The cameraman behind one of the greatest historical scenes in 21st-century cinema returned to his North East hometown to inspire the next generation of filmmakers.

Award-winning camera operator Peter Robertson, renowned for capturing the famous five-minute-long, single-take Dunkirk scene on Redcar beach for the 2007 film Atonement, revisited his former Newcastle school, Dame Allan’s, to share insights from his work on some of the most iconic movies.

The Northern Echo: cameraman Peter Robertson returned to his North East hometown to talk about his work on films

With over 38 years of experience in feature film and drama production, including notable contributions to iconic franchises like Harry Potter and James Bond, Peter is well-placed to impart invaluable knowledge and experience from the industry.

“It’s a job that truly ignites my passion and excites me. It’s so challenging and rewarding in equal measure,” he told pupils at the independent school in Fenham. “One of my proudest moments was when I shot the first Harry Potter film - the Philosopher’s Stone. That was a landmark achievement for me.”

Peter, who grew up in Denton Burn and attended Dame Allan’s on a scholarship between 1967 and 1974, has filmed on exotic sets worldwide, collaborating with A-list Hollywood stars such as Keira Knightly, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.The Northern Echo: cameraman Peter Robertson returned to his North East hometown to talk about his work on films

Reflecting on the demanding nature of his work, he said: “I’ve endured extreme conditions, from filming in minus 40 degrees Celsius in northern Russia for Anna Karenina to scorching heat in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco for Charlie Wilson’s War and Sahara.”

Recalling his experience on the 2014 action film Edge of Tomorrow, alongside Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, he added: “Working on intense battle sequences with explosions and stunts on wires was equally demanding.”

Peter also shared insights from his work alongside renowned director Joe Wright. He said: “Collaborating with Joe requires meticulous attention to detail. His exacting standards for script, actors, and camera movements demand nothing less than perfection.”

His recent collaboration with the Atonement director saw Peter spend eight months in Rome shooting M. Son of the Century, a landmark Sky original drama series based on Antonio Scurati’s internationally bestselling novel that recounts the birth of fascism in Italy and Mussolini’s rise to power.

Returning to Dame Allan’s, some 50 years after leaving to study Fine Art, he praised the Schools’ strong focus on the arts.

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He said: “Given my particular passion for the study of the visual arts and the role it has played in my subsequent career, I’m very heartened by the expansion of subjects such as art, theatre studies and dance with impressive new facilities and fantastic examples of the pupils’ work on display.”

Will Scott, Principal at Dame Allan’s Schools, said: “As an accomplished camera operator with a remarkable career spanning decades, Peter’s visit provided invaluable insights into the film industry.

“We are immensely proud to have nurtured such talent within our school community, and very grateful that Peter took time to return to school and inspire our current cohort of pupils.”