Kirkby Lonsdale Transformed for BBC's new Adaption of Jamaica Inn
28 October 2013
Kirkby Lonsdale and some of its residents are set to star in the BBC adaptation of Jamaica Inn, due to be screened in Spring 2014.
Filming took place in Kirkby Lonsdale between Monday 14th and Thursday 17th October, where parts of Kirkby Lonsdale were transformed to look like 1820s Cornwall: horses, carriages and wagons rolled into the small market town for the BBC One / Origin Pictures three-part adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, Jamaica Inn. Directed by BAFTA winning, Philippa Lowthorpe (Call the Midwife, Five Daughters), those who were visiting the town were able to catch a glimpse of the cast, some of which included: Jessica Brown-Findlay ( Downton Abbey, Labyrinth) who will star as Mary Yellan; Matthew McNulty (The Paradise, Room At The Top) as Jem Merlyn and Sean Harris (The Borgias, Southcliffe) as Joss Merlyn.
Film company, Origin Pictures were delighted to work with Kirkby Lonsdale residents and indeed had many requests from locals to take part in the dramatisation, where 40 local residents were able to take part as extras.
Daphne du Maurier’s original story was set partly in the Cornish town of Launceston, but with Origin Pictures deciding the present-day town’s centre was too modern to be used as a location, Kirkby Lonsdale seemed a more fitting choice for filming, and as a result the market square was transformed into a replica of 19th-century Launceston. The SLDC market square car park and Monument became center-stage when they became Altarnun village, where hundreds of tons of mud became the flooring - and the Monument was taken over as a beer hall, with extras sitting at dressed tables.
St Mary’s Church became Altarnun Church and around the market square fake shop fronts were installed, where The Sweet Shop became the Blacksmiths; Abrahams became the Ropery; Emily’s the Barrel Maker; Carr & Bleasdale is the Wheelmaker; Hackney & Leigh is Fleece and Fabric and Cariad’s is the Butcher.
Film tourism is a growing industry, with significant amounts spent by production companies in the local economy. Creative England, a national agency that invests in and supports creative ideas, talent and businesses in film and TV, says a prime time TV drama of the same size as Jamaica Inn, is estimated to spend between £18-22,000 per day. And a similar period drama to Jamaica Inn, spending the amount of time they are at the location, could generate around £150,000 for the local economy.