This page contains other notes about the programme which I will add as I go through the series and notice things here and there.
The Ferryman Taverna – The now-famous taverna featured in the series is called the Ferryman Taverna for obvious reasons. It first opened in 1973 and hasn’t changed very much since then. It’s now an upmarket restaurant and gets consistently good reviews. The link to their Facebook page is here.
The kaiki – A kaiki is a small fishing boat. The design is typical of the work horses used throughout the region. Haldane does a marvellous job of restoring it. I would love to know whether the boat still exists. In episode 5, a stand-in is used when Matheos Noukakis sets it alight.
Carvel boat building – In the first episode, Haldane mentions the traditional method that Haldane Marine used to produce their boats: “carvel made of wood – mahogany on oak – the way boats should be built.” Later on in the series, you see Haldane and Alexi nailing in one of the panels using such a method.. Carvel is a method of boat building whereby the exterior planks are laid edge to edge, not overlapping. Then an epoxy resin or caulking is used to fill in the gaps and make the surface watertight. The wikipedia article is here and is rather interesting.
Things said in Greek that aren’t noticeable to foreign viewers – What is interesting to note here (as a Greek speaker), is that Neil McCarthy’s Greek was actually quite good, as was his Greek-English accent. Regardless of whether he had a natural knack for picking up the pronunciations of foreign languages or whether he practiced his lines an awful lot, it was a very good attempt! I have since given this topic its’ own page – please see the Translations page for more information. Whenever Greek is spoken in each of the episodes, I have attempted to translate what has been said for you.
Telephoto foreshortening – In cinematography, something called telephoto compression or compression distortion occurs when you use a telephoto lens. This causes the distance of background objects to appear much closer than they would if you used a different lens, or viewed it in real life. An explanation of Perspective distortion is here. Examples of this are the mountains in the background in various scenes, and in Episode 1 (“Return to Yesterday”), where Haldane goes to rent a car, the Ayios Titos church appears a lot closer than it actually is.
Viewpoints – Google Street View – Many of the camera angles of the cars or of driving sequences are quite low down – the camera looks to be mounted on the wings or inside the car in question. For Google Street View, they use a camera that’s elevated high above the car. This may sometimes distort the view you see and compare with the TV series. The Google camera cars used are below and have been in use in Greece since 2014.
The Airport – All shots taken inside and outside the airport were taken at Heraklion Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” or Heraklion International Airport.
The airport has since been extensively remodelled since the late 1970s and as such doesn’t look like it did in the serial. The baggage reclaim area is at 1:45 in the following video.
Back in the 70s, there was an outside veranda for viewing departures. This is seen when Haldane is watching Lorna’s plane depart in episode 3. Nowadays, the whole airport has been remodelled but it’s possible to stand where Haldane did, albeit indoors, in the departure lounge. The following video shows the view that Haldane would’ve had, watching Lorna return home, around the 4:30 mark.
The production had an agreement with Olympic Airways at the time, whereby all transportation of crew and equipment would be undertaken by the airline in return for showing their aircraft (hence advertising the airline) on the TV serial.
The crew were at the airport for one, maybe two days, where they filmed all arrival and departure scenes for the aircraft, and all other scenes in and around the airport. In episode 6, “The Well”, you can see Haldane and the Major are standing next to the runway – for these exterior scenes there was perhaps only a camera operator, and sound man to film these shots.
Greek Gendarmerie – On the side of the Major’s Land Rover, you will see the words “ΕΛΛΙΝΙΚΗ ΧΩΡΟΦΥΛΑΚΗ”. Translated, this is the Hellenic Gendarmerie, which was the national Gendarmerie and military, then city, Police till its’ merger in 1984 as the Hellenic Police. A Wikipedia article on this is here.
In addition, the article above shows the different Ranks Insignia as worn by the Police. If you check the section for 1975-1984, the insignia that Major Krasakis wears throughout the serial is correct. Kudos to the wardrobe department for doing their research and not just putting any rank outfit on the actor Stefan Gryff, but actually using the correct one.
Andartes – You’ll hear the term ‘Andartes’ mentioned a few times throughout the serial. The Andartes were partizans in the Greek Resistance that fought against the Italians and Germans in WWII. Haldane was a British soldier that fought with the Andartes and had the nickname ‘Leandros’. Similarly, Babis Spiridakis has the nickname ‘Aetos’ (briefly mentioned in episode 2 when Andreas Hadjieleftheris is discussing the purchase of the kaiki with Haldane), which means Eagle. A Wikipedia article on this is here.
Charon / The Ferryman – Charon is the ferryman of Hades (God of the dead and king of the underworld). For a fee, called an obol, placed in the mouth on burial, Charon would ferry the souls of the dead from the land of the living, across the River Acheron (or River Styx), to the land of the dead, which consisted of three sections- the Asphodel Fields, Elysium (or the Elysian Fields), and Tartarus. The Elysian Fields were considered to be Paradise for those that were heroes or beloved by the Gods when they were alive. For those that were not buried with any money, they were forced to roam the shores of the River for a hundred years before being allowed to cross into the underworld.
Soundtrack – the wonderful soundtrack was composed by a Cretan composer, called Yannis Markopoulos. It’s available from outlets like Amazon – the link is here. You may be able to listen to the whole soundtrack as it’s also been uploaded to YouTube. My personal favourite track is The Sea.
Classical Music – In episode 5 (“Receive the Light”), after Haldane and Annika return to his apartment from the church, the music playing in the background is Elegie, Op.24, by Heinrich Schiff, New Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Charles Mackerras.
Jazz Music – In episode 6 (“The Well”), Kingsley / Neve is listening to Sweet Georgia Brown by Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. The music in the episode is near the end of the song (as the song ends while they’re talking).
Classical Music – In episode 8 (“The Daughters of Themis”), when Babis goes to visit Haldane after the crash, and Haldane has drunk himself to sleep, he is listening to Le sacre du printemps [The rite of Spring] by Igor Stravinsky. The video is below and the particular piece of music in the episode is around the 29 minute mark.
The Pentozali – this is a traditional Cretan dance. In the video below, the steps are familiar to those performed in the TV series.
FIAT 850 Spider – Haldane picks up his 1965 FIAT 850 Spider from customs and is a feature throughout the series. Sadly it meets its’ end in the penultimate episode. Here’s a video showing an 850 in closer detail.
The number plate MIL17502 and its’ font looks to be from the Milan region (which tallies with the car being impounded by customs). Usually, Milan plates have a 2 letter code, MI, but back in the 50s and 60s they sometimes used a third letter, based on some research.
The car in the series was sourced by a crew member who was responsible for sourcing and maintaining all the vehicles. It was purchased in Athens and Andrew Morgan, Production Assistant / Director, drove it to Piraeus and took the overnight ferry to Heraklion. As only he and Jack Hedley were the only people insured on it, they made full use of the car through its’ stint in the series both in front of the camera and off set. Apparently the car was ‘well used’ and was actually more tired and worn than viewers would think, but the mechanic dressed the vehicle up well.
The car that went off the cliff was the actual car used by the actors. Obviously, this scene was filmed last – being raised by the crane after the crash was its’ final act in Who Pays the Ferryman?. In order for the car to drive under its’ own power, it was placed on a ramp and put into gear, then released, with the end result being captured by multiple cameras.