Great Expectations as BBC films at Holdenby

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A HISTORIC stately home was transformed into the setting of a period drama when TV crews moved in to film last week.

The exteriors of Holdenby House will feature in the BBC’s forthcoming adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations when it hits the screens at Christmas.

The crew transformed the property, built in 1583, into the derelict 19th century Satis House, the home of one of story’s central characters Miss Havisham. Filming took place from Monday to Wednesday last week.

The three-part drama will mark the start of a season of programmes about Dickens to celebrate the writer’s 200th birthday. The new adaptation stars Ray Winstone as Magwich and X Files actress Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.

The home’s owner, James Lowther, said: “We first heard of the interest about a couple of months ago, and then they firmed up the plans a month ago.

“Apparently as soon as the director got onto the driveway, he knew this is where he wanted to film.”

The excitement of filming has caused a stir among people working at the house. Mr Lowther said: “The BBC has been here before to film a series 10 years ago called the Women in White but it has been rather exciting having them back.

“I am a big fan of Great Expectations, it is a definitive English novel so I was very pleased when the BBC wanted to use Holdenby as a venue.”

But Mr Lowther did have one or two reservations.

He said: “The book says that Satis House is in a state of depravity and we want to keep the house always looking at its best.

“The BBC did a really good job in transforming the house. We wouldn’t want it to be like that all the time but it did make it look wonderfully romantic.

“They did a brilliant job in putting the house back together as well. I could not fault the crew.

“It is a co-production with America and will be shown over there which will help to promote Holdenby internationally.”