Jacki Turner remembers working on Game, Set & Match

Jacki Turner is at the far left of this photo with other members of the crew during filming in Berlin.

In 1986/87 I started a project that would tie me up for a year – it was 13 episodes of three Len Deighton novels, Berlin Game, Mexico Set and London Match. Len had originally planned to call the third book Paris Match, which made sense thinking of the famous French magazine, but I suspect Granada executives persuaded him to call it London Match, which would make it much easier and cheaper to shoot. It was still the period of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall was still dividing Berlin. The books were about the fight between English and Russian spies. The 13 episodes were divided between two teams of Director, 1st Assistant Director, Designer, Lighting Camera, Sound, Continuity, Makeup, Costume & props. I had the joy of working with Director Ken Grieve. We worked on eight episodes and the second crew headed by director Patrick Lau shot the other five episodes. Continuity was very tricky. We would go to one location and shoot all the scenes set in that location over all our 12 episodes. This was especially difficult in the MI6 offices as every episode contained these office scenes. We had two trips to Berlin where a lot of the action took place, one in winter and the other in summer. Whenever we filmed near the Wall, East German soldiers would appear over the wall and take photos of everything we did. Very unnerving! We did one scene where a spy was exchanged on one of the bridges between East and West – it all felt very real. We also filmed on a barge sailing down the river, which at some points divided east and west and it was awful seeing faces at windows on the East knowing they were trapped and couldn’t leave to see relatives in the west. On our day off a group of us girls on the crew took an organised bus tour to the East. We crossed Checkpoint Charlie passing no-mans land where so many people had died and visited some amazing monuments. Unter Den Linden is a beautiful avenue lined with lime trees leading to the Brandenburg Gate. Communist depression was everywhere and old Trabant cars chugged around. One night our Production Managers, Craig McNeil and Lars MacFarlane, organised a meal in an East Berlin restaurant, which was very famous before the war and very cheap. Needless to say we were very anxious to return to the West before midnight and our vehicle was examined underneath with mirrors to make sure no-one was trying to escape. I really liked West Berlin but the Wall was haunting… we travelled out to a lake that they used like a beach, very pretty, but suddenly you couldn’t go any further because this huge wall crossed the road. Ian Holm played the lead English spy – he’s got really “come to bed eyes!” We are the same height and I was often asked to stand in for him lighting-wise whilst he was in makeup or studying his script. We also had a six-week trip to Mexico and arrived in Mexico City only a few weeks after their major earthquake – we had some fascinating locations in the city and then travelled out to the pyramids built by the Aztecs, which was perfect for a cast and crew photograph. We then travelled on to Acapulco to film lots of jungle scenes. It was a bit dangerous in the jungle and we had to have armed guards protecting us from bandits. We were staying at a very smart hotel where rich Americans were honeymooning or taking a holiday. Every evening we would return from the jungle dirty and sweaty and head for the pool like a swarm of beetles, goodness knows what everyone thought we were up to.


Leave a Reply