Blackhall Colliery

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And, as Eric disappears over that tuft of grass he suddenly reappears 35 miles away to the south in Blackhall Colliery, which starts the second part of the final scene.

Another iconic location, and one that is virtually unrecognisable now. The town was built around the mining industry, but sadly the colliery itself closed in 1981, and since then the area has started a clean up procedure of the beaches you see in the film. Initially black with the dumping of mining waste, the new cleaned up version now represents a bleak and desolate, but ultimately serene and clean beach.1

It’s a very quiet and barren place, I can see why it was chosen to end the film – there have been plans in place for a number of years to convert in into a nature reserve, but nothing seems to be happening.

I have visited, and whilst I searched for a while I don’t think I could nail down the exact spot of Eric’s demise, so any help on identifying that is more than welcome! My suspicions say that looking at all the available evidence, that the scenes were shot on the south side of the beach, as that gave the necessary pitch for the cliffs, and it seemed there were placements for the bin travels – but again, please prove me wrong!

Then:

Blackhall Colliery

Location:

Now:

Panorama:

Blackhall Colliery

Notes:

Due to Ian Hendry’s alcoholism at the time, Hodges decided to film the ‘kill’ scene before the running scene, fearing that Hendry wouldn’t be able to last the end to end filming out.2 So in reality, Caine kills Eric before he chases him across the beach.

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Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackhall_Colliery
  2. Chibnall, p159