Desmond Bagley Running Blind

A collection of interesting articles and anecdotes relating to Bagley and all things Running Blind.

Desmond Bagley and his heroine

An article appeared in the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið on 6th July 1978.

Desmond Bagley Icelandic media article from Morgunbladid 6th July 1978.
‘Fólk í fréttum’; Morgunblaðið, 6 July 1978, p. 29; © mbl.isÁrvakur hf.

The article reads:

Desmond Bagley the great fiction author was in Norway recently and had a good visit. They saw many places that would make ideal settings for his novels. His wife, Joan Magaret, accompanied him on the journey and Bagley told us that his wife was the model for many of the women in his books. His wife objected and said that the model would most likely be Sophia Loren.

Also to be seen on the same page is an advertisement for Hótel Loftleiðir, used during the filming of the BBC adaptation. The advert, published at the same time as the BBC Scotland crew were filming in Iceland, reads:

Fashion show
Every Friday 12.30 – 13.30
The exhibition is organised by the Icelandic business Rammagerðin and Hotel Loftleiðir.
Models display jewellery and various types of garments made from Icelandic wool and fur products . The popular cold buffet is offered .
Be welcome.

Read more about Hótel Loftleiðir here.

Lovely Iceland, land of salmon

In chapter One (III) of the novel, Bagley describes Stewart waiting at Reykjavík City Airport for his flight to Akureyri. It reads:

I disappointed him by languidly ordering another coffee and becoming immersed in a newspaper account of how many salmon Bing Crosby had caught on his latest visit to Iceland. [1]

Bagley and his wife Joan arrived in Iceland for their research trip on 22nd July 1969 and immediately spent three days in Greenland [2] most likely flying there from Reykjavík City Airport the day after their arrival. Bing Crosby had arrived in Iceland the previous week, on 17th July, to take part in making a film about salmon fishing in Iceland.

Bing Crosby Icelandic media article from Visir 23rd July 1969.A newspaper article was published in Vísir on 23rd July [3] covering Crosby’s visit and mentioning how many salmon he had caught (four salmon, one of 18lbs). It is probable that Bagley was reading this article on 23rd, and later wrote about his own experience whilst waiting at the City Airport.


  1. William Collins & Sons Ltd (1970). Running Blind (Chapter 1)
  2. ‘Desmond Bagley skrifar bók sem hann lætur gerast hér’; Þjóðviljinn, 15 August 1969, p. 10.
  3. ‘Hæ Siggi hæ Bolli’; Vísir, 23 July 1969, p. 16; © DV.ehf.

 Behind the scenes

Running Blind filming scene in Lynghagi, Reykjavik June 1978.

In episode 1, ‘The Messenger Boy’, following the meal in the Reykjavík apartment Stewart goes to the balcony and looks down at a vehicle parked in Lynghagi, in which Graham (Dallas Adams) is surveilling Stewart’s apartment from. In the wide shot from the balcony the driver cannot be recognised as the car starts to drive away. However during the close up shot Adams can be seen as the driver. In this close up shot a member of the crew and locals are in fact pushing the car, as Adams could not drive. [1,2]


Images © BBC Scotland & © mbl.isÁrvakur hf (RAX).

  1. Steindórsdóttir, R. (2014) pers. comm 30th July, 2014
  2. ‘Grunsamlegir menn og kuldaleg andlit’; Morgunblaðið, 10 June 1978, p. 10; © mbl.isÁrvakur hf.

Húsavík replaces Akureyri

In the novel, Stewart is told to deliver the package to Akureyri and stays at Hótel Varðborg. In the television adaptation Húsavík and the Hótel Húsavík replace Akureyri as the destination [1]. Hótel Varðborg, located at Geislagotu 7, Akureyri, still operates as a hotel but has been renamed Hótel Norðurland. The advertisement above is taken from an edition of the Vísir newspaper dated 22nd June 1978. [2]

Hótel Vardborg / Norðurland Akureyri - Image © keahotels.is.


  1. ‘Big success in Hótel Húsavík’; Dagblaðið, 25 September 1978, p. 14.
  2. ‘Hótel Varðborg’; Vísir, 22 June 1978, p. 21; © DV ehf.

Iceland Safari

On 21st January 1979, two days after the transmission of the final episode in the UK, an advertisement appeared in The Observer newspaper titled ‘Iceland Safari’.

In the trace of Desmond Bagley – among glaciers, hotsprings and volcanoes. An exclusive limited 14 days safari-tour starts out from Reykjavík in special built Land-Rovers and with English speaking guides. Price : £483 flt. inc. For free complete programme write: ICELAND-Safari P.O. Box 1117, Reykjavík, Iceland. [1]

Desmond Bagley's Running Blind - Iceland Safari article in The Observer 21st January 1979.


  1. ‘Iceland Safari’; The Observer, 21 January 1979, p. 44; © Guardian News and Media Limited.

Stuart Wilson returns to Iceland

Stuart Wilson returned to Iceland to take part in a children’s television series called Nonni and Manni set in Iceland in 1869.The series was based on the book by the popular Icelandic children’s author Jón Sveinsson and Wilson played the rather nasty local businessman Magnus Hansson.The six part series was a joint venture between Iceland and West Germany’s ZDF channel, debuting on the German channel on 26th December 1988.

Stuart Wilson and Gardar Thor Cortes in Nonni og Manni 1988.
Nonni og Manni – Images © Taurus Film 1988.

Nonni was played by Garðar Thór Cortes, now a famous tenor who has previously toured with Elaine Page, Katherine Jenkins, Kiri Te Kanawa and Lesley Garret.