NEWS: THE KENNETH MORE TABLE AT JOE ALLEN, LONDON

 

Joe Allen in London. Image credit: Joe Allen

What better way to celebrate Kenny’s birthday than to raise a glass to him! KenenthMore.com is proud to have worked with the famous theatreland restaurant, Joe Allen in creating a Kenneth More table, featuring pictures from his career and two from Kenny’s personal collection; meeting the Queen Mother, and separately Prince Charles at the Battle of Britain premiere.

Joe Allen in Covent Garden was first opened in 1977, a sister restaurant to the original New York site. It was named after its owner and creator, a man dedicated to delivering fantastic dining experiences. Set in a venue adorned with the best theatre memorabilia, Joe Allen is the Covent Garden Brasserie for theatre-goers, locals and visitors alike.

Because it was started by actors, producers and directors looking to woo the West End’s latest and greatest productions, Joe Allen quickly became known as the ‘West End’s Canteen’, with famous faces from all industries often spotted among the posters.

Kenny’s daughter Sarah More recalled being taken there by her father back in the day, so the introduction of a table featuring pictures displayed in his memory makes this table extra special to dine at.

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NEWS: MAJOR INTERVIEW ON KENNETH MORE ON THE FILM PROGRAMME, BBC RADIO 4

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Kenneth More at BBC Broadcasting House in the 1960s. Image credit: BBC

Wife of Kenneth More, Angela Douglas, and our founder, Nick Pourgourides, were guests on BBC Radio 4’s flagship movie programme, The Film Programme, with presenter Antonia Quirke. This special feature aired to mark the anniversary of Kenny’s birth.

Listen back to the interview here

With thanks to Antonia Quirke and Stephen Hughes

FEATURES: KENNETH MORE REFLECTIONS – Ronald Pickup

Actor Ronald Pickup with KenenthMore.com Founder Nick Pourgourides

Actor Ronald Pickup with KenenthMore.com Founder Nick Pourgourides

To mark Kenny’s birthday on September 20th, we are extremely pleased to welcome acclaimed actor of stage and screen, Ronald Pickup, to shares his fond memories of working with Kenny, on the Father Brown episode, The Eye of Apollo.

Image result for eye apollo kenneth more father brown pickup

“I remember being high up on this balcony in Finsbury Square doing this weird scene at the start of that episode…I was supposed to be preaching to the public as this leader of a bogus religious cult….a sun worshipper.

For me though, working with Kenny was just such a joy. He was one of my generation’s favourites…and there was something completely seamless from the personality I knew of on screen from both cinema and television, to the one I worked with…

Image result for ronald pickup kenneth moreI had met him previously working on TV series, The Dragon’s Opponent where Angela Douglas was working with me on one of the episodes. I remember him coming to the set and taking us all out for dinner. He was very generous and sweet like that…When I met him again on Father Brown, he was very jovial, easy, and just so relaxed behind the camera…. A natural performer and an education watching him act. To be in a series of Father Brown was great too, having known of GK Chesterton’s books since I was a boy.

Kenny though as Father brown was just great. I was lucky to work with him. But I think he was more versatile than people think. I remember seeing him in the film version of The Deep Blue Sea. He was excellent and his performance is very unapologetic. The dark side of him was wonderful to see, especially for someone so popular – I think that character was more of a risk to to do than people would think of now.”

Our founder’s hero, is of course Kenny, but Nick Pourgourides was keen to know who Ronald Pickup held in the same regard. I had many heroes in our business, including Kenny, but my biggest had to be Laurence Olivier!”

Funnily enough, Kenny held him in the same regard! Order the Father Brown box set here

With special thanks to Ronald Pickup

Father Brown image credit to Acorn media

FEATURES: RETURNING TO BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Battle of Britain original one sheet theatrical poster

Battle of Britain original one sheet theatrical poster

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“God’s teeth! Take cover! Group Captain Baker

16th September marks the 50th anniversary of the British screen classic, Battle of Britain (1969), directed by Guy Hamilton and produced by Harry Saltzman.

Though Kenny’s performance as Group Captain Baker in Battle of Britain was a mere cameo, it should by no means be disregarded in terms of its importance in his career. This big budget epic featured most of the best british talent of the day, from emerging actors to well established and highly regarded performers.

Kenny’s portrayal as Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky made him an obvious choice to feature in Battle of Britain, but by now of course he was too old to play a pilot. Most who fought in the actual aerial battle were in their early twenties.

Battle of Britain also gave Kenny the chance to work alongside Susanna York again, having previously acted together in Lewis Gilbert’s The Greengage of Summer (1961).

