1hr 20mins
Dir: Basil Dearden
Starring: Peter Sellers and Margaret Rutherford

A young married couple inherit a debt-ridden old movie theatre and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there

This classic comedy has a railway backdrop with trains featuring throughout. The ‘cinema’ was in fact a purpose-built frontage, constructed between the railway bridges on Christchurch Avenue, Kilburn, and loco types seen passing on the viaducts and over the bridges behind include ex-LNER A3 Class 4-6-2’s, and an ex-LNER LI Class 2-6-4T. The ‘cinema’ was adjacent to the entrance to Kilburn Underground station but no shots of this station appear in the film, possibly to hide the fact that the film was set in the Potteries. To aid this further, there is a stock shot of a train passing through Etruria Junction, Staffordshire, hauled by an ex-LMS 2-6-4T, with an additional scene of one such train arriving at Longton station. The arrival and departure scenes at the beginning and end of the film used Uxbridge Vine Street, terminus of the branch from West Drayton. The station masquerades as the oddly named ‘Sloughborough’ and ex-GWR coaches are visible in the platforms, but no locomotives. Finally, there is a ‘going away’ stock shot of an express shrouded in smoke, a similar shot of a local train passing through Longton, and some gratuitous shots of wheels and motion. A bit of a mixed bag, but some decent images none the less.

An express passes beneath the camera, laying a smokescreen as it does so
This is the former Etruria Junction, near Stoke-on-Trent, and a local passenger train hauled by an ex-LMS 2-6-4 tank of some description is taking the ‘Potteries Loop’ line to Kidsgrove, via Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall. This route closed to passengers in 1964. The lines in the foreground are those of the main line between Stoke and Kidsgrove, a route still open today. Shelton Bar steel works form the backdrop. The main works closed in 1978, but the rolling mill stayed open until the year 2000.
Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna leave the train at ‘Sloughborough’, which is in reality Uxbridge Vine Street
Turning around from the shot above, the couple make their way towards the exit
This looks to be a station forecourt of some description. Though not confirmed, this is likely to be Uxbridge Vine Street again.
A train passes over Christchurch Avenue, Kilburn, probably hauled by an ex-LNER A3 Pacific. The curious ‘smudge’ emanating from the cab is a trick on the eye. It is in fact a tree behind the train.
Passing over the bridge on this occasion is a local passenger service hauled by what appears to be an ex-LNER L1 Class 2-6-4T
Followed by an express in the hands of an ex-LNER A3 Pacific. All these trains are on the final leg of their journeys into London Marylebone.
Now we move back to the Potteries, and this shot of a local service arriving into Longton station near Stoke with an ex-LMS 2-6-4T at the helm. Such were the similarities between the tanks designed by Fowler, Hughes, Fairburn and Stanier that the exact identity is hard to confirm without reading the number. However, the sloping side tank suggests that this is a Stanier 2 or 3-cylinder 2-6-4. Oddly though, this shot has been reversed.
This is the main setting for the film. The facade of the ‘Bijou Kinema’ is nothing more than a set created by the production team. It is located on Christchurch Avenue in Kilburn, and is squeezed between two railway bridges. The bridge on the left carries the old GCR main line out of Marylebone and is being crossed on this occasion by an express hauled by another former LNER A3 4-6-2 on its way into London. The bridge on the right carries the Metropolitan Lines of the London Underground, on the opposite side of which is the entrance to Kilburn Underground station. At the time of filming the Underground station was also served by Bakerloo Line trains on the Stanmore Branch, though this is now part of the Jubilee Line.
A darkened shot of another express passing the cinema
The final departure scenes used Uxbridge Vine Street again, a once expansive terminus at the end of the short GWR branch from West Drayton. The station closed to passengers on 10th September 1962 and to freight in February 1964.
Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers, Leslie Philips and Bernard Miles on the platform at Uxbridge Vine Street
The final railway shot shows another train going away from the camera, in this case a local passenger service hauled by another 2-6-4T. This is Longton again, with Railway Terrace on the right and the old Queen’s Pottery on the left. The footbridge from which this shot was taken has since been removed.