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James Bond stage at Pinewood destroyed by fire

Casino Royale

Story by Jack Foley

THE James Bond stage at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England, has been destroyed by fire.

At least eight fire engines were called to the blaze at approximately 11.20am on Sunday, July 30 (2006) but were unable to prevent significant damage.

The stage, which boasts a proud history of association with the 007 movies, was used for the new James Bond film, Casino Royale, earlier this year – although filming had finished at Pinewood.

The large sound stage had been transformed into a replica of Venice where some of the action is set.

However, according to eyewitness reports on the BBC website, the roof covering the stage has now caved in as a result of fire damage and very little can be salvaged.

A spokesman for Pinewood Shepperton said: “We do not know the extent of the damage to the 007 stage, although it is believed to be significant.

“Filming was not taking place. A production had completed filming and its film sets were in the process of being removed.”

Pinewood began life as a studio in 1935 and has enjoyed a long association with the Bond films, starting with the very first movie, Dr No, in 1962.

The original James Bond stage was created in the late 1970s to assist with the filming of Roger Moore’s 007 adventure, The Spy Who Loved Me, so that scenes involving two submarines inside an oil tanker could be created. The stage was subsequently built with an enormous water tank.

Other Bond scenes of note to be filmed around the studio include a car chase in Goldfinger’s factory and Spectre island in From Russia With Love.

Aside from Bond movies, Pinewood continues to form the backbone of the British film industry, along with Shepperton and Ealing.

In 2001, it merged with Shepperton Studios in order to attract a range of films of varying budgets.

However, fires have blighted its history. A fire in 1984 completely destroyed the James Bond stage, forcing it to be rebuilt. It reopened in January 1985 as the Albert Broccoli sound stage, in honour of the producer of many Bond movies.

But Pinewood was hit again by fire in 1997, when a blaze broke out in the roof of a sound building while The Avengers was being filmed.