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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Ermintrude's Film Career

Recollections of filming Dancing on the Edge

Having finally watched all the episodes of Dancing On The Edge, we now understand where our short sequences with Ermintrude fitted into the story.  At the time we had no idea of the story itself, let alone what Ermintrude was supposed to be doing there.

The first shoot was in early December 2011 and Robert Spall and his partner Jo delivered Ermintrude to a spot on the A25 where I could drive to the location at Addington Palace.  On arrival I learned that the shoot would be after dark and Ermintrude took part in a number of rehearsals before then.  All I knew was that I had to drive a short distance following a vintage sports car onto the forecourt of the building with some musicians inside the bus.

Various camera angles were tried out at this stage and in one run Stephen Poliakoff and the cameraman sat perched above the rear seats in the sports car behind Chiwetel Ejiofor (who was to drive) and Wunmi Mosaku who were playing playing Louis & Carla.  The car had been driven to the location by a chap who had explained to me that there was a catch that had to be moved out of the way before reverse gear could be engaged and had to be replaced to prevent reverse being engaged accidentally.  He positioned the car immediately in front of the bus for each rehearsal and shoot and on one occasion forgot to replace the catch.

As the word ‘Action!’ came through our radios, Mr Ejiofor set off briskly in reverse before stopping just as Mr Poliakoff was about to be inserted into the radiator and the starting handle was about to be inserted into the sports car.  The look on the upturned face of the famous director will remain with me for a long time.  I was unable to hear his comments. 

We set off home quite late and I arrived at about 1.00 am having neglected to advise my beloved that my hair had been cut, my beard shaved off and I was sporting a black thin pencil moustache.  Her screams when she first saw me next morning could have woken the village.

The next shoot took place on a bitterly cold day in February 2012.  The location was Whitehall Place not far from Trafalgar Square.  It became clear that this scene involved Ermintrude leaving the National Liberal Club (doubling as the exterior of The Imperial Hotel) with the band.  Again I had no idea of the storyline.  From time to time we would rehearse a scene which involved the musicians leaving the hotel with their instruments, boarding the bus and being driven off.  There were long periods of complete boredom and at one point a Japanese lady came up to me and asked what was going on.  I replied that we were making a film.  She asked me what it was about.  On reflection, I think it was a combination of boredom and hunger and the onset of hypothermia that made me reply
 “It’s about Winston Churchill”

She thanked me and went off, only to return a few moments later with a small group of Japanese tourists.

“This gentleman is going to tell us all about Mr Winston Churchill and his film”, she gushed.  I let them have it.  I included a reference to a nearby vintage Rolls Royce as his car and ascribed roles to one or two of the actors who were in view.

I like to think that when Dancing on the Edge is shown in Japan, a small group of ladies may sit through five episodes awaiting the appearance of Winston S Churchill.

Saturday, 23 February 2013



Ufton - Final Update

I have had a lovely letter from Guide Dogs thanking us for supporting Ufton.  When we first met Ufton he was just a small puppy, still unsure on his paws.  We have been following his progress for two years now and in his final report his partnership with Robert has really blossomed and they are quite obviously a great team.  Robert has said ' I've never had a bond with any other dogs like I have with Ufton. He's changed my life 100 per cent for the better.'

Thank you for following my blog.  I hope you have enjoyed following Ufton's progress as much as we have.

Since the last update I have decided to carry on our sponsorship and oh dear here he is. Welcome to Scooby.

In the meantime I would like to wish Robert and Ufton a long and faithful partnership.  Thank you for letting us be a little part of it.

Jenny & Tony

If you would like to follow Scoobys progress please click on the link and type in Scooby in the Search box at the top of the home page.




Sunday, 10 February 2013

'Dancing On The Edge', Episode 2

Ermintrude (TE7870) finally made her appearance and we all thought how smart she looked as she set off with the band to meet the Prince of Wales (later to be King Edward VIII, who abdicated and brother Bertie became King George VI - it's all in 'The King's Speech').

The scene had been shot a year earlier on 4th February 2012 and it was a bitterly cold day involving hours of sitting about trying to keep warm although the bus seemed to attract as much attention from the tourists as the filming did.

On return home, Ermintrude's engine was removed for a delayed complete strip-down and to have a set of new pistons fitted as it had begun to smoke a bit.

We took the opportunity to carry out a number of minor improvements and as a result Ermintrude behaved perfectly doing many weddings and other outings throughout the summer.  Her last event of 2012 was on 7th December when we helped to promote the '1928 House' in Aldeburgh.  This house and its contents had remained unchanged since it was built and it has now been very sympathetically restored by Best Of Suffolk Holiday Cottages.  Details on holiday lets are at ''.  There was a short film on Anglia TV - take a look at:

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

TE7870 Dancing On The Edge 4th Feb 2013 

Well, bit of a mystery here.  We were assured by Ruby films that Ermintrude's scenes were in the first episode of Dancing On The Edge.  Sadly not so after we bought popcorn and settled down to await her appearance - there was a nice shot of a coach taking Wesley away but no Ermintrude. The story so far hasn't reached the part where our scenes were set so just carry on viewing this remarkable series.  In the meantime here are some shots taken during filming in Whitehall.  Spot Anthony Head, Janet Montgomery, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, Joanna Vanderham and Stephen Poliakoff.

Below is a capture of TE7870 in her previous livery in a C4 production 'A Dance To The Music Of Time' in 1997

Sunday, 20 January 2013


'Dancing On The Edge', a new drama by Stephen Poliakoff set in the 1930's begins on BBC2 on the 4th February 2013.  'Ermintrude', our 1929 bus, was used in two of the scenes which were shot near Croydon (in December 2011) and Whitehall (in February 2012).

Ermintrude provides the transport for the band and the stars include Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, Anthony Head, Caroline Quentin, Mel Smith, Jacqueline Bisset and Jane Asher, Joanna VanderhamAngel Coulby and Janet Montgomery.  Needless to say, we saw hardly any of the stars while making our bit!

 Details including a trailer can be found here:

Oddly enough, Ermintrude's previous film role was also in a film that included 'Dance' in its title - A Dance To The Music Of Time.

Angel Coulby

Between Shoots

Between Shoots

Ermintrude on her way to London courtesy of DJ Spall of Dallinghoo