Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Crom Becomes Blandings

A few readers have told me about a new BBC production filming at Crom in County Fermanagh, ancestral seat of the Earls of Erne.

The Victorian mansion has been transformed in recent days, as filming gets under way for the BBC production Blandings, starring Jennifer Saunders and Timothy Spall OBE.

Northern Ireland Screen has collaborated with the Corporation in the production.

The tranquil and picturesque settings of Lough Erne are providing the perfect backdrop for the TV show, based on the work of Sir Pelham G Wodehouse KBE.

Wodehouse wrote several stories about a fictional estate called Blandings Castle.

Timothy Spall plays Clarence, 9th Earl of Emsworth, while Saunders – known for her role in Absolutely Fabulous – will star as his formidable sister, Lady Constance Keeble.

Filming for the series, set in 1929, began on Monday, 26th March, 2012, and is expected to last for the next six weeks.

The manager of Crom Castle, Noel Johnston, said it was an “honour” that producers had selected the location for such a high-profile venture.

He confirmed it was the first time the venue had been used for such a “huge” project, having primarily only played host to numerous weddings in the past.

Mr Johnston said:
“We are delighted that they chose Northern Ireland. For star actors and actresses to come to Crom is an amazing thing. It is a huge boost for Fermanagh. The spin-off from it is going to be huge I would imagine.The whole county is buzzing and loads of people have been cast as extras.”
An open casting day for extras was held in Enniskillen earlier this month.

Mr Johnston said he first became aware of interest in Crom estate last summer. He said:
“We got a phone call asking could the producers come and look at it. They just fell in love with the place. They couldn’t believe it. Nothing was confirmed until January when we received the news that we got it.”
While Crom estate belongs to the National Trust, the Castle itself is the seat of Lord and Lady Erne.

Mr Johnston insisted, despite the obvious disruption, that the Ernes were “more than happy” to facilitate filming on their front doorstep.

Given the recent spell of good weather, he added that the crew and cast – totalling more than 100 people – had chosen perfect timing to begin filming in the Ulster Lakeland.

The cast are also expected to record various scenes at other locations in County Fermanagh.

Speaking ahead of filming, writer Guy Andrews described Blandings Castle as “dysfunction junction, the home of a chaotic family struggling to keep itself in order”.

Blandings is expected to be aired on BBC television in the autumn.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic news! Crom is a gem. I hope some of the other 'big houses' locally will get a cameo. VC

Irishlad said...

i saw the crew and all their lorries etc parked at the castle