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Had smashing time on Skyfall set

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

  • Naomie Harris and Daniel Craig star Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions' action adventure SKYFALL.

  • Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions' action adventure, Skyfall.

  • Daniel Craig (left) and Judy Dench star in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions' action adventure SKYFALL.

  • Bond drives the digger, offloading the cars, towards Patrice (Ola Rapace) in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions' action adventure SKYFALL.

  • Patrice (Ola Rapace) shoots at Bond as the digger advances and the cars fall off the train. Eve follows in the Land Rover in the latest 007action adventure, Skyfall, in which Perranwell Station man Ronnie Henderson played an important behind-the-scenes role.

  • An Audi and Land Rover battle for control in a market street on the set of Skyfall.

  • Daniel Craig in action in a scene in Istanbul as James Bond in the latest 007 action film, Skyfall.

  • Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment are announce the 23rd James Bond adventure "SKYFALL". Pictured (L to R) Bérénice Marlohe, Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris.

  • Ronnie Henderson, from Perranwell Station near Truro, who spent six months working on the set of the latest Bond film.

  • Ronnie Henderson sitting in one of the many cages fixed to the top of a specially adapted Land Rover which allowed its stunt driver, Ben Collins, formerly BBC Top Gear's Stig, to drive the car while actress Naomie Harris was filmed behind the wheel.

  • Ronnie Henderson shivering in icy minus 19C weather while transporting a crane to Adana in Southern Turkey, across the Taurus Mountains where it was used during a dramatic train scene in Skyfall.

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CRUSHING new Land Rovers and taking a hammer to Audi cars went against a life-time's training for one Truro man who destroyed the cars while on a special mission in Europe.

Former traffic policeman Ronnie Henderson, who used to inspect vehicles for a living found himself working alongside 007 Daniel Craig during the filming of the latest Bond blockbuster, Skyfall.

Mr Henderson, from Perranwell Station, landed his role working with Action Vehicles after he was forcibly retired from Devon and Cornwall Police last year.

It was a chance meeting while undergoing mandatory training in the final months of his police career that led to his amazing job offer.

"The director of Action Vehicles was on the same driving course. He was a hobby pilot like me and we got chatting. He then offered me a job," says Mr Henderson.

He knew the firm was working on the Bond film and had worked on other major productions including Indiana Jones and Bridget Jones's Diary.

Following an interview at Pinewood Studios he was given the task of delivering the majority of the £1.6 million worth of vehicles for filming in Istanbul and southern Turkey.

As the cars form an integral part of the action the film team got through a large number making sure each scene went like clockwork.

"We used 16 Audis during one chase sequence. The action was filmed in reverse order so we had to break-up several cars for the scene."

He used a hammer on Audi A5s and even drove several Land Rovers into a tree, crushing their bonnets.

In January he was behind the wheel of an articulated lorry transporting a JCB digger to southern Turkey. He drove through treacherous mountain passes and across narrow bridges delivering his load on time in freezing conditions.

The machine was to form a major part of a nailbiting scene that would destroy 48 VW Beetles.

"The digger was remotely controlled, but it was made to look as if Bond was driving it while it was on board a moving train. He used the machine to rip off the VWs – in each take three VWs were destroyed as they crashed off the train."

He also watched Daniel Craig carry out his own daring stunts, including the opening fight scene as a train travelled over the breathtaking Varda railway bridge, in Andana, which was built in 1912 by the Germans.

Istanbul and Turkey were not the first choice of location for the film – the director had initially looked at Argentina and Mumbai in India, but ruled the latter venue out because of recent terrorist attacks.

"Filming in Istanbul was exciting. It's a fantastic, vibrant city, a mix of old and new. It attracts film crews because of its light and the people are so friendly."

It was here that he helped set up a hair-raising motorbike chase across the rooftops of a bazaar.

"The stunt riders wore no helmets, they just had to go for it. Everything is rehearsed at slow speed and gradually built up.

"There were around 500 people on set. The cast and extras all knew exactly what to do so that it is safe. It needs to be as the motorbikes and cars are travelling up to 50mph or 60mph in the final take."

When off-set he spent hours sharing a beer with the crew and actors, including Craig and Naomie Harris. "It was a gruelling schedule, working without a day off for six months, often doing 13-hour days. But I can't deny it was an experience I'll never forget. Everyone says that working on a Bond film is like being part of a family.

"The scenes were not glamorous but looked polished when finished. Everyone had an important role to play. We were all working towards the same goal. Daniel (Craig) would eat with us as did all the actors. He was chatty and relaxed in the Adana Hilton where we were all staying."

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  • First Impressions  |  December 06 2012, 12:12PM

    Well done Ron. You contributed to one of the best Bond movies ever. 6 months of gruelling hard work paid off. We went to see the film last night at the Plaza in Truro. Excellent.