1hr 38mins
Dir: Jon S Baird
Starring: Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly

A film telling the story of the movie pairs legendary farewell tour

This biographical comedy drama came out to generally favourable reviews, though it does differ quite a bit from the real life events that surrounded Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who were considered at the time to be one of the greatest comedy duos of their generation, and arguably of all time. It features some rail sequences that were filmed on the Great Central Railway that are used to depict the pair touring Britain by train. These sequences used ex-LMS Class 8F 2-8-0 No.48624 on a short rake of Mk.1 coaches. There are some lovely shots of the train crossing the viaducts at Swithland Reservoir, and some additional lineside shots, whilst the sequence opens with a comedy scene filmed on the stairs at Loughborough Central station. The scenes filmed inside the Mk.1’s used the real thing, but the view out of the window of Tower Bridge and the Thames is wholly a CGI creation! In addition to all this, there is a scene whereby Ollie (played by John C Reilly) is captured buying a newspaper from a stall outside Aldwych Underground station.

Stan & Ollie lug their heavy trunks up the stairs of what is probably Loughborough Central station on the Great Central Railway
Having got to the top we can see out through the wood paneled ticket hall to the street beyond
Ex-LMS Class 8F 2-8-0 No.48624 crosses one of the two viaducts that take the Great Central Railway across Swithland Reservoir. The film was set in 1953 so the loco is fine for this period but the coaches, all chocolate & cream Mk.1’s, are just too young for the period.
The train continues along the embankment and approaches the second, and larger, of the two viaducts that cross the water here
This is one of a number of scenes that were filmed inside a Mk.1 coach
As the tour begins No.48624 passes Swithland again
And as the tour continues on its way so does the train
This final lineside shot of the train shows it approaching Swithland Reservoir
Artistic licence is at play here in a big way. No line has ever crossed the Thames at a point this close to Tower Bridge but a landmark was needed to announce the pairs arrival in London and other than Big Ben I can’t think of a bigger one.
Ollie buys a paper from a stand outside the entrance to the Aldwych
Ollie begins to walk up Surrey Street. The large sign on the wall points to the Strand station, which is what Aldwych was called until 1915. The larger advertisement above for ‘Wounds & Sores’ is somewhat less appealing! The bus crossing the end of the street is another CGI effect.