Radio On

Date: 1979
Director: Christopher Petit
Production Company: BFI, Road Movies Filmproduktion, National Film Finance Corp

Stars: David Beames, Andrew Byatt, Paul Hollywood, Adrian Jones, Sue Jones-Davies, Sting
Location(s): Bristol, London, Middlesex, Somerset, Wiltshire

Region(s): , ,


A man drives from London to the West Country to investigate his brother’s suicide and encounters a series of odd people on the way.

Additional Information:

Screen captures uploaded by Phil Wilkinson


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It's dark, but The Hippodrome on Saint Augustine's Parade, Bristol can be identified in this capture featuring the film's title.

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Now, in the daytime and featuring The Jersey Boys. SD

Robert (David Beames) arrives home to his flat above a cinema. The Plaza Cinema on Camden High Street in London NW1.

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Peter found the frontages that now take the place the cinema.

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After his girlfriend decides to leave him, Robert drives to work.

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The radio DJ listens to the news about a police raid in Bristol.

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Following a night at work for a factory radio network, Robert heads back to his car. The Gillette Building which stands at Gillette Corner, the junction of Great West Road and Syon Lane, Brentford, formerly in Middlesex.

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The dawn brightens as Robert heads home.

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Robert continues his drive along the Westway. Coming into view ahead is Canal House on Harrow Road W2.

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The car nears the flat where Robert receives a phone call advising him of his brothers death in Bristol.

As Robert sleeps, his Girl (Sue Jones-Davies) departs. Outside the Plaza Cinema, Camden High Street NW1.

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Outside the replacement shops. Picture from Peter.

That evening, Robert scans his neighbourhood as more news about the arrests in Bristol is heard on the radio. Looking along Parkway from the junction with Camden High Street in NW1.

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Peter captured the same corner from ground level.

The camera pans to bring more of High Street into view with the former Co-operative store prominent in the right of the image.

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The same premises now by Peter.

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Robert ponders his brothers death after deciding to head to Bristol.

After a haircut, Robert sets out for the West Country. Under Westway on Harrow Road at the junction with Westbourne Terrace in W2.

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Not that easy to access on foot. This is close to Westbourne Terrace but I should be a little further on to the west. SJ

This is the section of Harrow Road seen in 'Secret People' and, out of shot to the right, the long demolished location for 'Never Let Go' and 'The Comedy Man'.

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The traffic was light so I was able to hop onto the road for this one. Brinklow House is still towering over Harrow Road, W2. SJ

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Traffic is held at a a road junction.

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The journey continues towards the motorway. This is on the M4 as it passes through Brentford on the approach to Junction 2.

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An ariel shot of the Westway as it snakes through Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove.

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Robert turns south onto the West Cross Route in W10 and passes under the railway carrying the Hammersmith & City Line between Latimer Road and Shepherd's Bush.

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A plane comes in to land at Heathrow Airport as Cranford Bridge carrying Bath Road over the River Crane is crossed. Hounslow, formerly in Middlesex.

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A break is taken at a pub after leaving the motorway near Theale.

A deserting Scottish squaddie (Andrew Byatt) forces himself on Robert and is given a lift.

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Heading north west on the A4 towards Silbury Hill, Wiltshire (where the squaddie is dumped). Image Google Streetview. SD

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After the squaddie is dumped whilst answering the call of nature, another rest is needed, this time at a derelict petrol station.

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Robert takes to the road again.

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As the light starts to fail, a stop for fuel is made. On the left runs Hill Corner Road in Chippenham, Wiltshire.

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Robert searches for the attendant and finds him playing a guitar in a caravan at the back of the building. The former Hillside Garage on Hill Corner Road, Chippenham.

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The Attendant (Sting) plays an Eddie Cochran tune as Robert drives away after paying for petrol with money he'd taken from the till. Hill Corner Road, Chippenham in Wiltshire.

Robert approaches the city of Bristol. The Rover is on the exit road at junction 2 of the M32 motorway heading out of Bristol. In the background can be seen the North Stand of Eastville Stadium, home of Bristol Rovers until 1986 and was redeveloped as the Eastgate Shopping Centre in 1998.

