Today, Thursday 22nd May 2013, marks the 80th birthday of Golden Globe winner and Emmy-nominee, Joan Collins O.B.E (Happy Birthday Joan!) and as we were reminiscing over Joan’s extensive filmography over the years, we were reminded about the time Joan Collins stayed at Low Wood Bay on the shores of Windermere.
The star, most recently famous for the catchphrase “zip it, shrimpy” in the Snickers advert actually visited the hotel to film a thriller “The Pike” set on Windermere. Pictured above with “The Pike”, we think the catchphrase would have been the perfect ending to the Jaws-like film.
The following is an extract from the late Michael Berry’s book “Low Wood on Windermere: Three Hundred Years of Lakeland History”
“A very enterprising Mancunian, having seen the American thriller Jaws, decided if the New England coast of the USA could have a man eating fish, why not Old England, and if England, why not Windermere and what was big in Windermere? – PIKE. His name was Chris Twemlow. Chris made contact with “Low Wood” and much pre-planning took place.
He had a firm in Ulverston make a 12 foot pike and inside it was installed a radio controlled motor to propel the fish on the water’s surface. All was set for the great day. City Major Ltd. were to produce, Joan Collins and Jack Hedley were the stars and stayed at “Low Wood” for some three days.
The opening scene of the film would be a lone fisherman sitting on Low Wood’s northern pier with legs dangling over the jetty side. The camera was to be the eyes of the giant pike looking north to the dangling legs. The camera was to move faster and faster to its prey, and the music, a la Jaws, similarly. There would be a great crescendo, a swirl of water, utter silence and all that was to be seen on the bloody surface of the lake was the fisherman’s hat.
Well, that was the plot. Reality on 13th May 1982 was that the electronic bit within the pike failed to make its debut. It was supposed to jump out of the water and roll its eyes for the benefit of cameramen, but it refused to budge. Instead, Chris Twemlow swam under water with it for a few camera shots. The Pike can still be seen at “Low Wood Bay” where it now resides at the Lake District Water Sports Centre. Although it took seven months from drawing board to completion and cost US$250,000 and although it had an ignominious start, it is still there for many to admire and wonder.”
Little is known about what happened to the film (if you have more information, let us know in the comments), however we did find the below historic television footage about “The Pike” on YouTube. The video is 10 minutes long, but well worth a watch…
- Written by: +Kris Littlewood