Hampton Court, Herefordshire to reopen to visitors

Hampton Court - Herefordshire

HAMPTON COURT IN Herefordshire, the main filming location for the last seven episodes of the first series of Survivors and a regular travel destination for fans of the show, re-opens to visitors on Wednesday 8 July 2020.

Hampton Court estate has been closed to public access during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions that were imposed towards the end of March. Lockdown meant that the estate remained shut even as its usual April opening date passed.

From 8 July, the estate will again open to visitors (from Wednesday to Sunday each week).

Details of exactly which facilities and services will be available, and what social distancing arrangements will be in place, are to be published shortly.

New study of performance and production in Survivors

A NEW BOOK which examines the way in which actors perform in television drama, and the way in which their performance is captured by the camera, uses Survivors as one of its illuminating case studies.

In The Changing Spaces of Television Acting: From studio realism to location realism in BBC television drama, author and researcher Richard Hewett scrutines the craft of actors and performers working on The Quatermass Experiment, Doctor Who and Survivors.

He looks at the interplay between custom and practice, acting theory, evolving technology and other factors in shaping how performance for television is realised. Hewett pays particular attention to the distinction between studio and ‘on location’ production, exploring the influence that ‘place’ exerts on the way that a story is translated from page to screen.

Hewett’s book builds on the research that he undertook for the doctoral thesis, and an academic journal article that he published as one of the outputs of his research findings. Yet it’s clear that the aim of the book is to reach a non-academic as well as an academic audience.

For those interested in the history of British television production, there’s a great deal in Hewett’s book to capture the attention.

Enthusiasts with a particular interest in Survivors will be able to enjoy some fascinating and original reflections on the making of the show, informed by new interviews with cast members (including Lucy Fleming and Denis Lill and Roger Lloyd-Pack), and illustrated with numerous screencaptures from different episodes of the show.

In a Q&A with publishers Manchester University Press, Hewett explains that he enjoyed “every aspect of writing the book, from re-viewing the case studies to poring over archive documents.” He suggests that conducting interviews was the most satisfying part. “It was fascinating to have my theories challenged by the practitioners who originally worked on my case studies,” he says – people who were on set at the time and who were able to offer “their own unique perspectives.”

This book provides a historical overview and then-and-now comparison of performing for British television drama. By examining changing acting styles from distinct eras of television production – studio realism and location realism – it makes a unique contribution to both television and performance studies, unpacking the various determinants that have combined to influence how performers work in the medium. The book compares the original versions of The Quatermass Experiment (BBC, 1953), Doctor Who (BBC, 1963-89) and Survivors (BBC, 1975-77) with their respective modern-day re-makes, unpacking the effects of the shift from multi-camera studio to single-camera location production. Textual analysis is combined with extensive archival research into production process and reception, alongside interviews with numerous actors and production personnel from more than sixty years of television production.

Richard Hewett. 2020. The Changing Spaces of Television Acting: From studio realism to location realism in BBC television drama. Manchester: Manchester University Press, ISBN 9781526148636.

Britain by Bike with Larry & George Lamb visits Monsal Dale

TV CAMERAS WERE back in Monsal Dale again recently, this time to record part of a two-wheel tour of the Peak District by Larry and George Lamb.

Episode three of the second series of Britain by Bike with Larry & George Lamb (first shown on Channel 5 in the UK on 31 August 2018) showed the father and son cycling along the Monsal Trail out of Bakewell, through the Headstock Tunnel and out across the Monsal viaduct.

In 1977, the Monsal valley was one of the principal filming locations for the third series Survivors episode Mad Dog.

‘The Peak District’ episode of Britain by Bike is available to stream from the My5 web site (until 15 July 2019).

Britain by bike with Larry and George Lamb - Monsal Dale - Headstock Tunnel

Britain by bike with Larry and George Lamb - Monsal Dale - inside the Headstock tunnel

Britain by bike with Larry and George Lamb - Monsal Dale - top of the viaduct

Britain by bike with Larry and George Lamb - Monsal Dale - view of the viaduct

Britain by bike with Larry and George Lamb - Monsal Dale - the rocky outcrop

‘Gone Fishing…’ in the Monsal Mad Dog valley

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - title plate

THE MONSAL VALLEY filming locations used in the classic third series Survivors story Mad Dog featured in an episode of Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing shown on BBC Two earlier this month.

The BBC’s cameras (at both ground and drone level) took in shots of the valley floor, the valley’s bridges, the viaduct, the weir and (of course, given the subject matter) the river Wye as it meanders its way through the valley.

The series shows the efforts of comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse to fish in a variety of locations (with Whitehouse as the expert and Mortimer as his apprentice). With both of them having to adjust their lives after recovering from major heart surgery, the pair spend as much time joking, teasing one another and reflecting on their lot as they do attempting to catch-and-release fish.

Episode three “Rainbow Trout – Derbyshire Wye” was first shown on BBC Two at 22:00 on 4 July 2018, and will be available on the BBC’s iPlayer (for viewers in the UK) for thirty days following transmission.

A fully-illustrated guide to all of the Monsal Valley filming locations used in Survivors can be found on the Survivors: Mad Dog site.

