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Article probably from the TV Times, 2nd June 1973, written by Simon Lee
So Hunter's Walk Goes On The Map
He was a very nice gentleman. He said he would like to put my house on telly

Rushden is a Town living on its feet. It is a "leather town" and one of the chief occupations there is making boots and shoes, and leather gear. It is not a place of booming prosperity—though the current vogue for leather jackets and overcoats is a help—and when Dr Beeching (now Lord Beeching) closed the railway line they say the place died a little.

The old railway station yard is overgrown with weeds; tracks have been uprooted. If you want to catch a train now you go five miles across country to Wellingborough. Rushden is a quiet town—"deadly" according to many of its teenagers. Its long meandering main street gives it a rural atmosphere in spite of its 22,000 population and Urban District status.

Finding itself as the "model" for the imaginary town of Broadstone in the new police series Hunter'sWalk, which starts on Monday is unlikely to go to anyone's head.

At the railway station

Ruth Madoc and Ewan Hooper get to grips with a dialect coach David Neil (with cap)

Lord Ted Willis says: "Hunter's Walk is a street in the town of Broadstone. The police station there takes it name from the street."

The rest was up to Ben Bentley, the unit co-ordinator, who finds suitable locations. Rushden fitted like one of its well-made shoes.

It is 64 miles north of London and is on the A6 between Milton Ernest and Higham Ferrers. "A footwear manufacturing town," is how the A.A. Road Book describes it. The Northampton telephone directory area, of which Rushden forms a small part, lists a swimming bath in Station Road, the golf dub at Higham Ferrers, a hospital and a local paper, the Echo.

Other subscribers include the town’s rugby and soccer clubs, the Trade Union Club and Institute, the Rushden Town Band Working Men's Club and a second Working Men's Club. And there's the Rushden Youth Centre, though according to many youngsters it is not much patronised you spend an evening in Kettering or Northampton where there is, at least, a disco, but no late buses.

When the ATV unit arrived with its double-decker bus (used as a canteen) and parked it in the disused railway station yard, Rushden police station pinned a list of shooting locations to its notice board, in case anyone wanted to watch themselves being turned into temporary citizens of Broadstone. Few seized the opportunity. When they were filming in Midland Road, young mothers with prams hurried past as though afraid of getting in the way.

The only spectators watching the crew of 30 film-makers was a teacher and 23 of his camera group from Westfield Boys' Secondary School, Wellingborough. When the local paper had carried news of the location filming, 26-year-old Adrian Tilley had asked ATV if the boys could watch real photographers in action.

They stayed all day, until a police car, blue light flashing and cameras in close pursuit, screamed up Midland Road for the last time. What few of them probably even noticed was the lone figure of Ben Bentley, walking up the road doing the last part of his job as co-ordinator—making sure that everything was left as he first found it.

"This often means going round picking up the litter myself," said Bentley. "The biggest snag we ever meet is following another film unit that hasn't been quite as fussy."

Finding the locations for Hunter's Walk was a routine job for Bentley, one of television's 'Mr. Fixit'. He has files on property ranging from stately homes to slums as well as woodlands suitable for scenes of love or violence.

"I have to be a bit of a salesman to persuade people to lend their homes or property for location shots," he said. "When I see a stately home which might be suitable for location I go through the gate and am sometimes met by a gamekeeper carrying a shot gun and accompanied by dogs. I show my card, admit I'm trespassing and explain what I want. So far, I've never been thrown out."

It was the same when Bentley called on Mrs. Gladys Wilkins, a 75-year-old widow who lives alone in one of the terraced houses off Midland Road.

Despite the police warnings about bogus rent and rate collectors and others who prey on old ladies, Mrs. Wilkins welcomed him warmly when Bentley rang her front door bell.

"Well," she said afterwards, "he was a very nice gentleman and he seemed genuine enough, so I let him in. He said he would like to put my house on telly."

And that's where it and the town are going to be. Except that now they are calling it Broadstone.

Who's Who
News clip submitted by Jim McAlwane
He now has a website for Hunter's Walk @ https://sites.google.com/site/hunterswalk1973

The Rushden Echo, 8th June 1973, transcribed by Jim Hollis

‘Hunters Walk’
It’s Left Rushden People Cold - ‘I might give it another chance’

Rushden hit the nation’s television screens this week in the new police series “Hunters Walk” – but the townsfolk don’t think much to it.

After several months of watching film crews working on location shots in and around the town for most people the first episode was a let-down.

“I only saw it to see Rushden. I don’t think it’s as good as it could be but I might have another look next week” said Mrs. Lynne Butler of 46 Arkwright Road.

And Mrs. Butler wasn’t the only one to be disappointed. Miss Lesley Jackson, of 26 Windsor Road, made a point of watching the programme but wasn’t impressed.

She says: “It wasn’t very original and it was too slow moving. They tried too hard to get the accent right but I hope it improves with time. Overall I thought it was mundane.”

Very Good

Although he only watched the last ten minutes Mr. David Guest, of 18 Martin Close thought: It was like ‘Z cars” all over again. I only watched the last bit but I couldn’t recognise anywhere. And he added: “I won’t make a point of watching it next week.

The only person to speak kindly of the programme was Mr. Leon Wallis who keeps an arts and crafts shop in the town’s High Street.

“I thought it was very good. A bit slow moving but there was nothing far-fetched. Of course I watched it specially and shall probably watch it every week.

“The only bit I thought unrealistic was the way the sergeant was lazing about with his feet stuck upon the desk,” he said.

So Poor

And it was the same scene that caused a stir at Rushden police station. Real-life head of the town’s police Inspector Tom Dowdy said: “Officers wouldn’t behave in that manner. I think the majority of the blokes were very disappointed.”

He added: “It was poor. It didn’t show us in a very good light at all. I was embarrassed watching it.”



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