Oh Dr Beeching!

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John Ashworth
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Oh Dr Beeching!

Post by John Ashworth »

I've just got hold of the DVD set of the old British comedy Oh Dr Beeching!, about a small sleepy rural branch line station, manned by sleep rural staff, which gets a new martinet station master on the very same day that Dr Beeching's cuts are announced. It chronicles how they scheme to avoid being closed down. There are plenty of amusing parts. There's a signalman who keeps complaining about the "ruddy trains" which constantly interrupt his other activities, which include raising rabbits, chickens and turkeys, growing vegetables, repairing clocks and bicycles, and cutting hair; the ticket office also takes bookings for haircuts. There's a randy guard, an idiot junior porter and an idiot fireman who is under instruction to become a driver but can't stop the train without jerking it, nor in the right place. The latter, of course, is completely unrealistic, as we all know that firemen are not idiots! A murky past secret between the new station master and the head porter's wife (who also runs the station cafe) adds more opportunity for humour and innuendo. It's great to see the railway atmosphere and action, but I have to say it's not as funny as other British nostalgic comedies such as Dad's Army.

The locomotive used in the series is LMS Ivatt Class 2MT 2-6-0 no 46521, painted green with BR logos. The loco has acquired the name "Blossom", possibly just for the series. I believe the filming was done on the Severn Valley Railway. See here for some background on the loco and here for pictures.
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