“White Lightning”

“White Lightning” is a BSA A65L Lightning 650 cc twin-carburettor motorbike, registration number EVK 284C. It was manufactured in Birmingham – BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms – and was first registered on 12 March 1965; the “VK” in the registration number denotes a vehicle registered in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The history of “White Lightning” is as follows:

During the period that Boon was made, several minor changes were made to its appearance:

The current appearance (May 2004) of the bike is the Series 1 state, with no mirrors and panniers. It has been restored to full working order by the present owner who says “she has 3600 miles on the clock since full restoration, and is now fully tuned so she will do about 90 mph downhill, prone, and with a following wind”.

The bike that is shown in the opening and closing credits for Series 1 appears to be a different bike: the following differences are apparent:

While being used for filming Boon, certainly during the Nottingham episodes (Series 4–7), “White Lightning” was serviced at A Gagg & Sons, 106 Alfreton Road, Nottingham. There were actually two bikes used as “White Lightning”: one for the close ups and slow shots and one for the crashing and on-road scenes. This ensured that they had one bike in perfect condition while they also had one to play with.

(2 March 2005) I’ve just heard from the owner of another BSA A65 that was used in Series 1 and 2 of Boon. This bike doesn’t bear the registration number EVK 284C. I’m not sure when/where it was registered. The owner bought it in a dilapidated condition and is currently restoring it. It was seen briefly in the episode “Texas Rangers” as a stand-in for “White Lightning” after Ken has come off the bike and is repairing the mudguard while talking to Debbie: presumably it was easier to use a bike that was already a bit battered as if it had been in a crash, rather than to commit this indignity to “White Lightning” itself!