“Jenkins! Chap with wings there, five rounds rapid!” –The Brigadier in The Daemons, a Dr. Who shot in Aldbourne and including the Blue Boar
Okay, here’s a confession. I’m a Dr. Who fan, and I once named my car after a Dr. Who sidekick (Leela, and I loved that 1974 Monte Carlo, right down to the pot plants that grew in the floor boards because the seeds were watered by the leaky windscreens).
I first saw a Dr. Who nearly 30 years ago, visiting a friend in St. Louis who was watching one starring Tom Baker, also for the first time, with her sister at their folks’ house. “Come in quick. You have GOT to see this,” the sister frantically insisted. PBS used to show whole series of Dr. Who as if they were a single, 4-5 hour-long episode and so the weirdness just seemed to multiply. It didn’t help that I showed up higher than a Georgia Pine (as you do) and that they quickly rigged a piece of PVC pipe out the glass door so that we could continue getting high by blowing the smoke through it without alerting the parental units of our activities. For other Who-vians, this episode cluster involved the Sontorans and the Daleks…that should be enough to narrow it down for any of you lot.
So, a while back I shortlisted a bunch of pubs but so many that I forget why they are shortlisted. Planning this Friday’s run, I looked through the ones near my house (well, not too far, anyway) and pulled the Blue Boar out of the pile. Very nice indeed, and it should have been on the list entirely on its own merits but there were other things than a good selection of ales and ciders and an interesting food menu to recommend this ancient alehouse.
Indeed, as it turns out, the producers of Dr. Who filmed one of the seminal series of the Jon Pertwee era here, in 1971. It was a run known as the Daemons, featuring devils and the Master. Very cool. The bar was renamed the Cloven Hoof for the shoot, and the town was called Devil’s End with the Master posing as the town’s new vicar. Here is a shot of the village green seen from the pub (above) and from the series (on youtube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcPDDPIYgxQ.
The Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division were billeted here in the Second World War, too and the pub served as the Officer’s Mess (although the landlord let the enlisted ranks in as soon as the brass buggered off). The old men of this era still reunite here annually close to D-Day, albeit in dwindling numbers, and the village still holds warm memories of Americans (rare in this day and age). If you want to know more of this bit, the early chapters of Band of Brothers (you might know the HBO series of this book) are a good starting point.
But, returning to Dr. Who, I remembered that there was a garbage bin of interest and asked the barman about it. He grinned and said that the guy who made it is a regular and is designing a Dalek bin to accompany it: