Ask a Policeman

Date: 1939
Director: Marcel Varnel
Production Company: Gainsborough Pictures

Stars: Will Hay, Graham Moffatt, Moore Marriott, Glennis Lorimer, Peter Gawthorne
Location(s): Surrey



To save their jobs, a police sergeant and his constables make up a crime wave in a village without crime.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson


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Jerry Harbottle (Moore Marriott) shakes dust from a rug outside his shop in the village of Turnbotham Round. A studio set included for completeness.

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Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot (Will Hay) and Albert Brown (Graham Moffatt) prepare to stop a car. Philip Cummings having studied maps of the Claygate area (based on later Captures) that this and Capture 3 could be Vale Road leading to Horringdon Farm and the buildings the farm cottages. Unfortunately, Google Earth did not venture that far so local knowledge would be helpful. (RL)

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The speed limit signs are repositioned to make it easier to calculate the speed of vehicles. Facing in the opposite direction to Capture 2.

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Whilst escaping from a Headless Horseman driving a flaming hearse, Sergeant Dudfoot reverses the police car into the Squire's driveway. Distinctive brickwork may help to identify this location. Philip Cummings suggests that this could be the entrance to what was Ruxley Lodge, Claygate, now Ruxley Towers. The area has been very redeveloped although the old lodge cottage remains at the junction with Common Road/Steven's Lane/and Ruxley Ridge. The figures of a lion and what appears to be a hunting hound on the pillar might fit, together with the fact that other captures are in Claygate. Neither Philip nor I can so far find evidence to support but the logic fits. (RL)

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The Headless Horseman follows the police car. See Capture 4

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After discovering that the Headless Horseman is part of a smugglers gang, the three inept officers steal a bus to chase after their lorry.

The lorry travels on with Sergeant Dudfoot, Harbottle and Albert following in the bus. Facing north on Hare Lane, Claygate, Surrey.

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Robin Wareham sends this shot to replace Nick Hall's Google Streetview. (RL)

Police officers alert headquarters about the stolen bus travelling through the Weybridge area. Hare Lane in Claygate near Esher, Surrey.

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The same place. Robin also provides this shot to replace the Google Streetview. (RL)

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The lorry slows as it passes through town.

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The bus is stopped at a traffic light where passengers begin to board.

As the smugglers head back into countryside, the bus picks up the trail.

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Nick Hall identifies this location as looking east on High Street, Dorking in Surrey and provides this shot as confirmation. Image copyright Google Streetview.

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When a police road block is seen ahead, the lorry is driven through a gateway. This appears to be the entrance to Brooklands Race Track on Brooklands Road, Byfleet in Surrey.

Sergeant Dudfoot and his men follow the lorry onto a race circuit. Brooklands Race Track in Surrey.

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I don't know which part of the circuit the screen capture was taken but its use for the film is recorded at the circuit. The notice goes on to say "Allegedly, one of the main buildings in the Brooklands complex was used to house the bus during filming and the upper part of the doorway had to be cut away to allow for the extra height. The building is labelled "LBB MOTORS LTD" and is visible today."

With passengers still on board, the bus is driven towards the smuggler's lorry. The now redeveloped circuit hosted it's last race in 1939 and part remains as the Brooklands Museum.

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A part of the circuit that is currently accessible. (RL)

After crashing the bus into the lorry, the Sergeant, Harbottle and Albert run to escape arrest. Brooklands Race Track, Byfleet, Surrey.

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The circuit was built in 9 months with, the Chairman of Brooklands says, very poor quality concrete. (RL)