Last Alteration: Wednesday 26 June 2019

Filming at Lucas CAV

Lucas CAV, filmed 2 May 1980

Reflections by Paul Champion, August 2007

Unfortunately, I saw sod all of the filming. I only got to hear of it a day later, when I heard that two of our colleagues who worked in the metallurgy laboratory had bumped into Tom Baker in the loo and that Tom informed them that they [Tom and the BBC crew] had been filming up in the roof space.

This came to me as quite as surprise since I normally got to hear about the imminent arrival of any visitors in case they might need logistical assistance to carry out their work. Although on reflection: the only active help they would require would be from the maintenance people in the 'Works Engineering Dept.' and perhaps 'Security' to waive them through the gates.

I'm was not so surprised though, that it went off so generally un-noticed. The roof space is accessed via the top of a stairwell that is only used as an emergency exit. The following is purely conjecture but quite likely I think: I would imagine that any works engineer (who are by nature,very practical people) knowing that the crew have equipment to lug around, would suggest they drive their vehicle into the yard and up to the end, parking it with the back close to (but not so close as to obstruct) this stair well. This is the shortest route to the roof space.

That end of the yard was used mainly for storage, so the van would not be in the way of anything and could stay there all day. As few people went up that end of the yard, little was probably seen of them. Moreover, due the the variety of activities that went on -in and around- the research block, I don't think they would have been noticed much if they had boldly used the main front entrance -just that using other entrances makes for a longer route. However, to use the loos, they would have to enter main vestibule area. I would guess Tom Backer would have been reluctant to attract too much attention on a shoot at any factory site, because of habit of factory workers to call out wise-crack comments at the top of their voice, bang on pipes, throw main power switches off and on, etc., etc., all of which might ruin the take, so I can't blame him for keeping a low profile. Had I been assisting that day, I would have advised him to stay out of sight just in case, and for the crew to park as suggested above.

I came across your site when looking to see if there was a Wikipedia article on Charles Anthony Vandervell. He founded the electrical automotive equipment industry and invented the car alternator and so on, but now he seems forgotten. Seeing your site immediately reminded me of the surprise we felt on discovering that something had happened in the building without most of us being aware of it until after the event. Suddenly, it seems like only yesterday!

Perhaps we should insist that the BBC (in return for our licence fee), fix small brass plaques at each of its out-side locations, giving: prog, date, time, etc, and placing the details on Google Earth. Maybe if enthusiasts start doing their own plaques with with great dollops of Araldite holding them in place, the BBC might be shamed into doing it properly.

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