Meeting Miss Mapp

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I spoke to Prunella Scales briefly outside “Mallards” during the royal visit. I first met her 40 years ago when she was filming in “Mapp & Lucia” on Watchbell Street. I will treasure the photos I have of her and the other cast members forever.

I became rather emotional when I spoke to her because my mum is also in a similar stage of dementia.

It was unexpected because I didn’t realise she was there until the Queen had been driven down Mermaid Street and I walked back up past Lamb House. I was rooted to the spot when I realised it was her standing there with her husband Timothy West. They were both very gracious.

Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp photographed by Kim Rye in 1985

A couple of years or so ago, I wrote about the costume design in that series after I interviewed the costume designer who now lives in Hastings. I also wrote about the frieze of Rye that you see at the opening of each episode of the 1980s Mapp and Lucia series. I interviewed the man who painted it who is quite elderly now. I was really shocked to realise he had never been to Rye!

I have always preferred the original series to the BBC version.

I managed to get lots of pictures of the Queen yesterday and she came up and shook my hand. She was lovely.

What a fantastic day it was despite the weather. It wasn’t far for me to come as I live in Lydd but I have friends in Rye and I made some new ones yesterday!

Filming Mapp and Lucia in 1985

I got married in Rye Town Hall three years ago and wore a costume that was very Mapp and Lucia orientated. It was at the end of the Covid regulations and the tourists’ reactions to seeing myself and my husband, both of us in our senior years attired rather differently and with Paul Goring shouting out “Mr and Mrs Rye”, it was amusing to see the reaction of the visitors! I think they thought it was a local custom!

My husband’s cousin was briefly in one of the episodes of the 1980s Mapp and Lucia series. Her name – Ann Rye. She was the secretary to the editor of the Tilling Gazette!

My original connection with Rye came from the Malcolm Saville books. I met him in the 1970s. I grew up in Derbyshire and pestered my parents to come to Rye and the surrounding area for a holiday. When he realised we were coming down here, he invited us for tea at his home, Chelsea Cottage in Winchelsea.

Fast forward 50 years and here I am living on Romney Marsh married to a man called Rye! You couldn’t make it up!

I love Rye and yesterday was one more memorable day for me in the place I feel is my spiritual home.

What a fantastic day. I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Forgive me for waxing lyrical. I can’t help it!

Image Credits: Gyles Brandreth , Kim Rye .

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