Unexploded bomb at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood could be prop from Monty Python film

The Mound

The Mound

First published in News
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Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

An unexploded bomb discovered at a film studio could be a prop from a Monty Python film, a local historian has said.

The bomb disposal squad was called to Elstree Studios in Shenley Road on Tuesday to carry out a controlled explosion on a device found by contractors digging up the Mound.

Chairman of Elstree Studios Councillor Morris Bright said the device, which is being analysed by bomb disposal experts, could be an unexploded bomb dropped on the studios during the Second World War.

But former curator of Elstree and Borehamwood Museum Alan Lawrence said it is more likely to be a prop from one of the many war films made on the site.

He said: “The Mound wasn’t there in the 1940s and you’d expect any bomb that fell on the backlot would have been disturbed when they were digging it. Also it was a military base during the war and you think they would have noticed an unexploded bomb.

“Parts of the Meaning of Life were filmed at Elstree Studios and the Mound was dug up to make First World War trenches. They tried to make it as realistic as possible, so there could have been bits of shell and bomb lying around.

“Often the sets were left behind when they were finished with, until the next film came along, so it is likely some of the props were covered over in that time.”

The device could also be a prop from short The Dance of Shiva (1998) which was set during the First World War and starred Kenneth Branagh.

However Mr Lawrence has not ruled out the possibility it could be a relic of the world war.

He said: “There were a number of bombs dropped on Borehamwood, though none of them killed anyone. The air raid wardens did their best to record where each bomb fell, but in the dark of the night, and when much of what is now the town was open field, they might have missed a couple.

“There were a couple of bombs dropped on Hillside Avenue, one of which destroyed the school caretaker’s house, and a parachute bomb that landed in front of the studios had to be defused.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the experts say.”

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