The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962, Tom Courtenay, Michael Redgrave)


Lester May notes "About one-third of the way into this classic British film of the 60s - some of which, I believe, was set in Nottingham - appears an AEC double-decker bus on route 38 or 58 to Bradford (I think). The bus is not dissimilar to a London Transport RT but is clearly not an RT and has provincial front bus blinds." Chris Hough adds "If it is indeed set in Nottingham it is just possible that the vehicle seen is in fact an AEC Regent III of Nottingham Corporation which carried Park Royal bodywork which had a vaguely RT outline. There is also a suburb of Nottingham called Radford which could be what the destination blind read. Certainly in the 1960s Bradford's RTs were never known to appear on interurban routes and Bradford always used City when running into the town centre from outlying suburbs. Many of the RTs in Bradford did not have their London destination boxes removed and ran for years with them blanked to accomodate Bradford's blinds indeed a preserved example HLW410 still sports a roof mounted number box!"
Having reviewed the footage, I reckoned Chris had it right; Stephen Ford confirms: "The bus is actually an AEC Regent V/Park Royal of Nottingham City Transport. There were 65 of them delivered from 1955-57 (running numbers 209-273, reg. UTV209-238 and XTO239-273). Route 58 ran from the city centre (Beastmarket Hill) to Radford (Addington Road) - always shown simply as 'Radford' - via Castle Boulevard, Lenton Boulevard and Hartley Road. The location looks like Hartley Road, just a few hundred yards short of the terminus. Like Bradford, Nottingham also used the destination 'City' for nearly all inbound services." Paul Canty throws a different light on this, identifying the location as Gordon House Road, London NW5. Certainly much of the movie was shot not in Nottingham but in London and Surrey.
To my shame I'd missed this until pointed out to me, but Paul notes the first of these shots has a London Transport AEC Routemaster passing in the background! It's on route 266, which was introduced on 3 January 1962 as a trolleybus replacement route. The second shot at night appears to be an RT family bus:
Also seen is this Plaxton-bodied coach, identified by Paul Canty as in King Street Hammersmith:
....and this Burlingham-bodied AEC Reliance. Paul Canty notes this is at Ruxley Towers, Claygate, Surrey:

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