On Location: The Worm That Turned (Part 2)

(You can view Part One right HERE)

‘The Worm That Turned’ is wonderful for me, as I’m based in the South West of England and the vast majority (infact – all!) of this serial was filmed within a 40 mile radius of where I live. Over the years, I have been able to identify some locations just based on my own local knowledge.

But there is one location that has always evaded me, despite its distinctive architecture and setting. I’m talking about the ‘Border Crossing’ from the final instalment of the serial – where Diana Dors famously confronts The Two Ronnies.

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(The distinctive border crossing proved very difficult to track down)

Wherever the Ronnies went, they gathered great attention – and given that this serial was entirely filmed on location, there are plenty of images and stories out there. But not relating to this location! Even some of the series’ most famous publicity photographs were taken here – but I still couldn’t track it down.

 

(some of the most famous publicity photographs were taken by the BBC at this location – all images Copyright BBC)

 

For years, I tried to track it down. I knew it must be in the Dursley / Thornbury / Berkeley area – as that is where most other scenes were shot. It took me a great deal of time to work out what the building’s purpose actually was. In the episode, they call it a railway crossing – but there is no proof of this in the episode. I had naturally assumed it was a Railway crossing as so many of the features fit – the barricades, the lights etc. But a close inspection of the scene shows that there are no railway lines present. So what is it? Well, I’m pleased to announce, that after 3-4 years of searching – it is infact – Purton Upper Bridge (a swing bridge over the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal) in Purton, near Berkeley . How did I find it? Well – it’s a long story involving a few hours and following the canal from top to bottom on Google Maps. But, at last, I had tracked it down.

A few hours later, and I’m in my car travelling to the very location. To my absolute surprise, it has barely changed. At all. Purton is a lovely quaint village with only a few houses, a church and a carpark. Purton Upper Bridge is a popular spot for dog walkers accessing the canal, and was rather busy when I visited.

Please view the comparison shots that I’ve been able to match up. The location is remarkable.

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(Glimpsed briefly in a fading shot, it’s incredible how little has changed. The phone box and wonky telegraph pole still exist to this day)

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(The car park layout has changed slightly, and the Bridge Keeper’s House is now a different colour, but it’s physically identical to how it was in the episode)

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(The church which had plagued me for years – is actually the church of St John The Evangelist in Purton. It’s difficult to see it’s size during the scene, but it is surprisingly small. Again, everything here remains unchanged – the bench, notice board and even gate posts are as they were the day of filming)

 

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(The white picket fence, which I believe to be the same fence, still remains (although its lost it’s colour). The sentry box (and notice board) seen during the scene was obviously a prop put there specifically for filming)

 

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(Another shot of St John The Evangelist Church, seen over Ronnie B’s shoulder)

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(The escape to freedom…nearly! The motorised swing-bridge remains virtually untouched. Note the original warning signals still in situ, and the identical barricades which are still used to this day)

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(The Engine House as seen behind the Two Ronnies. Interestingly, we now realise that the prop notice-board behind them was actually placed there to block the canal from view of the camera – thus destroying the illusion of it being a border crossing!)

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(I was shocked to see that the original ‘STOP’ sign still exists to this day. The pole is a little shorter, but its the same sign!)

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(The famous doorway from which Diana Dors emerges – same door, same columns (which are apparently listed) but now a different colour)

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(The lamp post on which Diana Dors leans against when confronted by a mouse has been changed for a modern plastic one, but the old gate still remains!)

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(A slightly unusual angle, but the unusual paving slabs are still present)

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(The ‘Union Jill’ flag long gone, the facade remains largely untouched)

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(And so to freedom! The Two Ronnies head for Wales, whereas infact it’s a water treatment works!)

We’re very pleased to have added this location to our archives. BUT – there are plenty more yet to track down. Do you know of a Two Ronnies filming location? Do you have any photographs of them filming? If so – I’d love to hear from you! Click here to contact us.

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