Comedy stars visit town

IT is not every day two men in make-up and dressed as Victorian ladies are seen riding a tandem bicycle along an East Anglian seaside promenade.But holidaymakers and residents in Southwold yesterday were treated to the weird and wonderful sight many times over as cast and crew from wacky comedy sketch show Little Britain descended on the town for filming of its eagerly-awaited second series.

IT is not every day two men in make-up and dressed as Victorian ladies are seen riding a tandem bicycle along an East Anglian seaside promenade.

But holidaymakers and residents in Southwold yesterday were treated to the weird and wonderful sight many times over as cast and crew from wacky comedy sketch show Little Britain descended on the town for filming of its eagerly-awaited second series.

Matt Lucas and David Walliams, the creators and stars of the Bafta-award winning BBC comedy, looked a sight in their colourful outfits, wigs and make-up while signing autographs and having their photographs taken by fans.

Location managers visited the genteel and picturesque town a month ago and earmarked several places for filming the off-the-wall show.


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The programme has spawned a string of popular characters, ranging from the unconvincing transvestite and seaside guest-house owner Emily Howard and Daffyd, the only gay in his Welsh mining village, to teenage mum Vicky Pollard, the bane of social workers' lives, and Majorie Dawes, the overbearing leader of a slimming group.

Series producer Geoff Posner said the resort was ideal for Emily, played by Mr Walliams, and her friend, Mr Lucas's Florence.

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He said: “It's perfect for Emily and Florence, the failed transvestites, who have a somewhat Victorian air about them - like Southwold!”

He disclosed that, during the two-day shoot, the two go to a tennis match but they realise they can't play tennis because they are “ladies”.

Filming for the six-part series, which will be broadcast in October and promises old and new characters, is usually done in London but Mr Posner said he wanted to use Southwold as a location.

“It's so beautiful up here, it's just so nice shooting scenes here on the promenade and the weather is lovely. But we don't usually let the crowds get as near to us as this,” he added.

Grandfather John Seaman, on holiday from Cambridge, was amongst the crowd yesterday but had never seen the programme.

“I was eating my lunch when I saw four men go into the loo and three came out and the other was in drag and I thought: 'What's going on here?' But then I saw the filming and realised.”

Meanwhile, 14-year-old fan Thomas Jacob-Ewles was thrilled to be watching one of his favourite comedy shows while on holiday from London.

“I was just walking down the promenade when I saw the filming and so came and watched. I find the programme very funny.”

But the filming did not amuse Punch and Judy man John Pulson, who was unable to perform his puppet show near the pier.

“I'm still negotiating with location managers over loss of earnings,” he said.

The 30-strong crew of producers, directors, cameramen, make-up artists, caterers and wardrobe assistants were stationed at St Felix School in the town yesterday, with 16 lorries. They were staying overnight in Lowestoft before heading back to London today.

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