Star’s ‘phenomenal’ East Kirkby visit

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A TV star who filmed scenes at a local museum for one of the year’s most watched shows has spoken of his “phenomenal” experiences during his visit to the site.

Top comic Alexander Armstrong played a key role in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special, which was broadcast three days ago.

He played World War Two pilot Reg Arwell in the special, and filmed a number of scenes at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre in East Kirkby.

The Standard exclusively broke the exciting news last month.

Staff at the centre and members of the cast were sworn to secrecy ahead of the show airing on TV

But now that the special has passed, Alexander Armstrong has broken his silence to describe his time at the centre and of filming on-board the museum’s bomber ‘Just Jane’.

Speaking to Doctor Who Magazine recently he was full of praise for the pilots who braved claustrophic conditions on board the aircraft.

He said: “Who wouldn’t want to fly a Lancaster bomber? It was phenomenal!

“I had to fight a bit of claustrophobia for the first hour in the cockpit. It was more to do with the really bulky stuff I had to wear, including a parachute.

“And you’ve got your normal RAF kit, with your tie and a jacket.

“On top of that, you’ve got a sheepskin coat. And a Biggles aviator hat on your head. And you have a lifejacket on...

“In order to get to the front of the plane you have to climb over, sort of, waist-height ribs across the ‘aisle’ of the plane. With all that stuff on it’s bloody hard.

“The skin of the plane is incredibly thin. As you’re walking up the middle, if they didn’t have proper boarding down you could easily put your foot through the skin.

“When I made it to the cockpit, I sat down in a sweat.

“I had to open the window and just look out, otherwise I’d have had a major claustrophobia attack. They’re very tight places.”

He added that his experience of the tight spaces had given him a fascinating glimpse into the life of a pilot in the war, and that it wasn’t hard to imagine flying the bomber over enemy territory, with fighter planes and flak coming at you.

Speaking when news of the centre’s role in Doctor Who first broke, its general manager Andrew Panton said: “It was a thrill to be involved.

“Being part of the show is extremely good coverage for us.

“Hopefully it’ll lead to a lot more TV filming here in the future,” he added.