Operation Third Form (Children’s Film Foundation)

Date: 1966
Director: David Eady
Production Company: Children's Film Foundation (CFF), World Wide

Stars: Sydney Bromley, Derren Nesbitt, John Moulder-Brown, Kevin Bennett, Ronnie Caryl, Michael Crockett, George Roderick, William Sherwood, Roberta Tovey
Location(s): London



When an historic bell goes missing from his school, a third former and his classmates set out to retrieve it.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson.


Buy this film on Amazon link

Can you help:

If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.

  • 'Now' required

Mr. Jordan the Caretaker rings the Dolphin Bell to mark the end of lessons at the Dolphin School. St. David's School on Rectory Gardens in Hornsey N8.

  • 'Now' required

Alan (Michael Crockett), Tom (Kevin Bennett) and Dick (John Moulder-Brown) throw a ball between each other as the third form streams out of class.

  • 'Now' required

The classmates make their way out of the playground. In the background stand properties on Rectory Gardens.

Dick, Alan and Tom stop to speak with their friend Paddy Probie (Sydney Bromley), a scrap man who has arrived at the school to make a collection. Outside St. David's School on Rectory Gardens.

image no 4

Peter returned two years later to take this better match after finding refurbishment going on in 2016.

  • 'Now' required

Tom, Alan and Dick ask about Josephine the horse before Mr. Jordan asks Paddy to return later for the scrap. Rectory Gardens in N8 with a house on The Gardens to the left.

Having forgotten his French homework, Dick returns to school as the early evening darkness begins to fall. Looking along Rectory Gardens towards High Street and the junction with Priory Road in Hornsey.

image no 6

Peter captured the location in daylight.

  • 'Now' required

Thinking that he's seen a ghost in one of the classrooms, Paddy panics before driving off after reversing his lorry into the post that hold the school's valuable bell. St. David's School in Hornsey.

Jill (Roberta Tovey) approaches her brother when he's been told to leave the school after being suspected of stealing the Dolphin Bell. The junction of King Henry's Road and Ainger Road in NW3 with the corner of Erskine Road in the centre background.

image no 8

  • 'Now' required

Becoming suspicious that the Dolphin Bell is at Paddy's scrap yard after an earlier visit, Dick asks his sister to help him. Looking to the south on Latimer Road W10.

  • 'Now' required

Jill distracts Paddy's new business partner Skinner (Derren Nesbitt) as Dick checks over the yard. Through the gateway runs Latimer Road, since renamed Freston Road. The background warehouses still stand.

Dick rides off in search of a policeman after spotting the stolen Dolphin Bell in the scrap yard's office. Bramley Road W10.

image no 11

Oh dear, it looks like this now. SJ

The Constable goes to the yard with Dick but Mr. Skinner has already hidden the bell. Bramley Road with the brickwork of the Trafalgar public house to the extreme right. Part of this row is seen in the background of image 016.

image no 12

And this has gone too. This can also be seen at the end of The Squeeze with also the background of the Trafalgar. SJ

  • 'Now' required

Paddy becomes suspicious of his new partner after Dick calls the two a pair of crooks. The scrap yard stood alongside Wilton Yard and the buildings forming the skyline still stand on Freston Road.

  • 'Now' required

After finding out about Dick's dilemma, the boys of the third form, along with Jill, make their way up to the office in Brian's father's garage to get a view of the scrap yard.

  • 'Now' required

A perfect view of the scrap yard is seen from the office window.

  • 'Now' required

Tom and Alan follow Skinner when he leaves the yard. Latimer Road W10, facing the junction of Bramley Road with the Bramley Arms to the left. The pub was seen in 'Quadrophenia','The Blue Lamp' and 'The Squeeze'.

Skinner approaches the cafe where he's arranged to meet the Boss. South End Green fountain on South End Green NW3, which was also seen in 'Make Mine Mink'.

image no 17

Peter captured both the fountain and the whole of the shelter. (RL)

Inside a corner cafe, the Boss (George Roderick) and Mr. Skinner talk about a robbery that's coming up. The cafe stands on the corner of South End Road and Pond Street.

image no 18

This comparison is from Peter who informs us that "The plaque is in recognition of the author George Orwell who lived and worked in a bookshop on this site between 1934 and 1935".

