À nous les Petites Anglaises (1976, dir Michel Lang)


Rob Sissons reports: "In 1975 a French film 'À Nous Les Petites Anglaises' was shot on location in Thanet in Kent. The film is about some French schoolboys who go to an English language school in the late 1950s to improve their English but end up chatting up the local girls. The film was given a limited release in the UK in 1977 under the title 'English Girls - Wow!'
Several East Kent buses appear incidentally in the film, but two were actually hired from East Kent for quite long sequences: 1959 AEC Regent V double-decker PFN882 and 1956 AEC Reliance single-decker LJG307. Both of these buses were still in stock in 1975 and in their original livery."

On reviewing the movie for the first time in 20 years Rob screencapped the buses and noted a number of anachronisms:
"Off the ferry and walking to what appears to be Dover's Pencester Road bus station, the French students walk past 1968 Maidstone and District Duple-bodied Leyland Leopard coach 4607 (NKL207F) (Oops - film is set in 1959!)"
"An AEC hubcap is seen while one of them extracts a broken wine bottle from inside his suitcase!"
"They ask a policeman which is the bus to Ramsgate. In the background is an East Kent AEC/Park Royal saloon in National Bus Company livery! (oops!) Probably one of the TFN-batch that were delivered as coaches then downgraded to buses"
[National Bus Company poppy red livery was not introduced until the 1970s]
"Finally they set off in a correct period bus - East Kent LJG307, a 1956 AEC Reliance/Weymann, which takes them to Ramsgate - the journey obviously takes a very long time, as it is bright daylight in Dover but dark when they arrive in Ramsgate!
[It's about 20 miles]
"The next morning, a fully-fronted 1959 East Kent AEC Regent V/Park Royal is seen going along Ramsgate seafront. One of the French boys is aboard." The registration is not clear on this screencap, but I currently believe this is PFN882; the registration is not seen till later in the film. from the same batch. As PFN882 was hired for the film I'd be confident it was used for the interior footage.
The conductor comes to advise him of his stop; he sees a pretty girl get on as he gets off. The bus is perfect for the period, but it has adverts for the National Bus Company! (oops!) A minor feature is that it has an illuminated PAYE sign, which would have been fitted in 1971!"
"There is another anachronism - a night shot of 1961 East Kent half-cab AEC Regent V/Park Royal WFN834 pulling up at a bus stop on Route 52
"After bunking off their English lesson on a sunny day, the students take PFN882(?) again for a ride down to the beach.
"PFN882 is definitely identifiable in a later scene when some students get off. Another AEC Regent V in National Bus Company poppy red livery is seen passing it. PFN882 has blinds for route 64 and an ad for National Express coaches!" This looks like another Park Royal half-cab from the early 1960s; the NBC logo is of the earlier 1970s type.
"The film has quite a few other anachronisms such as an advertisement for the Sun newspaper outside a shop, and there is quite a long sequence with an N-registration milk float with reflective number plates. But I don't expect the French viewers noticed them!"

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