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

Are you still there?



The foot feller came today.

- Who?

- The foot feller.

Do you mean the chiropodist?

- You've written that down.

- I haven't.

Hey, I've given you some script.

I'm just raw material.

- No, you're not.

- Hmm.


Are you all right?

Yeah. It's the van.

- It gets very close.

- I imagine.

You're tall.

My husband was tall.

I'm Mrs Vaughan Williams.

I won't shake hands. Gardening.

What, the composer'? Greensleeves?

Among other things.

Why? Are you musical?

I don't even know your name.

It's Miss Shepherd.

But I wouldn't want it bandied about.

I'm in an incognito position, possibly.

Safe with me.

Shepherd. Drove ambulances

in the war, apparently.

Well, where did she spring from?

- And a nun once.

- A nun?

In the convent up the street.

Still, everybody's got something to hide.

My brother-in-law's a policeman.

That's Camden!

People wash up here. Like me.

- Oh.

- Oh!

- She'd be a good subject.

- What for?

You. One of your little plays.

Remember, I planted the seed!

No. No.

I'm writing about Mam half the time

as it is. One old lady's enough.

I live, you write. That's how it works.

- Yeah, except you don't much.

- Don't what?

Live. Put yourself into what you write.

How? We're both so fucking tame.

Miss Shepherd? I'm Lois. The social worker.

I don't want a social worker. I'm about

to listen to the repeat of Any Answers?

I brought you some clothes.

You wrote asking for a coat.

Not during Any Answers? I'm a busy woman.

I only asked for one coat.

I brought three,

in case you fancied a change.

Where am I supposed to put three coats?

Green is not my colour.

Have you got a stick?

The Council have that in hand.

It's been precepted for.

Will it be long enough?

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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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