A Smuggler’s life for TV’s Johnny Vaughan

Johnny Vaughan at the Smugglers Adventure
Johnny Vaughan at the Smugglers Adventure

TV presenter and radio DJ Johnny Vaughan explored St Clements Caves and delved into the history of smuggling, when he came to Hastings.

He was at the Smugglers Adventure on the West Hill last Thursday (July 21), along with fellow presenter Steve Brooke, to film an episode of the new series of Mud Men, which is broadcast on the History Channel, and has seen the duo explore the shore of the Thames for archaeological finds.

As part of the filming they discussed the rich history of smuggling in the area, and then used some of the artefacts in the caves to make their own alcohol.

Manager Trevor White explained that spirits used to be smuggled into the country in a concentrated form and the process was that they were watered down using glass ‘Lovi’s Beads’, which had different numbers on them and would float to the top when the spirit was diluted to a particular strength.

Mr White said: “We have a set of these beads on site and the lads tried to carry out their own experiments with them – which thankfully worked first time.

“This is something that we have never had the chance to do before, and it’s something that I have always wanted to do, so it was a really interesting experiment for me.”

Mr White was also interviewed by the pair on the West Hill as part of the programme.

“We had a good time, they were really, really nice,” he said. “Johnny Vaughan is exactly how he is on the radio, and a funny guy.”

“It’s also great publicity for the town.”

This episode of Mud Men, which is due to be aired later this year, is not the first time the Smugglers Adventure has been in the TV spotlight. In 2009, the caves featured on BBC’s The One Show, because of the large population of false widow spiders living there.