One of the more pleasant surprises from this year’s London Film Festival was the arrival, and enduring stay, of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van. The film, based on Bennett’s play,  has been translated expertly to the screen by the playwright’s regular collaborator, the director Nicholas Hytner.

Hytner has brought great pathos and wit to Bennett’s true-to-life tale of the playwright’s long standing relationship with the titular vehicle-bound, tatterdemalion vagrant who lived on his property. Maggie Smith was the star of the 1999 production in London’s Queen’s Theatre and all three reunited for the big screen version of the story.

In this exclusive behind the scenes look we see a little more of the magic of Maggie Smith, through her appreciation of the character (warts and all is a curiously apt description here). Both Bennett and Hytner contribute, telling of her essential qualities which made the film such a joy.

The film is out tomorrow, the 13th of November in the UK, and you can read our review from the LFF here.

Here’s the video,