Studios by 7%.

The Richard Attenborough Stage is already being used to house an amazing production, Les Misérables (Working Title Films/Universal), starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, but can just as easily accommodate large light entertainment TV shows. The Pinewood Group has recently welcomed a number of these types of productions including the Magicians, Don’t Stop Me Now and Got to Dance and this new stage will be perfectly suited for similar shows that require large spaces to build complex sets and host large audiences.

Ivan Dunleavy commented:

“This new stage helps demonstrate Pinewood’s ongoing commitment to improving its infrastructure, and offering both film and television clients the most up to date, flexible and secure facilities possible. The new stage sends a signal that we are serious about growing and innovating to keep pace in an increasingly competitive, global market. I am also pleased to be honouring one of the true icons of the UK film industry. Lord Attenborough who was involved in 36 films at Pinewood and Shepperton and it is fitting that we pay tribute to his amazing body of work by naming this new stage after him.”

Lord David Puttnam and Pinewood Chairman Lord Michael Grade officially unveiled the stage at 3pm on Monday 23 April 2012.

The new stage was first announced in February 2011 and was built on time and within budget.

Lord Attenborough and Pinewood Studios

Lord Attenborough CBE is perhaps best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Miracle on 34th Street and Jurassic Park. Lord Attenborough won two Academy Awards as a director and producer for his amazing film Gandhi in 1982. In 1967, Lord Attenborough was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was knighted in 1976 and in 1993 he was made a life peer.

During WWII Attenborough joined the air force and was seconded to the RAF Film Unit which was based at Pinewood Studios and directed by John Boulting. In the 1940s and 1950s, Attenborough appeared in over 30 films, but he began to tire of playing the spivs and below-deck naval officer roles. By 1959, he decided he’d had enough and formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes – their first cinema outing to be one of the most important British Films, The Angry Silence 1959.

Over the next 20 years he worked in films as an actor, producer and director. Among his acting highlights were: The League of Gentlemen (1960), The Great Escape (1963), Loot (1970), and 10 Rillington Palace (1971). His directing credits included: Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Young Winston (1972), and A Bridge too Far (1977).

As Lord Attenborough remembers:

"I was in the Air Force from 1943 to 1946. Though I was never to be classified as a ‘Rank baby’, Pinewood will always hold a very special place for me because that was where the RAF film unit was based and it was where I was stationed. I lived in the Studios – the dressing rooms were turned into bedrooms and that’s where we stayed for the duration. I played in Journey Together with Edward G. Robinson in a movie that was made by the RAF film Unit, directed by Flight Lieutenant John Boulting. It was down to that film that when I came out of the air force I did the movie version of Brighton Rock for the Boultings.”

Source: Pinewood Studios – Seventy Years of Fabulous Film-making by Morris Bright