The Borehamwood Estate

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In A Hit For A Miss the boys accompany Georgina Simpson (Miss Petit) across Brook Road after school and you can see the distinctive tower block visible in the background (see pic 29). They then walk down a side street where they encounter fellow teacher Damaris Haymen. In actual fact this second street is part of Barton Way (see pic 30), and is located right round the other side of the tower block (film makers often cut up locations making it very difficult to recognise specific places). In a reaction shot during the discussion with Miss Petit the other section of Barton Way with the green in front can be seen behind Sticks and Spring.

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Within site of this location I spied a row shops at the end of Barton Way where it meets Croxdale Road and these seemed strangely familiar. On closer inspection it proved to be the shops the gang pursuing Tiger in the hover pass in Tiger Takes Off, in the sequence where a man in a bowler hat is splattered with eggs after two old ladies are startled by the runaway vehicle (see pic 31). However on the day I visited there was hardly anyone about, and the chances of seeing a gentleman in a bowler hat were pretty slim with this not being near the City Of London!

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This exciting find caused me to look for all the other locations on this vast housing estate used in the hovercraft chase in Tiger Takes Off, and it seemed that you only had to turn another corner and you found one! Eldon Avenue runs off Shenley Road, and at the other the end, where it joins Brook Road (near the school) I immediately recognised this as the place where Tiger swerves to avoid an accident, much to Albert's relief. The end of the road is still blocked off as a cul-de-sac, and the houses in the background remain the same. (see pic 32).

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My next task was to find the house with the old man and the walking stick, and I soon I found it, situated at the end of Wetherby Road (number 3) on the West side of the estate. The hovercraft emerges from the distance (see pic 33) and the old man leaps over his hedge into his garden in order to escape injury. As you can see he would have a much easier job today as the hedge has been removed, although the one next door, on the corner, has been allowed to grow considerably higher. In the same episode the hovercraft makes another appearance coming from the other direction when the man tries to cross the road again to Albert's cry of "There's that man again -- go away -- silly fool!". Here the hover flies round the corner from Rossington Avenue, past the distinctive church with a bus stopped outside. The church is the St John Thomas Fisher and Thomas More Catholic church, and it is still pretty much the same today (see pic 34) with buses still stopping outside as they did then, although the distinctive red Routemaster (double decker) buses which once ran as far as Borehamwood have been replaced by modern cream and blue ones. There is also still a post box on the corner (the postal service hasn't improved much though!).

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Later in Tiger Takes Off is the sequence where the gang finally give up pursuing Tiger, and the business with the walky-talky. This actually takes place at the end of Micklefield Way where it joins Wetherby Road, which is almost opposite the old man's house (see pic 35). At the end of this sequence we see the hover speeding down Wetherby Road again ("What do we do now? Run -- here she comes!!") with the shops in Rossington Avenue in the background (see pic 36).

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Also back in Rossington Avenue itself, slightly further along from the church, is the area where the hovercraft forces a postman off his bike. I immediately recognised the patch of grass and the small anonymous side road (which leads to some garages) along which the postman cycles (see pic 37). This area now includes some parking bays but it is more or less the same as it was back then. I soon realised that although many of the locations used in the extended chase sequence in this episode have been cut up (it's not supposed an accurate representation of Borehamwood), most of them are actually within a stone's throw of each other, which was probably done to make the setting up of the cameras and lighting, etc, easier. In all of these locations the houses have hardly changed, the only main differences being more cars parked along the sides of the roads, plus the appearance of modern utilities such as satellite dishes and double glazed windows, etc.

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Theobolds Street, which travels down the west side of Borehamwood proved to be the source of several more locations from Tiger Takes Off and a few from The Go Karters. A service road with modern houses near the intersection of Kingsley Avenue was used in the latter when Spring is pursued by the cop, and this view has remained unchanged (see pic 38). Spring then pops through the a gap in hedge row on his kart which actually takes place on the other side of Theobalds Street, at the intersction with Croxdale Road (and yes the gap in the hedge is still there!). There is also a longer service road further along this side of Theobalds Street used in both episodes, where it intersects with Aycliffe Road. In The Go Karters Spring once again encounters the cop who is travelling along the main road while Spring is speeding in parallel along the service road, both heading towards the junction with Aycliffe Road (see pic 39). This wasn't so easy to spot because there are some new houses in the background along the main road which were not there in 1969. After this Spring travels down the service road from the other direction, down a slight incline (see pic 40) which leads to Aycliffe Road again. Then he circles the cop a few times before whizzing off down the road. This takes place outside a large detached redbrick house on the corner with a school sign outside it (see pic 41). As you can see the house has been modernised to a certain extent although the sign has moved a little further along the road. The same house can also be seen briefly in Tiger Takes Off when Tiger narrowly misses the bread van ("Watch that van!" - "What Van?") with poor Albert hanging on for dear life.

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Further north along Theobalds Street is the intersection with another part of Rossington Avenue which was used just after the gang start to pursue the hovercraft, earlier in the same episode. This is easily identifiable because of the distinctive hills in the background (see pic 42). Meanwhile, further south reveals a different part of the same service road which is located near the intersection with Gateshead Road Road (see pic 43), and the hover is seen travelling along this section later in the chase with the gang still in hot pursuit.

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From here I went back to Aycliffe Road along which I travelled until I reached the end of Leeming Road. Here I discovered another familiar site, which is the place where Tiger finally loses Albert and encounters a policeman (see pic 44). The unusual flats in the back ground here have been repainted but are still quite distinctive and overlook some shops. Venturing further down Leeming Road bought me to the intersection with Gateshead Road and Brook Road where I found the roundabout used in both Tiger Takes Off and The Go Karters. The impressive church (St Michaels All Angels) with the Aberford Lake beauty spot opposite (see pic 45), although the construction site seen at the edge of the roundabout in the other direction is now completed and is a block of flats (see pic 46).

There are also several other parts of the Borehamwood housing estate glimpsed in Tiger Takes Off but these are really too numerous to mention and in truth are barely glimpsed for more that a few seconds on screen. Clearly a lot of footage was filmed and was cut up to dramatic effect.

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