§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Employment why he granted a work permit to Vijay Amritraj, a professional tennis player, to work as an actor in the film "Octopussy" to be made at Pinewood film studios, in view of the opposition to this from the trade union Equity and the large numbers of unemployed resident British people able to undertake this appointment.
§ Mr. Waddington:
This is a major production wholly financed from abroad. It does not have to be made in this country and will create many jobs for resident labour, including members of Equity. It has to succeed internationally if costs are to be recovered.
Mr. Vijay Amritraj, as well as being a professional tennis player, is also a member of the Screen Actors' Guild of the United States. His unique combination of talents was considered to be potentially worth a great deal of money to the production company in advertising and in increased revenue from box-office.
In all these circumstances it would have been unreasonable to withhold permission. I also understand that, after discussion between Equity and the production company, a compromise was reached following which Equity withdrew its opposition to Mr. Amritraj's appearance in the film.