The Princess and the mushy peas

Timothy Spall changing an oil filter aboard his boat Princess Matilda''w113103b
Timothy Spall changing an oil filter aboard his boat Princess Matilda''w113103b

HARRY Potter actor Timothy Spall spent last weekend in Whitby as part of a circumnavigation of the British Isles aboard his boat, The Princess Matilda.

Timothy and his wife Shane spent an extra few days berthed in the marina and took the time to carry out some much-needed repairs to the boat.

The Princess Matilda is a Dutch barge and the Gazette met the actor on the day he lost his “oil-changing virginity” with the help of Nick Thwaites, who owns St Peter’s Basin marina in Newcastle.

Tim added: “We’ve met a few marina devils on our travels but he’s an angel.”

The Spall’s adventures have been filmed for the BBC Four series Somewhere at Sea, and Whitby is set to feature in the third series, to be aired next year.

While in what Tim described as “the fish and chip capital of the world”, the couple also sampled some of the local delicacy, including “the really nice mushy peas you have here, not that powdered rubbish”.

Whitby first came to Tim’s attention when he visited during filming of the revival of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and he has occasionally returned, most recently when filming The Damned United in Scarborough.

While in Whitby Tim also returned home a piece of Whitby’s history, a zebrawood cane once owned by Bram Stoker.

The cane has a silver grip, with a faint engraving that identifies the artefact’s history.

Tim said: “It was given to Bram by the crew of the USS Chicago, where he used to sit and drink with the great Henry Irving, so we’ve brought it home.”

To find out more about what happened when the Gazette went aboard the Princess Matilda, catch Timothy Spall In the Hotseat next Tuesday.