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Bringing the dead wench to life

Part 3 – David Blagrove recalls his role in the filming of the Victorian canal scenes in June 1998, converting three old working butties into four even older ones, and moving them to far-flung locations, for the Inspector Morse episode The Wench is Dead.

Back in 1998 I was running South Midland Water Transport Ltd and the fleet then contained three vintage butty boats, all ex-Fellows, Morton & Clayton Ltd. (FMC). Their dates of construction ranged from 1897 to 1921 and they were all in good structural condition, having been rescued from virtual dereliction by the Company Chairman, Malcolm Burge. Two boats, Australia and Fazeley, were in regular work and the third, Sunny Valley, was kept in reserve. Fazeley worked from Stoke Bruerne in the fuel retail business during winter and in general cargo carrying during the summer months, paired with motor boat Clover, while Australia was on loan to Alan and Trish Akhurst, paired with their own motor boat Archimedes, also in the fuel retail trade.

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