Episode 5 of De Eglantier features a sequence where Captain Zeppos and Ben Kurrel are chasing
a suspicious white van they had seen outside Cara Wilmers' antiques shop. In an attempt to get away from their pursuers,
the villains drive their van out into the countryside and eventually into another built up area. They soon leave their
vehicle and are taken across a river on a ferry. However, the river does not pose an insurmountable problem to the good
Captain, equipped as he is with his water-going Amphicar. He drives down the ramp, crosses the waterway, and returns to dry
land on the slipway at the other side. Ben and Zeppos' quarry then board another boat and head off down river. Zeppos drives
the Amphicar into the water for a second time and follows in their wake.
This sequence was shot on the Schelde, the river which marks the boundary of Schellebelle, a small village in the
municipality of Wichelen in East Flanders. The initial sequences were filmed on the opposite side of the Schelde,
leading to the scene where the villains, the Captain and Ben cross the river to Schellebelle. This town is situated to the
south east of Gent, where a significant amount of filming for De Eglantier was undertaken. The 15th Century church
at Schellebelle - Sint-Jan Onthoofdingskerk - can be seen in the background of some of the shots taken aboard the Amphicar
on the river in the episode. This church was damaged by fire in 1580, and the majority of what can be seen today
dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, when the building was the subject of extensive restoration and replacement. The
church was originally dedicated to Saint Geriks, but was later re-dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
The ferry at Schellebelle remains in operation today, although the original ferry boat (a 3-metre rowing boat with an
outboard motor) was taken out of service in 2003. This has been replaced by a larger ferry boat which carries pedestrians
and cyclists across the Schelde at regular intervals each day.
It wasn't every day that film cameras were rolling at Schellebelle, so when the Kapitein Zeppos crew visited, it was
an event of some interest. Marc Van Imschoot, then a schoolboy living in Schellebelle, recalls the filming with great
affection. "As an eleven year old rascal, I saw Captain Zeppos drive into the water a couple of times, chasing the
scoundrels in their motorboat. The school principal gave permission to watch all this during school hours." On close
inspection of the footage (see above), a group of children can be seen at the top of the slipway, watching the events unfold. One of
them is most likely to have been Marc!
The filming at Schellebelle did not pass without incident,
as Senne Rouffaer (Captain Zeppos) suffered a worrying moment
while driving the Amphicar on the river. Many years later on the television programme Nieuwe Maandag,
he recalled that "I once sailed (the Amphicar) on the Schelde, for a short distance. When a barge sailed by (the car)
was smacked against the bank. You couldn't turn it enough. It couldn't sail fast enough." Senne had to return to the bank
and the crew had to wait until the water had calmed down before remounting the scene.
Schellebelle received an unusual award in 2005, when it was named the village with the most beautiful name in Flanders.
With grateful thanks to Marc Van Imschoot