Location³ #002: Windmill Hill/Victoria Park, Bristol (Only Fools And Horses)

It’s been a while, but here are some more comparison shots from the Only Fools And Horses episode, ‘Heroes And Villains’. Del Boy and Rodney have just spotted one of the muggers from the previous night outside Peckham Town Hall rob some old dear in the market; they give chase.

Most of it is pretty recognisably around the Windmill Hill area of Bristol: the pursuit takes place with Rodney hotfoot on the tail of our dastardly thief along Saint John’s Lane, whilst Del – laden down with suitcase full of gear – puffs his way in parallel up Hill Avenue by the side of Victoria Park.

The snatch-and-grab man somehow then ends up all the way up to Cheapside Street by the Wells Road (a fair old hoof away), before intimidating Rodney and chasing him all the way back past Del, and then into the garages of a block of flats (presumably Nelson Mandela House).

Now as you can see, most of it is a cinch to identify. For example here’s our mugger running out of Hill Avenue and past the southernmost tip of Victoria Park as he heads for St. John’s Lane:

Here’s the same place on StreetView (albeit not quite the same angle):

We also see that Hill Avenue/Park Avenue/Nutgrove Avenue junction a little later when Del huffs his way along:

Meanwhile Rodney’s not far behind the mugger over by the Peckham Rye Post Office…

…Which is actually on St. John’s Lane by Nottingham Street:

Now Del’s just made it past Nottingham Street:

…And on StreetView:

After much sprinting around by the Trotter brothers on the parallel roads of S. John’s Lane and Hill Avenue, Rodney closes down on the mugger up by the little shopping precinct between Oxford Street and the Wells Road…

(I lived in the Totterdown/Windmill Hill area at the time, and remember that Dillon’s shop, mainly because my then-flatmate, who did warehouse nightshifts, could never get served a beer in there on his way home early of a morning.)

Anyway, here it is on StreetView (showing its more recent incarnation as a Tesco Express):

As our hero and our villain turn the corner – onto an alleyway that extends from the end of Cheapside Street onto Wells Road – they encounter a corrugated iron fence blocking their way. Here’s the fence as it was in Fools

…And here’s the alley more recently, with no fence.

At this point the mugger turns round to face Rodney…

…Who bottles it, and runs away. The mugger turns the table on him, pursuing him all the way to a block of flats:

Before Del Boy, in true jumped-shark fashion, clobbers him with a suitcase.

Right, I’m done for now. The LLF has been mocking me mercilessly the past couple of days as I’ve been straining over maps and photos and screengrabs (to the point of rather uncharitably bandying around words like ‘Asperger’s’), so do me a favour and help me identify the block. Nelson Mandela House is normally said to be Whitemead House by Ashton Gate stadium, but I can’t square it (or its neighbours Winterstoke or Southbow) with the surrounding geography.

Similarly, I thought I had positively IDed this shot…

…as being St. John’s Lane from Newport Street, looking up towards Sylvia Avenue – the phoneboxes; the reversed ‘r’ shape on the structure immediately behind the phoneboxes; the shape of the roof on the horizon with the tree to its right; the fronts of the terraced houses extending up the far road, etc.

But the width of the foreground road seems much broader than on Newport Street. And then there’s the shrubbery overhanging the foreground street, as shown in this shot!

Frankly I am stumped. All suggestions gratefully received.

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4 comments
  1. Bert said:

    Right then, this may be the single geekist comment I have ever posted, but as I live just round the corner I couldn’t help but have a closer look…

    The last screen grab *is* Newport Street, but shot from in the park, which is why there is foliage in shot (and you can see the low park wall and a flash of grass at the bottom…) The one you thought you had ID’d is actually one street along – Park Avenue looking towards St Johns Lane (with the roundabout upahead, and the electrical contractor at the end on the right who always parks on the pavement… grrrr.)

    http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=51.437878,-2.585392&spn=0.010206,0.01929&hnear=BS1,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=51.43784,-2.585264&panoid=zhVNZr1OPZIUtCT2YEdrKQ&cbp=12,135,,0,0

    Cheers then!

    • Thanks Bert, that’s the single most valued comment I’ve ever received – I was tearing my hair out trying to figure it out!

      In fact I have just checked my original screengrabs; I have had them lurking on various hard drives since May 2006 trying to work out exactly where they were… (Off and on – it’s not been foremost in my mind for the past rising six years, I’m not a nutter.)

      I’ll edit the original post when I get the chance later to include your quest-quenching local knowledge 🙂

      • sdh54 said:

        I found this site late last night and read your puzzlement over where the last screenshot was taken – and I registered to WordPress only to reply and say that it is Newport Street – the ‘reverse R’ is on the Baptist Church where I used to go to their youth club as a young teenager back in the late 60s – THEN when I logged in just now to write this – only to scroll down further and see ‘Bert’s’ reply and then yours – and I agree with absolutely everything Bert said. I lived in Hill Avenue and most of my immediate family lived around the Park there. In fact when this feature length of ‘Fools’ was screened at the Christmas of ? – I got so excited when I saw Del Boy running from the bottom of Nutgrove Avenue into Hill Avenue and in front of my childhood home that I rang everyone, and now own a copy of that episode. ‘Peckham Post Office’ on St John’s Lane was where my Mum used to collect her child benefit – memories! ps: I’m so glad you spell the Bristol version of Bristol as ‘Bristle’ I’ve never used or know anyone who ever said Brizzle – where did that come from, Babber as well for that matter – it’s Babbie (and that’s from a Bemmie girl).

      • Ha! Cheers, sdh54.

        Whilst a lot of the bits in that scene were half-familiar to me from my brief time living nearby, the magic of TV (and some odd editing) threw me off the scent until Bert, and now you, filled in the blanks.

        I also remember for ages being confused by the (inaccurate) assertion that the Batman/Robin episode was partially shot in Broadwalk shopping centre – though it was only after years of living about 50 yards away from it that the penny dropped and I realised it was actually Broadmead, by the old Radio Rentals or whatever it was.

        Oh, and I remember Victoria Park having another moment of glory, as the location for a tryst between a post-Cold Feet Faye Ripley and some bloke she arranged to meet through Venue‘s ‘I Saw You’ ads, in a drama imaginatively entitled I Saw You

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