The film may suffer from too many inconsistencies with costume design, hair and makeup of the period (the swinging sixties being far too evident), but this doesn’t take away from an expertly crafted film; from casting to direction, and its soundtrack. The Blu-ray release of the Battle of Britain gives us the very best medium to revisit this screen classic.

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FEATURES: THE STORY BEHIND REACH FOR THE SKY

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Reach for the Sky original print advertisement

KenenthMore.com takes a closer look at Kenny’s most iconic film role.

Reach for the Sky is the true story of Douglas Bader who overcame the tragic loss of both legs from a flying aerobatics disaster to become one of England’s most successful fighter pilots during World War II, even taking part in the famous Battle of Britain. He would later be captured behind enemy lines, escaping on several occasions before being interned at Colditz for the rest of the war.

Copy of Reach for the Sky sheet music owned by Kenneth More

Bader’s story was published as a biography in 1954 by Paul Brickhill, and was adapted for the screen by Lewis Gilbert, who also directed. Bader disagreed with Brickhill over the biography, as well as with the filmmakers over the film, subsequently refusing to attend the film’s premiere. Bader would eventually see the movie on television, but not until eleven years later.

Incidentally the part of Bader was initially offered to Richard Burton, who turned it down to star in Alexander the Great.

First edition of Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill

First edition of Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill

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Kenny’s relationship with Douglas Bader was very different. They first met each other at Gleneagles in Scotland, when More had secured the part. Having read the book on holiday in the South of France Kenny felt he was the only actor who could play the part, stating why in his autobiography, More or Less.

“Bader’s philosophy was my phlopsophy. His whole attitude to life was mine.”

Kenneth More from his autobiography, More or Less

Reach for the Sky original film artwork

More and Bader played a round of golf together with Bader thrashing More on the course. They met again for dinner on a few occasions, with Kenny’s friend Ronald Squire. Bader warmed to More instantly and was pleased he had been cast in the role. Kenny was thrilled Bader had taken to him so easily but decided to keep his distance during filming in order to not caricature him too much. The pair stayed friends throughout their lives, with Bader a guest at More’s Variety Club luncheon at the Savoy in 1974, celebrating Kenny’s 40 years in showbusiness. When Kenny passed away, Lady Bader attendee his memorial. Incidentally Douglas Bader had passed away 2 months after Kenny.

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Reach for the Sky became a smash hit upon release and the most popular British film of 1956, as well as winning a BAFTA for Best Film. Playing Bader also garnered a Best Actor award for Kenny from the major cinema publication of the day, Picturegoer magazine. The film did something greater for his career, it showed British audiences that Kenny was not just a happy-go-lucky comic actor, he had range as a leading man in a dramatic performance.

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Kenneth More's flying hat and goggles from Reach for the Sky. Image courtesy of Sarah More

Kenneth More’s flying hat and goggles from Reach for the Sky. Image courtesy of Sarah More

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NEWS: INTERVIEW ON KENNETH MORE – BBC RADIO LONDON

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Jason Solomons with Nick Pourgourides. Image courtesy of BBC Radio London

Our founder, Nick Pourgourides, was a guest on BBC Radio London with presenter Jason Solomons to talk all things Kenneth More. Nick brought along Kenny’s 40th anniversary Variety Club silver heart to help remind the public of his immense contribution to the entertainment industry.

Listen back to the interview here. Starts at 1:44:27 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07kkr4y

With thanks to Jason Solomons.

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Kenneth More’s 40th anniversary Variety Club silver heart. Presented to him at a special luncheon held at the Savoy Hotel. Image courtesy of BBC Radio London

 

FEATURES: KENNETH MORE AT HOME

A different side to Kenneth More…

Our Founder, Nick Pourgourides, tells how surprised he was to learn how quiet Kenny was at home. With thanks to Talking Pictures TV. The interview originally aired as part of Kenneth More Day.

FEATURES: FROM THE ARCHIVES: KENNETH MORE’S 1955 VARIETY CLUB AWARD

This week our founder, Nick Pourgourides, opens up the archives to examine some of Kenneth More’s personal items. The first of which is a silver heart award from 1955, bestowed by the Variety Club of Great Britain.

40 years later the award would reappear at a Variety Club lunch in the Lancaster Ballroom of the Savoy to celebrate Kenny’s 40 years of show business, for which he received another silver heart in special recognition.

With thanks to Talking Pictures Television for the use of the clip which showed originally as part of Kenneth More Day on July 12th 2019