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Now with Ikea and Tesco replacing the stadium. SD

To the right stands the Grosvenor Hotel as Robert drives over the, now dismantled, flyover to reach the city centre. Above Temple Way and Redcliffe Way, Bristol 1.

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Now. The derelict hotel viewed from ground level. SD

Robert asks around and is told of a club but when he gets there he's refused entry.

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The Roo Bar, Clifton Down Station, Bristol. The building became a pub after its closure in 1967. The line and platforms are still in use. SD

Robert walks away from the Platform 1 club.

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The Roo Bar, Clifton Down Station, Bristol. SD

As he walks back to his car, two foreign voices are heard.

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Clifton Down Station, Bristol. To the left of the platform entrance. SD

A German Woman (Katja Kersten) speaks with her friend in the background as Robert gets into the Rover.

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The entrance to Clifton Down Station platforms. SD

Robert offers the two a lift.

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Looking out onto Clifton Down Station car park from the platform. SD

The Rover turns from Temple Gate as it nears the hotel where Robert is staying.

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Now. SD

The Grosvenor Hotel stands to the left on Temple Gate with Portwall Lane East heading off to the left of centre.

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Now. SD

Robert lets the pair stop in his room where the German Woman explains she is searching for her daughter, Alice.

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In the morning, Robert tells the German Woman that he has come to Bristol to find out about his brother.

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The warehouses on Bristol quayside goods yard. Now converted to restaurants and retail units. SD

The temperamental car is started as the two set off for Weston-super-Mare where Alice's father is living.

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Waterfront Square, Canonsmarsh, Bristol quayside. The cathedral can be seen in the background. SD

The car is parked and the pair walk to the house where her ex-partners Auntie lives.

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Brislington Hill, Bristol. The car is almost in the right place. SD

Robert takes a break from the bickering being carried out in German.

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Brislington Hill, Bristol. SD

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His new found friend complains about the Auntie. Birkett Road in Weston-Super-Mare. To the right is Birnbeck Pier, linking the mainland to Birnbeck Island in the Bristol Channel and in the left distance is Steep Holm.

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In silence, the two walk across to Birnbeck Island. Birnbeck Pier is home to Weston-super-Mare's Lifeboat Station but has been closed to the public since 1994.

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Robert finds a phrase book in the woman's bag. Birnbeck Pier off Weston-super-Mare with the North Jetty in the background. The location was also seen in 'The Remains of the Day'.

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Conversation is stilted. In the background stands the cluster of buildings on Birnbeck Island.

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The Woman goes in search of Robert who is looking around the small island's car museum. The now derelict pavilion on Birnbeck Island.

After returning to Bristol and staying at his brother's flat overnight, Robert walks through a children's playground towards his car. Facing Kingsland Road from Dings Park in Bristol BS2.

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Now. SD

Oxford Road in Bristol looking towards the junction of Kingsland Road with a gasometer of Day's Road Gasworks along Day's Road on the right.

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The gasometer is no longer there and the buildings in front of it now almost completely demolished. SD

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Robert drives the Rover to a quarry.

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Finishing a can of Guinness, Robert leaves doors open and music playing before walking away when he finds that he can't start the car.

Looking westward along the shingle beach of Blue Anchor Bay in Somerset.

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Lionel and Cynthia Sear send this shot taken from just across the road from the Blue Anchor Railway Station on the West Somerset Heritage Railway. The WWll pillbox is now camouflaged! (RL)

Robert reaches a railway station. Blue Anchor station between Watchet and Minehead on the West Somerset Railway.

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Lionel and Cynthia confirm that our heritage is in good safe hands, the booking office and signal box looking west towards Minehead. (RL)

The signal clears and a train approaches. Facing Carhampton Road from the station platforms at Blue Anchor.

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Not surprisingly development has taken place but our railway heritage remains unchanged. With thanks to Lionel and Cynthia who tok this shot looking south across the line. (RL)

As the train pulls into the station, Robert crosses the line to board. Blue Anchor station closed in 1971 but was reopened five years later.

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Lionel and Cynthia capture the preserved scene in colour. with this shot taken from the north platform looking east. (RL)

The train departs and the end titles start to roll. Looking from the station footbridge towards Dunster with the Tor, rising above the village in the centre distance.

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A similar angle shot from Lionel and Cynthia but with the crossing gates closed. (RL)