The village of Shawford, near Winchester, became the unlikely focus for the nations comedy enthusiasts on Saturday when it emerged that one of Britain’s best-loved TV characters would meet his demise there.
Whinging Victor Meldrew, of One Foot in the Grave, will be killed off in a dramatic accident in the final series to be screened later this year.
And it all happens next to Shawford railway bridge, chosen for its picturesque setting by BBC chiefs.
A television crew of 60 people and 27 vehicles filmed the scene early on Friday morning, watched by more than 70 drinkers at the nearby Bridge Hotel.
The hilarious character played by Richard Wilson becomes the victim of a hit-and-run driver who mounts the pavement at high speed and hits Victor as he waits for a lift.
Famous for his outbursts of “I don’t belieeeve it!”, he will appear in his last scene peering down Shawford Road after a disastrous day.
He watches headlights emerging from the rain, but before he can work out if the car is his lift, it swerves towards him.
The much-loved misery crashes down, his famous tweed cap floating into the gutter. The poignant scene. complete with false rain, ends with screen wife Margaret, played by Annette Crosby, arriving to find Victor dead.
Richard Wilson told the Chronicle that Shawford was “the perfect place” for Victor to end his days.
“I can’t give any thing away, but I can see why we’ve come here. It’s very picturesque.” he said.
Bridge Hotel manager. Peter Airey. hosted the TV crew which filmed well into the early hours.
“It’s quite a coup for Shawford. We will go down in TV history as the place where Victor Meldrew died.”
The show has filmed occasionally at Bournemouth since it started in 1989, but this is the only time production has gone further afield.
The crew also filmed a funeral scene at a secret location in Hampshire on Wednesday.
by David Banks
HAMPSHIRE CHRONICLE, FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000
Extracts from the Hampshire Chronicle reproduced by permission of the Editor