Skinner accompanies the Boss to his car. facing north on South End Road with The Railway Tavern public House on the right.

image no 19

Apparently Peter resisted a visit to the Railway Tavern, now renamed "The Garden Gate" but succumbed elsewhere. (RL)

Tom follows Skinner as he heads home. Looking into Regent's Park Road from the junction with Gloucester and King Henry's Road in Primrose Hill NW1. This junction was also used in 'Cassandra's Dream'.

image no 20

An up to date shot of the junction from Peter. (RL)

Looking along Penzance Place towards Pottery Lane from the junction of Portland Road with The Portland Arms public house on the left. The location was seen in 'The Knack and How to Get It' and 'Blow Up'.

image no 21

Now with more bins. SJ

From across the road, Tom watches as Skinner enters his basement flat. Portland Road in Holland Park.

image no 22

The basement gate's ironwork is still there. SJ

Two lads stop playing their game and begin to follow when Skinner leaves home. Looking north on Portland Road towards the junction with Hippodrome Place and Clarendon Cross. Scenes from 'Turn the Key Softly' were filmed in the streets ahead.

image no 23

Now. SJ

As Skinner nears the scrap yard, one of the boys phones Brian who signals to Dick and Tom.

image no 24

And it is still a motorcycle shop. Prebend Gardens, London W4 looking towards Chiswick High Road. (RL)

  • 'Now' required

Just as Skinner arrives, Dick and Tom climb into the back of Paddy's truck. Looking out onto Latimer Road. The site of the scrap yard is now occupied by the re-routed Bard Road as seen in 'The Satanic Rites of Dracula' and 'Sid and Nancy'.

  • 'Now' required

Paddy drives Mr. Skinner to a large posh house. The corner of White Lodge Close on The Bishops Avenue in N2.

  • 'Now' required

Skinner tells Paddy to go and collect an old hat stand.

  • 'Now' required

While the boys peer out from the back of the lorry, Skinner takes a look around the property belonging to the Admiral.

Taking over observation duties, Jim and Alan see Skinner leave his flat. The junction of Penzance Place with Portland Road in W11.

image no 29

Deserted. SJ

Keeping a safe distance, the boys follow.

image no 30

Chiswick High Road, London W4 looking towards the junction with Goldhawk Road. With thanks to Ray Glenister for re-focusing my attention to this film and for highlighting scenic aspects. (RL)

Alan and Jim see Mr. Skinner enter a sports shop.

image no 31

Chiswick High Road but no longer a sports shop. (RL)

When Skinner comes out of the shop with a set of golf clubs, Alan calls Brian at the 'ops room' as Jim waits outside the telephone box.

image no 32

Whether or not the telephone box was a prop it isn't there now. (RL)

Another team waits to follow Skinner.

image no 33

The growth of street furniture rather governs this shot now. Chiswick High Road looking towards the junction with Prebend Gardens. (RL)

  • 'Now' required

With a microphone and tape recorder hidden in their doll's pram, Jill and Brian's Sister wait for the Boss to arrive. The demolition site is off Latimer Road W10 and the right background buildings stand on Oldham Road. The area was cleared to make way for the West Cross Route.

  • 'Now' required

The Boss arrives and the girls position the dolls pram next to his car before leaving. Latimer Road with the building to the left standing on the corner of Blechynden Street.

  • 'Now' required

The two boys tailing Mr. Skinner meet with the girls as their quarry enters the construction site. Looking north-east on Latimer Road, Ladbroke Grove.

  • 'Now' required

Skinner arrives with the Dolphin Bell and the two discuss the next theft. In the background stands Latimer Road School, now the Thomas Jones Primary School, and the corner of Latimer Road and Blechynden Street in Ladbroke Grove. The location was seen in 'Hide and Seek' and this stretch of Latimer Road was also used in 'The Blue Lamp'.

  • 'Now' required

Now armed with evidence of the crooks' plot and with Paddy helping, the boys plan their operation as the girls creep into the garage showroom to hear the briefing.

  • 'Now' required

The operation to catch Skinner and the Boss swings into action as Skinner enters a golf course next door to the Admiral's home. The golf club lies at the end of Danewood Road in N6.

  • 'Now' required

Whilst his opponent isn't looking, Skinner throws his ball onto the Admiral's property before burglering the house whilst pretending to search the garden.

  • 'Now' required

After hiding in the garden, Tom removes a photograph from the camera showing Skinner leaving the Admiral's house.

  • 'Now' required

Mr. Skinner forfeits his game and leaves the golf course, followed by another third form boy.

  • 'Now' required

The boy alerts two more pupils waiting at a nearby bus stop.

