The Lady in the Van

Synopsis: The Lady in the Van tells the true story of Alan Bennett's strained friendship with Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman whom Bennett befriended in the 1970s before allowing her temporarily to park her Bedford van in the driveway of his Camden home. She stayed there for 15 years. As the story develops Bennett learns that Miss Shepherd is really Margaret Fairchild (died 1989), a former gifted pupil of the pianist Alfred Cortot. She had played Chopin in a promenade concert, tried to become a nun, was committed to an institution by her brother, escaped, had an accident when her van was hit by a motorcyclist for which she believed herself to blame, and thereafter lived in fear of arrest.
Director(s): Nicholas Hytner
Production: Sony Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
104 min

so what does that make ours worth?

Mind you,

our new neighbour won't help the prices.

Yes, we've met.

Last year she was

in Gloucester Avenue. Now it's our turn.

She seems to have settled at 66.

- Will they mind?

- I hope not.

We like to think we're a community.

Well, it's nice to talk to you.

So, what play has he got on?

We saw it. That domestic thing.



- That's litter, Mummy.

- Those are her things.

We thought you might like some pears.

They're from our garden in Suffolk.

Pears repeat on me.


Were you planning on staying long?

Not with that din going on.

I know what you're thinking.

Still, it's nice to feel

we're doing our bit for the homeless.

I'd like to keep it like this. Simple.

- Monastic.

- Quite.

- This is my bedroom.

- Nice.

So, do you like being in the play?

Love it. Love it.

So English. Just what people want.

Bed looks comfortable.

Well, maybe you could come around

and give me a hand with the decorating.

Sure. My girlfriend's a dab hand

at the painting.

Hello, darling.

You look a character.

Yes. This is Camden Town.

Oh, yes! I'm here most days.

I teach. And the pavement is my blackboard.

Now, I also sell pencils.

A gentleman came by the other day.

He said the pencil he bought from me

was the best pencil on the market

at the present time.

You're against the common markets, I see.

Me? Who said it was me?

- You're not the writer?

- Not necessarily.

But I'll go so far as to say this.

They're anonymous.

And they're a shilling!

You've only given me sixpence.

Well, it says there,

"Saint Francis hurled money from him".

Well, yes, but he was a saint.

He could afford to.

Sodding beggars!

I'm not a beggar! I'm self-employed,

and this gentleman is my neighbour.


On the move again? You didn't stay long.

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Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett (born 9 May 1934) is an English playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. He was born in Leeds and attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with the Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research medieval history at the university for several years. His collaboration as writer and performer with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook in the satirical revue Beyond the Fringe at the 1960 Edinburgh Festival brought him instant fame. He gave up academia, and turned to writing full-time, his first stage play Forty Years On being produced in 1968. His work includes The Madness of George III and its film adaptation, the series of monologues Talking Heads, play and subsequent film of The History Boys, and popular audio books, including his readings of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Lady in the Van" STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Sep. 2019. <>.

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