As previously reported, the centre of Rye has been awash with crew and cast for Mapp and Lucia. With a grandstand view of West Street I have been able to observe the many comings and goings, much as Benson’s Tilling residents did, although I don’t twitch the curtains!
The Lamb House garden room window has been much admired even if it is only, as the floor manager said, “an artistic representation”. It has certainly confused Rye tourists, especially those who know the town well. It will be fascinating to see the finished production, and see how realistic the secret garden looks on screen: telephone cables have been concealed by fake clematis (one resident was fooled enough to think theirs had suddenly changed colour), and the compass points have been distorted by the cunning use of huge mirrors.
Quaint Irene flounced from Lamb House exclaiming “You should be ashamed!” – in fact she flounced a dozen times or so before the producer was satisfied – and cries of “God Save the Queen!” echoed repeatedly around the garden as the pageant was filmed. And of course Mapp has been spying from her window, watching the comings and goings from Mallards. A camera was positioned behind a fake window on the corner of Church Square and the scene was made all the more realistic by a pair of climbing roses, apparently waving in the breeze, but actually held by two of the crew!
There was a Rolls-Royce followed by a Bentley and then a Bullnose Morris; the luggage truck lost a few hatboxes in a jumpy start and it appeared that it’s handbrake would not hold on the hill! We were told a day of filming resulted in about five minutes of actual programme. Residents were enjoined not to take photographs of the cast in action but some, who were employed as extras and looked very fetching in their 1930’s togs, were prepared to risk the director’s wrath and pose for their friends.
What fun it all seems. And no doubt the businesses of Rye will benefit from the influx of extra mouths to feed, water and bed, not to mention the props hired or bought from our local dealers. And how lucky to have a bird’s eye view of Mallards.
Photo: Andrew Bamji