  • 'Now' required

Skinner jumps onto a bus leaving the boys behind.

  • 'Now' required

As the bus departs, the two alert Brian in the operations room by telephone.

One of Jim's team is contacted and he hails the bus further along the route. Looking towards the border with NW6 from Finchley Road in NW8. The buildings on the left are Langhorne Court and Farjeon House of the Hillgrove Estate.

image no 46

Just south of Boundary Road looking north. SJ

The bus carrying Skinner heads towards Regent's Park. The vehicle, although once operated by London Transport, was owned by Red Rover of Aylesbury and displayed advertising from the Buckinghamshire town. Facing north-west on Park Road with Rossmore Court on the left.

image no 47

Not the best time of day for a "now" at the edge on the right is The Windsor Castle, a pub that has hitherto survived, (and was a student watering hole for me in the early 80s: yes needless nostalgia). SJ

The camera pans with the bus. The junction of Park Road NW1, to the left, and Gloucester Place, to the right.

image no 48

For once the now is clearer than the then. SJ

Skinner alights from the bus. Looking north on Baker Street.

image no 49

Same architecture. SJ

Clutching his golf bag in which a valuable painting stolen from the Admiral's house is hidden, Skinner heads towards Regent's Park. Looking along Allsop Place from the junction of Baker Street and Park Road in NW1.

image no 50

Now. SJ

Another strategically placed boy spots the crook before telephoning Brian. Regent's Park's Clarence Gate leading onto Outer Circle from Baker Street.

image no 51

The box seemed rather in the way. SJ

Brian alerts all of the boys who begin to head to the park. Looking towards Prince Albert Road and St. Mark's Square from St. Mark's Bridge over Regent's Canal with the spire of St. Mark's Church visible through the trees to the right.

image no 52

Peter managed to get smiles from the ladies! (RL)

The third form boys converge on the park. Facing Park Road from the junction with Baker Street at Clarence Gate.

image no 53

Peter provides the "now" with bikes still featuring. (RL)

Paddy arrives with a group of boys hidden in the back of his lorry. Hyde Park's York Bridge running between the Outer Circle and Inner Circle in NW1.

image no 54

After taking a number of bridges from one side or the another Peter has finally settled on this as the correct shot. (RL)

  • 'Now' required

Having seen Paddy's lorry speeding, a Police Officer catches up in time to see the scrap dealer march into the park with a group of boys. Ray Glenister identifies this as York Bridge, Regents Park, London NW1 looking into the Park from the Inner Circle. (RL)

The Boss arrives in his Jaguar for the rendezvous with Skinner. Inner Circle with the refreshment rooms in Queen Mary's Gardens, now known as Regent's, in the background.

image no 56

Peter witnesses that with the change of name comes a "makeover". (RL)

Dick follows the Boss as he makes his way towards Mr. Skinner. In the background stands the footbridge to the island at the north end of the main the Boating Lake on the path from Hanover Gate.

image no 57

Peter found that the old bridge has been replaced.

  • 'Now' required

Taking a drink from a fountain, Dick keeps an eye on the Boss as he sits down next to Mr. Skinner. This fountain stood between the Children's Boating Lake and the pathway to the island at the north end of the main Boating Lake in Regent's Park.

With the third form boys gather around, Skinner passes over the stolen painting in exchange for an envelope of cash. To the left is the Children's Boating Lake.

image no 59

This image is copyright Google Streetview and is the nearest possible. I'm sure that someone can do better.

Hearing a commotion inside the park as the boys chase after Skinner and the Boss, one Officer calls for back up while the other goes to investigate. Facing east on York Bridge at the York Gate end of the road.

image no 60

Captured by Peter with the trees in more colour and without "the fuzz". (RL)

More police arrive on the scene. Inner Circle with The Holme visible through the trees to the left.

image no 61

Peter captures the scene before the leaves totally hide The Holme. (RL)

While the Boss is being apprehended, Mr. Skinner attempts to make a run for it. The Children's Boating Lake in Regent's Park with buildings on Hanover Terrace in the background.

image no 62

Currently water-free. SJ

  • 'Now' required

When the Dolphin Bell is returned to the school, the Admiral (William Sherwood) declares a holiday for the pupils. St. David's School in Hornsey N8.

  • 'Now' required

Paddy hands the boys a new football. St. David's School on Rectory Road, Hornsey. After numerous mergers and restructurings the school is now known as St. Mary's Primary School.