The Double Deckerland Location Adventure
by David Noades(All photos in this section are copyrighted by law and are used by permission)
Although there are five episodes of The Double Deckers which contain no location footage at all -- The Case of the Missing Doughnut, Get a Movie On, Scooper Strikes Out, Man's Best Friend, United We Stand -- all the others included some location shots, most notably Tiger Takes Off and The Go Karters which are practically filmed records of Borehamwood and the surrounding area. This occurred because the studios (at the time owned by the Associated British Picture Corporation) were located in Borehamwood, and the producers saved money by doing the location filming on their doorstep. This was quite common place for productions made at these studios which included many ABC and ITC titles including The Avengers, Department S, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The Prisoner and The Protectors. While Tony McKay's superb Avengerland website (and book) lists most of these locations it doesn't go into much detail, and omits several altogether. So I decided to do a little investigation of my own and have uncovered a lot of information which I would like to share with Deckers fans.
Apart from some stock footage of a Saunders-Roe hovercraft (SRN 1) setting off at either Ramsgate or Dover in the opening episode, Tiger Takes Off, and a couple of brief glimpses of The London Palladium in Barney (and the London scenes in the opening titles), all the remaining footage used in the series was specially created. And all of it was filmed in the Borehamwood-Aldenham-Watford area, with the exception of the go kart track in The Go Karters (which was in Hoddesdon - more about this later), Knebworth House, and what must have been rather an expensive shot to create of Doughnut feeding the pigeons in London's Trafalgar Square. This appeared in the first episode, Tiger Takes Off, and presumably was included to give the impression that the show really was set in London as the gang's scrap yard HQ (in Water Works Road, as we discover in The Pop Singer) is supposed to be in the East End -- presumably Wapping. Of course, course this is fooling no one, and even as a child I wondered why apart from a the studio set of the scrapyard, and the streets outside, most of the location footage looked out of place, and not very much like London.
The information gathered here was collected over three separate journeys to what I have decided to call Double Deckerland in Feb, May and June 2001. So armed with just a map, some stills taken from the show and my trusty bicycle (like Sticks in Summer Camp) I headed "To the countryside"! Perhaps I should have travelled on a double decker bus, but apart from the fact that there aren't any which travel from Watford to Borehamwood, being on a bike gives you more access to out of the way places, and it's much more fun!
Aldenham and Letchmore Heath
The Cinema and Public Library
The Borehamwood Estate
The Stately Home and the Go-Kart Track
The Opening Titles
Go For A Take