During November 2008, I was approached by “Action Vehicles” as they were looking for a 1950’s Regal van for filming that wasn’t a girder fork type. 1950s Regal vans are in very short supply and the ones I know about are off the road. Whilst Lucie is a 1961 model, she is effectively the last model of the 1950s series with a wooden frame and side-valve engine and so as it seems she is the only known van of this type on the road I was asked if Lucie could be used. It turned out that the van was needed for the TV Drama “The Royal”, a British medical drama that is set in 1969 and located in the rural seaside town of Elsinby (Scarborough in real life).
The van for filming though had to be very rough and dirty and as Lucie was a bit too clean and healthy looking, prior to filming she had a “dirty make over” which was good fun and certainly changed the character of the van no end.
Thanks to the M1 motorway, it was just over a five hour journey from Tamworth to Scarborough though thankfully we were not driving the Reliant, instead she was attached to a towing dolly at the back of my car. It was just as well we decided to go down a day before filming started. After checking into the Acacia hotel in Esplanade Road (Highly recommended and exceptionally clean) we were then able to relax for the night.
We were on set bright and early next day and as we had breakfast from the TV canteen (a double decker bus with tables and chairs) we had great fun spotting various members of the cast. Many of them we spoke to and they were all such down to earth and friendly folks. We then drove Lucie down to the building that portrays “The Royal” in the program and managed to get a few shots before the cast and crew arrived.
Until the episode has been aired, I do not want to give anything away in terms of the story and so I will just post a few photos of my car on its own and update this page again at a later date. I will just say that Lucie is driven on screen by two members of the cast.
Thankfully once warmed up, Lucie ran great for the first lot of filming and then was required again the next day. Infact she was the first scene to be shot at 8 am. Again she ran well (or as well as can be expected for a car that is almost 50 years old) and our scenes were finished by about 9:30 am. It was then back to the base unit where she was loaded back up onto the dolly and brought back home. Thankfully the homeward journey took just under three hours as the roads were OK.
As mentioned, once the episode in question has aired, then I will update this page and add a few more photos. Lucie will be in the 11th or 12th episode in the eighth series set to start in mid 2009.
Update July 2011
Despite being shown in Denmark in 2009 and then both Canada and Finland in 2010, it wasn’t until July 31st 2011 that the episode was shown in the UK. In episode 86 shown on July 24th 2011 Lucie appeared briefly at the end with highlights of what was to come next week and then the week after the episode was finally shown (Episode 87 - The Enemy within) This was also the very last episode of the series as it has now been decommissioned due to cost cutting. Lucie appeared in two scenes, one where the Reliant is introduced to the porter Alum Morris (Andy Wear) and then the second when he drives along to pick up one of the nurses in it for a date. You don’t see the vehicle again after that but it is often referenced for the remainder of the episode for apparently covering the nurse in oil stains and giving them both flea bites.
The photos on this page have now been updated to reflect the filming more.
A video clip of Lucie in the program can be seen here.