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: THE STORY BEHIND REACH FOR THE SKY

img_4439

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

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

NEWS: INTERVIEW ON KENNETH MORE – BBC RADIO LONDON

Jason and Nick (Kenneth)

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.

kenneth more award

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: AN ACTOR’S MAKEUP BOX

Embed from Getty Images

British film and stage actor Kenneth More (1914 – 1982) getting ready backstage at the Shaftesbury Theatre for the play ‘Our Man Crichton’, London, UK, 7th February 1965. (Photo by Norman Potter/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

With Kenneth More Day almost upon us we delve into the Preservation Library to examine a rare item.

Angela More: “Actors makeup boxes are very personal items. Kenny always applied his own before performances. He kept it at home in his final years. To think that the last time these paints were used was by him makes it extra special to me. The cork is something actors used to apply makeup with. His was from a vintage 1943 Veuve Clicquot Champagne bottle. I never asked him what the significance of it was but assume it was from some victory at sea during the war.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Getty image shared under embed resource for free non-commercial usage: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/resources/embed

FEATURES: KENNETH MORE AND HIS LOVE OF TIMEPIECES

Embed from Getty Images

Actor Kenneth More in a scene from “The Sweet War Man”, 1965 (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Angela More: “He loved collecting watches, clocks, basically anything that ticked! In the picture above, that was a Rolex Submariner. I remember that one on his wrist. He had a good number of timepieces. Rolex, Cartier, Piaget…”

Embed from Getty Images

English actor Kenneth More (1914-1982) pictured on the set of the television drama ‘Armchair Theatre- Old Soldiers’ in 1964. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Angela More: “In our home at Bute House I remember an antique Grandfather clock, a chronometer in a box in his study, a carriage clock on his desk…. Come to think of it, they were all over the house! It’s fair to say he was a bit of a collector.”

img_4125

Kenneth More’s Piaget wristwatch. Image courtesy of daughter Sarah More

Kenny’s daughter Sarah More remembers his Piaget watch (above). “It was one my mother gave him as a present. He kept it all throughout his life. What amazed me was how paper thin it was. I still have it.”

img_3976

Kenneth More’s Rolex Datejust. Image courtesy of daughter Jane More

Angela More on the story behind his Rolex DateJust. “We were in the South of France on holiday once and I sent him out to get some breakfast. He took rather a long time in returning and when he did this watch appeared. “You’ve completely forgotten about the food!” I said.

Seemed he had more interest in the local jewellers than the bakery!

Getty images shared under embed resources for free non-commercial usage: https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/resources/embed