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Quainton Virtual Stockbook - Quainton on Film
Jewel in the Crown
Actors - Tim Pigott-Smith, Geraldine James, Wendy Morgan, Rosemary Leach, Peggy Ashcroft, Nicholas Le Prevost, Art Malik, Charles Dance
Director - Jim O'Brien, Christopher Morahan
Writer - Paul Scott, Irene Shubik, Ken Taylor
Description - This award-winning television series was based on the novels of Paul Scott and chronicled the end of British rule in India between 1942 and 1947. The 14-part series took three years to prepare and many months to film. After two months of set construction, filming took place here at Quainton over a period of several weeks in the summer.
The Up Yard resembled "Little India" with two very realistic (from the front!) stations, and different scenes being enacted. On five bogie bolster wagons, replicas of Indian Railway Carriages were constructed by the filmset craftsmen and each vehicle was a superb example of the art of the makers, Watts & Curry Ltd. All the coach bodies were made of plywood on timber framing, which was exposed on the non-platform side. On the side facing the stations the plywood was covered with thin sheet metal and painted in Indian Railways brown-red paint, with white letters and numbers. No. 66 was the only carriage with both sides complete. Although it looked similar to the others from the platform, on the outside it was a resplendent Maharajah's saloon in blue and stone colour livery and a coat of arms on the centre panel. It was all most impressive.
No. 97, a third class carriage, had a wider body than the others and it had sashes and louvres on the non-platform side and was furnished inside with wooden benches and used in the massacre scene with plenty of Kensington Gore, the trade name for theatrical blood. This was the only carriage kept after filming was finished, and for some time it served as an exhibit for visitors to see. However, as none of the carriages was built to last, it too began to fall apart and had to be dismantled. Peckett 2104 was used for this filming, but never in shot. Details of the making of this film are available in a series of articles in the Quainton News Archive (see references below).
The making of Jewel in the Crown was described in The Making of "Jewel in the Crown", published 1983 by Granada Publishing / Harper Collins - with an introduction from Sir Denis Forman. The US edition included a still of one of the scenes taken at Quainton, the UK edition has a different cover. Both UK and US editions are occasionally available second hand.
It was shown in 1984 and repeated in 1997.
Availability - The episode is currently available on DVD from Amazon
IMDB - Jewel in the Crown.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 09 December 2017