Saturday, 10 May 2014

In which we discover how a BBC period drama is filmed!

What's been the frugal fun here this week?

Watching Corsham, our Wiltshire town, transform into the Cornish city, Truro, for the BBC re-make of Poldark, due to be shown in early 2015. There's nothing like a proper period drama to counteract the post-Christmas blues.

The Poldark books by Winston Graham, follow the fortunes of the eponymous Ross Poldark in the late 18th century as he returns from the American Revolutionary War, loses out in love (and then wins some years later), and reopens the family's derelict tin mine. 

I read several of the books as a teenager. They are a dim memory now, however at the time were just the right fodder for someone who had grown out of children's books but was too young for grown-up literature. 

Over the bank holiday last weekend we watched some of our town centre buildings take on new persona.

The jewellers kept its theme but
changed its name from Coppins to S. Solomon.
The Post Office became a circulating library and publishers.
Our favourite Indian restaurant became a saddlers.
How I would love to be able to get a stage waggon from
here to Cornwall, EVERY DAY!
A Haberdashers appeared at the front of a house.
Lovely ribbons!
By the Sunday, the props people were very busy.

Making the plastic eggs look nice.
Fancy a plastic pork pie?

It's Cornwall so there have to be fake pasties!

Rabbit skins for sale!

Being a Devon lass, I've always bemoaned Wiltshire's
lack of coast and freshly caught fish, so I drooled over the pilchards.

On Tuesday the filming started. 

We've developed a new appreciation of our town's old buildings now we've seen them step back in time and look much as they would have done when they were newly built.

Actresses walking down Church Lane. The one on the
right is checking her phone, which looked a little incongruous.

Well behaved sheep in front of the Royal Oak.
They were complaining
that they always get typecast.

The Truro yokels receiving some instructions.
The star of the show is Aidan Turner, who plays Ross Poldark. I'd never heard of him before, but he is known for his role as Kili in The Hobbit. Obviously we're all his biggest fans now. Son's class got to walk down to watch the filming on Wednesday and saw Aidan in action. Sadly I only spotted him once filming was over on Thursday morning and he was walking back to his vehicle but the rear view of Aidan and his entourage (including his own umbrella carrier) was good enough for me. 

This cheerful chap (pictured in front of the town hall)
wasn't important enough for an umbrella or a warm jacket
but I'll still look out for him when the show is aired..

The extras didn't get umbrellas, or a Mercedes to transport them,
just plastic macs and minibuses.
By Friday evening, the town looked as if nothing had ever happened. The tons of gravelly stone used to cover up the double yellow lines had gone, as had all the horse poo, the market stalls, the shop fronts, and the hundreds of BBC production people. And the pilchards.


  1. I'm not familiar with Poldark, but this post is fascinating, thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it...I'm guessing Poldark was well before your time...

  2. I never watched the old series when I was a child so it will be good to have a look at. Thanks for the tour.

    1. I never saw it either so I will be able to enjoy the new version without comparing!

  3. I would love to have been there it looks fabulous x

  4. Fascinating post. Loved the original Poldark so am a trifle wary of how this new version will turn out. Hadn't realised Aidan Turner was taking part of 'Ross'.

    Our recent claim to fame is that Sacha Baron Cohen recently made a film here...our local council thought it a wonderful idea but none of them have any idea what his films are like!! Oh...and the next series of 'Skint' is being filmed here too...

    1. I hope the new version bears up! I didn't see the original so won't be able to compare. I'm trying to guess where you are in the UK...!!

  5. Oooh! I shall look out for this. The first time Poldark was on TV, I was a student, and my landlady was fanatic about it, as she'd already got the books. So I watched it with her, and enjoyed it enormously. It's always so fascinating watching a location you know being adapted for filming - you must have had such fun. Can't you persuade them to keep the haberdashery??] But isn't it strange how they relocate to different counties?
    This has been a lovely post to read - thanks for all the great 'behind the scenes' pictures. Sunday blessings!! xx

    1. The relocation is strange - our town is definitely Cotswold in flavour rather than Cornwall! Glad you enjoyed the blog post.

  6. This totally fascinates me even though I'm not familiar with Poldark. Did the filming cause traffic problems?

  7. I think that is why our town centre would have been an attractive proposition, literally and traffic-wise. The part where they were filming is one way and fairly quiet; not a major thoroughfare.

  8. My 14 year-old daughter and I visited Corsham on Saturday and stayed until the first day of filming on Tuesday. We loved your town, and I'm wading through all our photos of the set construction and pictures of Aidan before posting my favourites to Facebook. We visited purely because I'm taking a keen interest in this production of Poldark. The "cheerful chap" is John Hollingworth playing Captain Henshawe.