Thursday 8 October 2009

Splitting Heirs

We've had an enquiry from Mike Brennan, who says he remembers a scene from a film being filmed in the Masefield Road area of Warminster, about 20 years ago he thinks, and his recollection of it is that it had something to do with a hot air balloon landing on a car. Mike wants to know if anyone can tell him what the film was called.

Danny Howell replies:

That was a comedy film called Splitting Heirs which was written by and starred Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. It was directed by Robert Young and released in 1993. Much of it was filmed at Longleat House. The plot is about a hippy couple who are really aristocrats and their baby gets mixed up with another baby and ends up being raised by an Asian family - but the child, when grown up, returns to inherit his rightful estate. I think the film with the hot air balloon landing on a car - a hearse actually - was filmed in St. Andrews' Road or somewhere near the junction of St. Andrews Road with Broxburn Road. The Warminster Journal, at that time featured a photo of the balloon landing on the hearse during filming. There were quite a few well-known names in the film. Eric Idle's character was called Tommy Butterfly Rainbow Peace Patel. Another ex-Python, John Cleese was in it too, and his character was called Raoul P. Shadgrind. Rick Moranis and Catherine Zeta Jones were in the film as well, as was Stratford Jones as a butler, and good old Eric Sykes (no stranger to Warminster) was a doorman called Jobson. Gary Lineker and his then wife, Michelle, played a couple dining in a restaurant. You can read all this and reviews for the film on Amazon and other websites. Doesn't look like it's released on dvd in this country but Amazon have it as an import (Region 1 players only). I have seen the film on television a couple of times. The last time I saw it on tv, a couple of years ago, it was on BBC quite late at night.