Caught by the River

Brighter Later

Brian David Stevens | 31st October 2012

8. Hampshire

Brighter Later is a journey around Britain looking out to sea from each coastal county

Today’s shoot takes place on the South Parade Pier in Portsmouth. The pier is sadly now closed to the general public, but if you’re a fisherman (or working for Caught by the River) you’re allowed on. Like a lot of piers in the UK it’s a shadow of it’s former self, never really recovering from a fire during the filming of Tommy in 1974, but it’s still a great location for the shoot.

Located mainly on Portsea Island, Portsmouth is the UK’s only island city. It is home to the world’s oldest dry dock still in use and also houses some well known ships, including HMS Warrior, the Mary Rose and Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory.

Looking out to sea you get a great view of the Palmerston sea forts. The forts that encircle Portsmouth were built in response to the 1859 Royal Commission dealing with the perceived threat of a French invasion. In 2002 the Spitbank Fort was used as a location for ‘Banged Up With Beadle’. For six weeks British TV personality Jeremy Beadle was locked in its dungeons. Cameras followed him as he coped with survival, plus learning skills with a different member of the public each week. The fort is now a luxury hotel and retreat. One hopes that the ghost of Beadle still walks the corridors seeing if the monied residents are ‘Game for a Laugh’

Famous Portsmouth residents have included Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Christopher Hitchens and Arthur Conan Doyle. Arnold Schwarzenegger also lived in Portsmouth for a short period of time although no-one is exactly sure why, and I as far as I know he hasn’t been back.

Portsmouth is also home to the UK’s only remaining hovercraft service, if this isn’t a good enough reason to visit the city I don’t know what is.

Brian David Stevens