Hot on the heels of the Downton Abbey Christmas special, another major TV series is to use Alnwick as a backdrop in January.
The Gazette understands that Alnwick Castle will be used for filming some of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, a second series of three film adaptations of Shakespeare’s history plays starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Donwton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and Michael Gambon.
It is not known who or what will be filming in Alnwick, but it is thought to involve a large number of cast and crew, as part of the town’s Greenwell Lane car park behind the Castle has been reserved from January 10 to 17, according to Alnwick’s county councillor Gordon Castle.
The Gazette contacted the BBC, but a spokeswoman for the production companies said that they couldn’t confirm details of filming.
A press release from the BBC in October revealed that principal photography had begun on the series, filming in locations around the UK.
Following an outstanding critical and audience reaction to the Bafta Award-winning The Hollow Crown series in 2012, Neal Street Productions and Carnival Films/NBCUniversal bring the concluding part of this ambitious cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays to the screen in three further filmed adaptations, Henry VI (in two parts) and Richard III.
Names previously announced were Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Sophie Okonedo, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Keeley Hawes and Tom Sturridge, to be joined by Michael Gambon and Philip Glenister among many others.
It follows the cast of Downton Abbey being spotted around Alnwick in August this year as they filmed for their soon-to-air Christmas special.
Meanwhile, the French TV station TF1 have spent two days making a feature piece about Alnmouth which will be shown to their eight million viewers in France.
Each year, the channel visits ‘a charming village in England during the cold winter’ and Alnmouth was chosen after being spotted from the window of a train during a journey from London to Edinburgh by a team from TF1.
For more on both programmes, see next Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.