(james benedict brown) on the road

Invasion of the film crew

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 14 September, 2006

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Compare this image with the one in the previous post. Go on. See if you can spot the difference.

The photo above was taken this afternoon. You can just see between the two buildings in the foreground (one of our village pubs and the village shop) a large white screen, through which bright arc lighting is being diffused. A film crew is in town, on location for a new drama / comedy / sitcom set in the quaint English countryside. Stephen Fry stars as (so the rumour tree tells me) a country solicitor in a new six part series airing on British network television in 2007. There are doubtless other equally highly respected actors in town, but Stephen Fry is the one everyone is talking about because he’s so easy to spot in the crowds of people and equipment that accompany a location film shoot. He is enormous: at least a foot taller than the swarms of people who flock around him holding clipboards, talking into radios and drinking cups of tea. As always with these film crews, it seems incredible to me just how many people are employed just to be there. There is rarely anything going on; everyone seems to be waiting for something to happen, or an actor to show up, or the lighting to be just right. I wouldn’t mind so much (except it would make an accountant wince) but since they seem to have brought their own catering trucks the village’s café and pubs don’t seem to be benefiting from the sudden population explosion in town.

Castle Acre is not the only place that has been visited by the folk from inside the TV. A few kilometres away in Swaffham, one of the town’s pubs has had its name changed for filming. In a moment of either knowing irony or lame and unimaginative BBC scriptwriting, they decided to rename it the ‘Startled Duck’. A couple of houses on the town’s moderately attractive square have also been used for filming, and small outbreaks of filming have been spotted all over the place. For the last few days the action has been here in the village, however, as traffic is halted, school children hopefully cycle back in forth in the hope of getting in shot, and housewives natter about the wonderfully demure Mr. Fry. As I sit here typing, occasional shouts of ‘Quiet please…’ and ‘Action!’ waft over the gardens towards me.

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