A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

Preston on Film, TV

and Radio

Film

Six years ago, Ann Fenton (nee Middleditch who was born in 1931) wrote, ‘Another point of interest, The film The Highwayman was filmed with Margaret Lockwood and James Mason at the road running at the bottom of Poynders End and Temple Disney, I think its the St Pauls Walden Road - my memory is getting fuzzy.’

 

In fact the film was called The Wicked Lady (1945), but it’s easy to see why Ann was mistaken - it centres on a nobleman's wife who secretly becomes a highwayman for the excitement. based on the legend of  the novel The Life and Death of the Wicked Lady Skelton by Magdalen King-Hall, which in turn, was based upon the (disputed) events surrounding the life of Lady Katherine Ferrers, the wife of the major landowner in Markyate, Hertfordshire. Released in 1945, the movie attracted one of the biggest audiences ever for a film of its period - 18.4 million.

 

The full film is available on YouTube (Link: The Wicked Lady) and what follows is a suggestion of the scene that may have been filmed near Preston.

TV

Survivors (1977) - The Peacemaker

Between 1975 and 1977, the BBC screened Survivors - a sci-fi, post-apocalyptic drama of three series depicting the plight of a group who had survived being wiped out by a global plague.

 

The Peacemaker (Series 3; Episode 7) was partly set in the then-derelict Temple Farm, a short distance south-west of Temple Dinsley (Link: Temple Farm). Below are some stills from the programme which are helpful in that they portray how the farm was laid out.

 

Foyles War (2004) - The French Drop

This popular ITV series featured DCI Foyle (Michael Kitchen) investigations during WW2. A minute’s worth of film for The French Drop (Series 3; Episode 1) was shot at Preston Green in the Spring of 2004.

 

Set during February 1941, a local murder investigation sidetracks Foyle's endeavour to pursue a position that would contribute more to the war effort. He is still itching to make a greater contribution to the war effort and there is the possibility of an appointment to Naval Intelligence in Liverpool. He and Sergeant Milner have to investigate the death of a young man who died in an explosion. The body was badly disfigured and the only thing they have to go on is the man's gold watch but they believe him to be William Messinger, the son of Sir Giles Messinger. Foyle traces Messinger jnr to a secret training school, Hill House, and determines that they're dealing with deception and competition between military intelligence and the newly formed Special Operations Executive.

The full episode can be viewed on Youtube: link - The French Drop

Radio

In January, 2012, the Preston Trust persuaded the BBC to broadcast Any Questions from Princess Helena College.

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(I am grateful to Adrian Hulme who provided the CD from which the stills from Survivors were extracted)