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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Cumbria was perfect double for Cornwall, says Jamaica Inn star

A star of hit BBC drama Jamaica Inn says turning a pocket of Cumbria into Cornwall was brilliant.

Jamaica Inn photo
Clair Bendle, of Carlisle, had a fabric stall as part of the drama

Matthew McNulty is among the big names who pulled in millions of viewers in the screen version of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel.

Part of a Cumbrian town was turned into Cornwall to shoot a string of scenes for the three-part BBC One drama, screened this week. The cast and crew shot in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Cumbria to ensure the perfect backdrops to fit the novel.

And Matthew, who also starred in Lottery win drama The Syndicate, enjoyed working on the sets.

“It was amazing – we got England in all its beautiful, varied and dramatic glory on this shoot,” he said.

“The setting is so important for this book, almost as important as the characters, and the locations on this show do not disappoint.

“We shot among towering waves, powerful tors, foggy, boggy moors, all in true English weather, cold, wet, windy and dark. It was brilliant.”

Part of Kirkby Lonsdale was pulled back nearly 200 years to look like 1820 Cornwall when filming took place late last year.

The all-star cast, who also included Downton Abbey actress Jessica Brown Findlay, The White Queen’s Emma Grost and Harry Potter’s Shirley Henderson, were backed up by more than 100 supporting actors from Carlisle-based Lakeside Castings.

Among them was Simon Grant, 23, of Houghton, who stars in a fight scene and got to work with stunt expert Jason White, who has worked on the James Bond movies and Indiana Jones films as well as Harry Potter.

“Simon’s great in it,” said Lakeside boss Phil McKay. “It was a great opportunity for him to be part of this. Simon really pulled it off.”

Viewers in Cumbria have been eagerly watching the drama to spot familiar faces in crowd and market scenes.

The drama was one of the biggest commissions to have been shot in the county in recent years. And its filming has whet the appetite of aspiring actors keen to secure careers on stage or screen.

Phil, of Stanwix, said: “A lot of people from Carlisle and the surrounding area were part of this. They all had a great time.

“There were some people filming who’d never been involved in anything like it before. It was great the fact that the production team brought something like this to Cumbria.”

Hundreds of viewers complained about Jamaica Inn saying they had to switch on the subtitles or turn up the volume to the maximum setting to understand what was being said.

A BBC spokeswoman apologised and said: “We are adjusting the dialogue levels in episode two and three to address audience concerns.”

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