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the bridge close to Netherdale Farm

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Monsal valley

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Monsal valley floor, looking towards the viadcut

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the bridge near Upperdale House

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - Bob Mortimer shares the Wye with a farmer's cow

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing - the Weir in the Monsal valley

Survivors’ location enjoys annual open weekend

The abandoned village of Imber on Salisbury Plain (the principal filming location for series three Survivors episode Sparks) enjoyed its annual ‘open’ weekend over the Easter holiday break; an event covered this year by an illustrated feature in The Mirror (27 March 2016).

The village of Imber was forcibly evacuated in December 1943, as the military commandeered sites that could be used to prepare troops for the street fighting that would follow the Normandy landings of D-Day. The emptied village was repurposed as a Ministry of Defence training ground. Villagers were never able to return, and the site became sealed-off from public access all year round – except for a single annual open weekend, when visitors were welcomed to view the landmark church and other buildings.

St Giles Church, the main interior and exterior location in Sparks, benefited from a £300,000 restoration project in 2008, sponsored by the Churches Conservation Trust, which prevented the building from falling into a state of complete disrepair.

Imber - open weekend - 2016

Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden – Lights of London location

A trip to London last weekend, took me close enough to Tower Bridge to visit, for the first time, the Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden in London. In 1976, this particular stretch of the Thames riverbank was still a wasteland, and had not been redeveloped since suffering repeated bombings during the Blitz.

With the iconic Tower Bridge in the background, and no city traffic to contend with, the area made an ideal place for director Pennant Roberts to shoot the sequences from Lights of London II in which (during a motorbike sortie for supplies) Manny attempts to shoot dead the dissident Wally. The on-location staging of this short sequence helps to reinforce the ‘sense of place’ in the episode. That said, it was not obvious (from how the area was framed on screen) that the wasteland was immediately adjacent to the River Thames.

Today the area is completely unrecognisable, and the site of a huge development of luxury flats. The building of the commemorative garden, in memory of those Londoners who died during the bombing of the capital in World War II, is dominated by its large dove sculpture. Its creation was a contractual requirement for the developers of the surrounding apartment complexes.

Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden
Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden, London

Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden commemorates the civilians who died in the London blitz which commenced on 7 September 1940 and ended on 10 May 1941. London was initially bombed for 57 consecutive nights. Many other cities and areas suffered but the East End of London was one of the worst hit areas due to its proximity to the docks with 436 Londoners killed and 1,666 injured on the first night alone, and with total casualties near to 30,000

Hermitage Riverside Memorial Garden, Wapping High Street, London E1 (see Google maps)

Survivors fan gathering at Hampton Court, Saturday 29 June 2013

Survivors fan Steve Clutterbuck is organising an informal gathering for fans at Hampton Court in Herefordshire on Saturday 29 June 2013. Says Steve:

If anyone fancies a trip out to visit Hampton Court near Leominster, enjoy a walk around the grounds and get a chance to meet fellow Survivors fans, there is an informal picnic being arranged on Saturday 29 June 2013. On Friday 28 June, if anyone’s interested, we could perhaps arrange to visit some other nearby Survivors filming locations. If anyone is interested in joining in on either day, please get in touch via my website.

Updated: Organiser Steve Clutterbuck has shared a video of the tour of the castle interior which fans joined on the day –
 

Another Survivors filming location that has gone away…

The garage and workshop visited by Abby in the opening minutes of Survivors‘ series one episode Corn Dolly (located in the Herefordshire village of Llangrove) has been demolished.

Corn Dolly - the garage and workshop where Abby and the group encounter Charles Vaughan
Corn Dolly – the garage and workshop where Abby and the group first meet Charles Vaughan

The exterior of the building was used as a filming location during the first series on-location filming block in January 1975 (while the interior sequences were shot on video at BBC Television Centre several weeks later).

The workshop, located adjacent to the village school and close to the Post Office, remained in active use until at least 2005, but has since closed and been boarded up.

The building has now been demolished, the land cleared, and the site put up for auction.

The garage and workshop in Llangrove has gone away - April 2013
The garage and workshop in Llangrove has gone away – April 2013

‘Sparks’ Imber Church enjoys annual open days

St Giles Church, in the abandoned village of Imber on Salisbury Common (the main location for series three episode Sparks) enjoyed one of its all-too-brief annual open weekends at the end of September, as reported on the BBC News site (29 September 2012).

Deserted Salisbury Plain village of Imber opened to public

A village in Wiltshire that was abandoned during World War II and then taken over by the military opened for the weekend.

The village of Imber is normally closed to the public as it is in a military training zone on Salisbury Plain.

More than 100 people attended a service at St Giles Church, in Imber, on Salisbury Plain.

On Sunday, a full peal of the bells was rung which took some two-and-a-half hours to complete.

It is the fifth time a full peal has been rung since a new set of six bells was re-hung in August 2010, after the original bells were taken out in 1950.

The entire civilian population of the village was ordered to leave in December 1943 to provide a training area for American troops preparing for the invasion of Europe during World War II.

They were never allowed to return.

Since 2005, when the church was taken over by the Churches Conservation Trust, more than £300,000 has been spent on renovations.

St Giles Church, Imber

Photo and text (c) BBC News