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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 2 – Tim Coghlan recalls the two days location on the canals at Braunston for the filming, in June 1998, of the Inspector Morse episode, The Wench is Dead.

It was a long day, with much progress backwards, as the canal at Braunston returned to the mid-Victorian era. From early morning the travelling circus had begun to arrive at its temporary base camp on a field nearby. First and perhaps most importantly it was the tea wagon, which soon proffered the welcoming smell of bacon butties. Then there arrived a multitude of vans, converted old buses, new smart buses, carts, carriages, and horse boxes emptying their contents to munch the grass and sniff the clean June air. Then old cars for grips and the extras, and all those who did filming for love. Then, later, the new smart cars of the men who held the strings. The field began to take on the air of a fairground that it would resemble for the two days of filming to make at best five minutes of prime time television. Only the previous weekend the field had been rented for parking for the 1998 Braunston Boat Show, and the farmer must have been wondering at his luck. That show had been opened by Inspector Morse author Colin Dexter on the main prop for the forthcoming filming, the converted historic butty, the Barbara Bray.

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