Fact Check

Was a Hearse Towed Away During the Middle of a Funeral?

An image purportedly showing a depressing event actually shows a group of actors filming a scene for a television show.

Published May 1, 2018

A photograph shows a hearse being towed away in the middle of a funeral procession.

A photograph purportedly showing a hearse being towed as a group of pallbearers carry a casket out of a church has been passed around as real on the Internet for several years:

This image does not depict a genuine, real-world moment when a group of mourners realized that they would be walking to the grave site, but instead an onlooker's view of actors filming a scene for a television show.

One giveaway is that a boom mic can be spotted just above the casket on the left side of the image. This piece of audio equipment is regularly used on television sets, but would be an oddity at a real funeral procession:

In early 2010, Big Talk Productions was filming a scene for the show Rev. outside a church on Shoreditch High Street in London which involved a hearse being towed away during a funeral. As the actors began their faux funeral procession, a group of onlookers gathered to take videos and photographs of what they believed to be a truly grim situation.

Peter Cattaneo, the show's director, told the Telegraph:

Filming took place in and around the church of St Leonard’s in Shoreditch, east London. One afternoon, the crew shot a scene in which a hearse was towed away by wheel clampers. ‘Before long, a crowd had gathered and was getting really furious about it,’ recalls the show’s director, Peter Cattaneo (who also directed The Full Monty). ‘I said to one of them, “It’s a joke.” And they said, “It’s still disgusting!”

‘I think it was [made worse] because the word “Nan” was in the hearse’s window,’ he adds.

The scene comes from the third episode of the first season of Rev., and it can be briefly glimpsed in a featurette about the making of the show. Actor Tom Hollander can be seen approaching the hearse at the 55-second mark of the following video:

An unofficial copy of the scene can be found on YouTube. Another image of Hollander with the hearse can be seen below:


Wojdyla, Bem.   "This Has To Be Fake: Hearse Towed During Funeral."     Jalopnik.   3 February 2010.

Grant, Olly.   "Rev: a realistic and very funny new comedy from BBC Two."     The Telegraph.   25 June 2010.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.