The Dark Side of the Sun

Series Design

Alex Gourlay was designer for The Dark Side of the Sun, and has a premanent reminder of his time on the series: a bronze head of Asmodeus sits in his garden in Argyll. Alex says that a designer would often be recruited by the producer even before the director, and would be responsible for the whole appearance of the series. As well as designing and building the magnificent sets used on The Dark Side of the Sun, Alex was involved in selecting locations, designing props and staging effects - he even took a turn as animal handler. Opens the Port Appin Studio site in a new browser

Alex went on to become Head of Design at BBC Scotland, before leaving and setting up "Port Appin Studio". Click the link alongside to view Alex's web site.



Sets

Alex has kindly made available below his record of development of the sets used on The Dark Side of the Sun, from his original models through set construction to final dressing. Reference photographs were needed because sets were dismantled and rebuilt for each episode.


The Kastello Aghios Theodoros
Alex Gourlay's model of the Kastello Alex Gourlay's model of the Kastello Building the Kastello set Building the Kastello set
The set for The Kastello interior The set for The Kastello interior The set for The Kastello interior The Kastello staircase
The set for The Kastello interior The set for Lavalliere's study The set for Lavalliere's study
The set for Lavalliere's study with the tryptich of Agnes de Beauvioir on his desk The set for Lavalliere's study The set for Lavalliere's study

Tierney's House on Rhodes
Alex Gourlay's model of Tierney's House on Rhodes The set for Tierney's House on Rhodes
The set for Tierney's House on Rhodes The set for Tierney's House on Rhodes The set for Tierney's House on Rhodes The set for Tierney's House on Rhodes

Ismini's House on Rhodes
Alex Gourlay's model for Ismini's House on Rhodes The set for Ismini's House on Rhodes The set for Ismini's House on Rhodes
The set for Ismini's House on Rhodes

Tierney's House in England
Alex Gourlay's model for Tierney's House in England The set for Tierney's House in England The set for Tierney's House in England
The set for Tierney's House in England The set for Tierney's House in England



Original Artwork Actor Peter Egan poses for a reference photograph Egan and the portrait of his ancester The tryptich of Agnes de Beauvioir Actor Emily Richard poses for a reference photograph

It really is amazing how much the actors' appearances were altered by simple wigs and make-up.

Here we have the 'real' Peter Egan and Emily Richard (note the short hair) posing for reference photographs which Gourlay gave to the BBC Scenic Artist, Brian Whiteside to work from.

Whiteside produced the portrait of Tibald de Montrefort and the little tryptich of Agnes de Beauvioir which was based on the sketch below prepared by Gourlay.

Alex Gourlay's design for the tapestry Alex Gourlay's drawing for the tryptich of Agnes de Beauvioir



Gourlay also designed a tapestry (right) for Lavalliere's study.



On location Lavalliere entertains Lavalliere's Gazebo

Most of the principal locations on Rhodes had been selected and the story written specifically for them (see "Locations" page).

Gourlay says he found it strange working on location without his usual crew of joiners. As a condition of filming in Greece there was a "ghost" crew of Greeks in Athens somewhere who he never saw! For the scene in which Lavalliere wines and dines Anne Tierney out of doors Gourlay was required to knock up an impromptu gazebo complete with furniture. The local workmen spoke only Greek and so it was all done with sign language and drawings.


Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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