As the Severn Valley Railway celebrates its 50th anniversary, we take a look at some of the films and TV shows which have used the railway as a location.
The snap of a clapperboard and call for ‘Action!’ have become as familiar to villagers living in the picture-postcard splendour of the Severn Valley as bird song and the crunch of a 4x4 on a gravel drive.
Hardly a month goes by without the heritage railway being featured on TV or film.
Famous faces to have popped up at the local pub or takeaway include David Niven, Robert Duvall, John Thaw, Joan Hickson, Mel Smith, Su Pollard, Jodie Foster, Ian Hislop and Michael Portillo.
See our gallery of pictures here:
And the railway’s brush with Hollywood has had a very positive effect on visitor numbers.
One of biggest surges in interest followed the release of the hugely popular The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, from CS Lewis’s much loved Chronicles of Narnia. The opening three-minute sequence showed the film’s main characters, young evacuees, take a GWR steam locomotive from Paddington to the countryside.
Highley Station is the first stop on the journey before the train travels on to Bridgnorth, crossing the Oldbury Viaduct en route.
Here's some other films and TV shows which have used the railway as a location
- The 1976 BBC television adaptation of Charles Dickens’ short story The Signalman was filmed around the cutting at the Bewdley Tunnel. A replica signal box was constructed in the cutting, while interior scenes were filmed in the actual signal box at Highley.
- Portions of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), starring Robert Duvall, were filmed on the railway.
- The 1977 television film version of Silver Blaze used the Severn Valley line.
- Candleshoe (1977) The scene at the end where David Niven parked the Rolls-Royce across the tracks was filmed at Waterworks Crossing, near Hampton Loade.
- The Thirty Nine Steps(1978) was partly filmed on the railway, specifically where Hannay (Robert Powell) hangs from Victoria Bridge.
- The BBC TV children’s series God’s Wonderful Railway (1980) was filmed on the SVR.
- Bridgnorth station was used in 1981 as part of a sketch for the TV comedy Not the Nine O’Clock News.
- In 1984, scenes for the BBC TV series The District Nurse were filmed at Bewdley station.
- Also in 1984, Arley station was used for the BBC TV adaptation of The Box of Delights.
- The SVR featured in the 1987 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple novel, 4.50 From Paddington. Scenes were shot in and around Bewdley station.
- Scenes featuring LMS 4MT No 43106 were included in 1987 TV serial Knights of God.
- The railway was used for the 1990s sitcom Oh, Doctor Beeching! featuring Paul Shane, Su Pollard and Jeffrey Holland. The exterior shots were filmed in Arley station.
- Bewdley station doubled for ‘Hilton’ railway station in the 1992 Merchant Ivory film Howards End.
- Part of the 1995 comedy The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain, starring Hugh Grant, was shot at Hampton Loade station
- Goodnight Mister Tom had its station sequences filmed in 1998 at Arley.
- In the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, GWR Manor No 7802 Bradley Manor appeared with the train that brought the Pevensies to the Professor’s house.
- Victoria Bridge appears briefly in the 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows when Holmes pushes Dr Watson’s wife, Mary, off a train as it goes over a bridge.
- In 2012, the BBC2 series Great British Railway Journeys, presented by Michael Portillo, visited the SVR for its fourth series which was broadcast in January 2013.
Pick up your eight-page souvenir special supplement in today's Express & Star and Shropshire Star.
- Do you have fond memories of the Severn Valley Railway? Leave your comments below