Dir: Debbie Isitt
Starring: Martin Clunes and Catherine Tate
After an Ofsted inspector loses his memory and the school donkey, it falls to the pupils of St. Bernadette’s to find both
This was the third in the Nativity series of comedies, and like the first two it proved immensely popular despite scraping the barrel somewhat in terms of story. It also features some excellent railway scenes, and some quite rare ones at that. The first sequence is the longest, where an amnesiac Ofsted inspector played by Martin Clunes is taken to a steam railway to try to spark his memories of childhood; for unexplained reasons he climbs into the cab and drives off without the crew. This was all filmed on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, specifically Toddington station and Stanway Viaduct. The loco used is BR ‘Modified Hall’ 4-6-0 No.7903 Foremarke Hall on a rake of chocolate & cream Mk.1 coaches. The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (known as ‘the other GWR’) has been surprisingly shy and reserved when it comes to filming, this so far being the only known appearance of the heritage railway in a movie. The second scene is equally rare and forms part of a longer sequence filmed at Drayton Manor Theme Park, near Tamworth in Staffordshire. This includes a brief scene filmed at the ‘Knapford Station’ end of the miniature railway in the Thomas Land section of the theme park. Here we get a glimpse of Percy, one of the three engines used on the 2ft gauge line (the others being Thomas and Rosie) which were built and supplied by German ride manufacturer Metallbau Emmeln. Sadly, Percy has had his face removed for copyright purposes though he has been adorned with a Christmas wreath to somewhat make up for his loss of identity!! The final sequence filmed in London includes a shot of the main characters leaving Waterloo station, and though we do not see any trains here, one is glimpsed on the viaduct opposite, whilst several others are seen in the background to the dance sequences filmed on the South Bank. As these take place at night the trains are rather indistinct but there is a clearer shot of one crossing Hungerford Bridge. (Thanks to T.W. for the screenshots).