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VC10s in the Media

The VC10 has not only inspired travellers and air crew, it also turned up in the media on several occasions. Over the years both period movies have used the VC10 as a background and more recent productions have used the type to bring that instant 1960s/1970s feel to the TV screen. I have set up this page to give an impression of the various movies and shows that feature a VC10. I'm sure that there are more examples, so please get in touch if you know of another title that should be included.


Movies

  • In 1966 the story of George and Joy Adamson and how they raised an orphaned lion cub and released her into the wild in Kenya was used as the plot for the British drame film 'Born Free'. One scene shows BUA's G-ASIX landing in Africa with actress Virginia McKenna descending the steps as Joy Adamson.

Copyright Columbia Pictures / An Open Road - Atlas (1966)

Copyright Columbia Pictures / An Open Road - Atlas (1966)

Copyright Columbia Pictures / An Open Road - Atlas (1966)
  • The movie 'Born Free' spawned several sequels, and although I haven't been able to verify this, the 1972 title 'Living Free' may have included some EAA Super VC10s.
  • In 1989 or 1990 XR808 passed through RAF Gatow in Berlin for a weekend, and ended up with a temporary paint scheme. A production company needed a fictional USAF transport and in exchange for a significant donation of £10,000 to the RAF Benevolent Fund, XR808 was equipped with fake USAF markings. The scenes may have been shot for a cold-war thriller with Gene Hackman (could be this one) but I have yet to see proof that XR808 actually ended up in the movie. Other sources have stated that the movie was never released, so perhaps I got the title wrong.

Photo collection J. Hieminga

Series

  • The 1980s television series 'Tales of the Unexpected' featured stories with some sinister or comic undertones, often with an unexpected twist at the end. In 1981 the Anglia Television company that produced it used G-ASGC as the star of the episode 'Hijack', which was loosely based on the D.B. Cooper incident from 1971. It aired as the seventeenth and last episode of season four on 26th December 1981. At the time, G-ASGC was already in retirement at Duxford but was still carrying its British Airways colourscheme.

Copyright Anglia Television (1981)
  • BBC's 'The Last Post', which aired in November 2017, was set against the backdrop of the Aden emergency. Shot in South Africa, the trailer featured an intriguing shot of a BOAC VC10 with passengers disembarking. Speculation about which VC10 had been used for this quickly followed, only to be quieted after CGI specialist company BlackGinger showed how a wireframe model had been the basis for this sequence. The screenshots below are used with permission from BlackGinger and show how the CGI model was used for several different shots and combined with footage of the actors. This video on their Facebook page shows the process as well.


Copyright BlackGinger (2017)

Copyright BlackGinger (2017)

Copyright BlackGinger (2017)

Copyright BlackGinger (2017)

Copyright BlackGinger (2017)

Copyright BlackGinger (2017)
  • On October 1st 2017, the fourth episode of season three of BBC's series Outlander featured a take-off shot of a BOAC VC10, relabeled as North Atlantic Airways, with another shot showing of one of the series' stars in what looked a lot like a VC10 interior. The production company may have used the interior of G-ASGC for this, but may have used generic seats with coloured covers and a suitable backdrop as well. The outside shot appears to be based on period footage with some retouching to change the BOAC titles to those of the fictional airline.
  • A Dr. Who episode from season 1 to 6 (1963-1969), further details unknown.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974), further details unknown.
  • The Avengers (1961-1969), further details unknown.
  • The 1982 mini-series Harry's Game from Yorkshire Television.
  • Unknown episode(s) from Soldier, Soldier, produced by Central Television and aired between 1991 and 1997.

Documentaries

  • In 1983-1984, not long after the Falklands conflict, RAF's 10 Squadron had the opportunity to show its day to day work to the public on film. In a cooperation between the Squadron, organised by Dick King, and David Hastings, who produced training films and documentaries about disused airfields, a lot of footage was shot showing the day to day operations. Using a Super-8 movie camera, they filmed all around RAF Brize Norton showing various aspects from training in the simulator, maintenance in the base hangar to pre-flight preparations and the facilities available for the passengers. One flight from RAF Brize Norton to Ascension Island via Dakar on XV101 is shown in detail. To tie in with the recently released Dudley Moore and Bo Derek blockbuster '10', the film was called 'TEN' and ended up as a 45 minute feature. After its premiere in the Squadron Crewroom, copies were sold on VHS tape. In 2018 a 16 minute selection of scenes from 'TEN' was included on Avion Video's DVD release 'Classic Airliner Collection no.3', which is available from their website.
  • VC10s were seen in the 2013 series 'Inside RAF Brize Norton', as they were still in active service when this series was filmed in 2012.
  • Discovery Wings, the UK TV channel, aired a show about the RAF that included extensive shots of the VC10 tankers of 101 Squadron.

 


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