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Whisky Galore!

This image shows one of the mobile set designs that was built at Ealing Studios and brought to the Isle of Barra for filming Whisky Galore!

There are a lot of images in Roy’s collection that show what life was like on location. Working in film and television is sometimes seen as a glamorous job, but the reality is often long hours on remote locations, under difficult and extreme conditions.

Whisky Galore! was filmed almost entirely on location on the Isle of Barra in west Scotland which was very unusual for Ealing Studios. The main reason for this was because there were two other films in production at the same time; Kind Hearts & Coronets and Passport to Pimlico, and there was no available studio space at Ealing.  

A production unit of around 80 staff were sent to Barra to film Whisky Galore!. Most of this team had little experience as the more established production teams were working on two other films at Ealing Studios.  

Terrible weather on the island caused the production to over run its 10 week schedule and Roy was on the Isle of Barra for around 18 weeks photographing set designs, locations, actors and actresses. Despite a difficult production, Whisky Galore! went on to become one of Ealing Studios' most profitable films and a worldwide hit.  

Listen to Roy's recollection of the filming below, and then watch a clip from the film.

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On Whisky Galore!

Audio transcript

Roy Gough: On Whisky Galore! we made – the film Whisky Galore!, with [inaudible] McKendrick, was projected and there was no room to make it. And they said ‘if you can make it without a studio, well then make it.’ And we made the entire film, bar [inaudible] and things like that, actually up in the islands. Er, and one funny, rather funny thing happened, it was all about the wreck of the ship you know

Interviewer: Yes, I know

Roy Gough: And so in typical Ealing value [inaudible], they built a beautiful model of a wreck, up in the islands, not knowing that the wind blows quite strong up there. Next morning, our wreck was wrecked!

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