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Leading role for Bowlish House in star-studded ITV drama

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

  • Filming at Bowlish House near Shepton Mallet

  • Filming at Bowlish House near Shepton Mallet

  • Trying to prevent photographs being taken at Bowlish House in Shepton Mallet. Photographer Jason Bryant had been told by the other security guard that he could take as many pictures as he wanted as there were no actors on set just one tenth of a second before getting a direct hit. The film set security guard is pictured shining a laser pointer into the telephoto lens of Mr Bryant, temporarily blinding him. Following the incident the guard denied having such a device – not knowing he had been photographed using it. Jason complained to the location manager and received an email from the manager the next day telling him that the guard had been talked to and wished to send his apologies.

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Historic Bowlish House was the location for filming scenes for a forthcoming new ITV drama series starring actor David Tennant.

But the former Dr Who star has left his Tardis behind to concentrate on a very different role for the new eight part ITV ensemble drama series, Broadchurch.

David Tennant features alongside Olivia Colman and Vicki McClure in the series that explores what happens to a small community when it suddenly becomes the focus of a major event and is subjected to the full glare of the media spotlight.

Produced by Kudos Film and Television, Broadchurch features an array of British acting talent including Jodie Whittaker as Beth, Andrew Buchan as Mark, Will Mellor playing Stephen Turner and Arthur Darvill as the town priest Paul Coates.

Bloodied and dirty, Danny Price has been found dead on an idyllic beach, surrounded by rocks and a jutting cliff-face from where he may have fallen. While his death remains unresolved, the picturesque coastal town of Broadchurch is at the heart of a major police investigation and a national media frenzy.

Written and created by Chris Chibnall, whose previous work includes United, Torchwood, Law & Order: UK and Doctor Who, Broadchurch is a story Chris has wanted to tell for some time.

"Broadchurch focuses on a small British community which finds itself at the eye of a storm. In the wake of one boy's death, the residents of Broadchurch come under scrutiny and suspicion," said Chris. "It's a story of scale and intimacy, as the lives of the characters are laid bare."

The sadness of losing a child consumes Danny's family, Beth and Mark Price (Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan), their daughter 15-year-old Lara and Beth's mum, Liz, as they attempt to cope with their grief. Understandably they struggle to deal with the unwarranted attention heaped upon them. Devastated by their loss, they struggle to relate to their friends, neighbours, the church, the press, and the police.

David Tennant takes the role of DI Alec Hardy – an out-of-town, newly promoted police detective who takes the job local girl DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) believes should have been hers.

Ellie has to find reserves of patience and toughness to negotiate a professional relationship with the difficult and unyielding Hardy. Yet as the drama progresses, Hardy's own secrets are laid bare.

One by one the community of Broadchurch are drawn into the police enquiry. Local hoteliers and business people are implicated as the effects of a death in the community begins to impact on their hard-earned livelihoods. But can the town survive such a seismic shock during its economically crucial summer months? As the case drags on, the whole town will come under pressure: personal, economic, professional and emotional.

Broadchurch has been commissioned for ITV1 by drama commissioning team, Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes.

"Broadchurch tells the story of a small community and the devastating emotional repercussions for everyone caught up in the mysterious death of a young boy," said Laura. "It's not a whodunnit or a traditional police drama. Chris Chibnall's superb scripts have attracted a stellar cast."

The drama is being filmed on location in Somerset, Bristol and Dorset, until the end of November.

Val Ashley who took over Bowlish House with husband Chris in the summer said they and their staff had been very excited that the hotel was chosen as a setting for the filming. Val said the stars and the crew did not actually stay with them but they ate and drank there and had been "very friendly and delightful." She said she and the team were looking forward to seeing the hotel featured in the new series when it hits the TV screens.

Jason Bryant had his own drama as he took shots of the filming – but survived to tell the tale as one of his photos shows.

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