Virginia McKenna, the star of the 1974 adaptation of Swallows and Amazons, fondly remembers making the Vintage Classic on location in the Lake District.
It was 43 years ago when Claude Watham, the director of the 1974 film of Swallows and Amazons, asked if I’d like to play the part of Mrs Walker, mother of the four children who strike camp in the story. I thought, “How lovely, because I love working with children.” Unlike many actors, I’ve always adored working with children. In fact, I’ve always stayed in touch with Sophie Neville, who played my daughter Titty in the film.
Claude was an unusual man. He was quite reserved and he wasn’t flamboyant in any way. I think I’m right in saying that the children were never shown a script. They were talked through each scene, and the words were related to them verbally, but they weren’t given anything to read. It was such an unusual way to do it, and it achieved such a spontaneity, which I thought was perfect.
It was a very happy production. You can’t always say that about a film…