‘Little Britain’ comedian David Walliams and ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ star Jennifer Saunders wrapped filming on BBC comedy ‘Blandings’ last night at Crom Castle in Co Fermanagh.
Walliams and Saunders were joined on the five-week shoot by ‘Harry Potter’ actors Mark Williams and Timothy Spall, who also star in the six-part series.
‘Blandings’, a comedic period-drama set in ‘Blandings Castle’ in 1929, is adapted from the novels of acclaimed author P.G. Wodehouse, with Guy Andrews (Lewis) behind the screenplay. The costume drama is centered around a dysfunctional aristocratic family.
Speaking of the series, scriptwriter Andrews said: “For any writer, it is the rarest privilege imaginable to have Wodehouse legitimately available as source material.”
London-based production company Mammoth Screen are co-producing with the BBC. Paul Seed (Doc Martin) has directed the 30 minute-long episodes, with Spencer Campbell (Mad Dogs) producing. Both are working on a freelance basis. Mammoth Screen’s joint managing directors Michele Buck and Damien Timmer are executive producers along with Andrews. The BBC executive producer is Kristian Smith. Northern Ireland Screen is supporting the production.
Crom Castle is more than 400 years old, and was once home to the wealthy Crichton family. It is currently in the possession of Crichton family members Lord and Lady Erne. Today the castle is a popular wedding venue, with its most recent customers sharing their wedding day with David Walliams and Timothy Spall, who gatecrashed the wedding in full costume when they and the rest of the ‘Blandings’ cast were residing at the castle during filming.
Crom Castle’s manager, Noel Johnston, whose family has been involved with the day-to-day running of the castle for more than 240 years, told how the BBC contacted him last August with Crom in mind as a possible filming location. “BBC locations people came to see me last August to look at Crom Castle and obviously they loved the look of the place and they came back to see it a second time. They fell in love with it the first time, and they told us in January that they would film the production here.
”We’re very, very lucky. It’s been fantastic, not just for us at the castle, but from a business point of view as well,” said Johnston.
Filming was due to wrap at Crom at 8pm last night. It is thought the removal of set pieces will take up to 10 days.
Crom Castle is the latest of Northern Irish venues to host an international production, with both seasons of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ filmed on location in Northern Ireland, and the third season given the greenlight last month. BBC drama ‘The Fall’ began filming in Belfast in March, and another BBC drama ‘The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby’ is scheduled to film in Northern Ireland in June.
‘Blandings’ is scheduled to air on BBC One in the autumn.