Regular readers will know of my love of the South Downs, but I doubt many will be aware of the connections between the South Downs and the famous secret agent James Bond. There are at least two occasions when filming for the popular series of films took place on the South Downs. One I have known about for some time, but I only learnt about the second earlier this year.
Probably the most famous connection was the use of Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre (then called the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum) for three weeks in the summer of 1984 for filming of scenes from the film A View to a Kill starring Roger Moore as James Bond. In the film Bond with the help of May Day (Grace Jones) prevents Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) from destroying Silicon Valley.
Amberley Chalk Pits Museum provided the location for the Main Strike Mine which was going to be blown up, triggering an earthquake which was going to cause a flood or something like that, I can’t remember the exact details of villain’s evil plan. The photo below shows the entrance to the mine which still bears the sign used during the filming.
Whilst Bond and May Day were busy saving the world (or at least San Francisco), Zorin attempted to make his escape in an airship. Bond caught hold of one the mooring ropes as the airship rose skywards, leaving May Day to get blown up just outside of the entrance to the mine.
The airship with Bond dangling from the rope rose up above the chalk pit in Sussex into the skies above San Francisco, finally getting tangled up on the Golden Gate Bridge, where Zorin finally met his end.
Many of the wagons used in the filming can be found around the museum, still bearing the livery of the fictional Zorin Industries. The one below has been stored inside and is part of a small display which celebrates the museum’s role in the film.