Revealed – How an entire Suffolk village signed up to be a film location
PUBLISHED: 07:30 24 March 2019
From its scenic leafy surroundings to its peaceful village church, Kelsale cum Carlton may seem like the typical quaint rural village you would expect to find in the heart of Suffolk.
And while all of that is true, behind the scenes lies an ambition to feature on the filmmaking map as the “forward thinking” storyboard settlement has become the first entire village to sign up to Screen Suffolk’s location database.
Operating as the county’s official film office organising shooting permits, local cast, crew and caterers, and helping scout locations, Screen Suffolk has signed up dozens of places countywide to its rollcall.
But remarkably, it was the village’s 1,000-strong population of budding Bill Nighys that approached Screen Suffolk to sign up as the starring role in its credits.
Rachel Aldridge, film officer at Screen Suffolk said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have Kelsale on our books because it’s a really unique village with amazing historical buildings.
“You can just imagine a period film coming and doing a wedding scene, walking down this avenue of trees – it’s absolutely perfect.
“It’s great to have so many locations in one place. It’s lovely to have the support of the whole village.
“Everyone I have spoken to is completely on board with filming, and realises the potential to make money for these amazing historical buildings to keep them going and keep them in the community.
“Hopefully with our help we will get to bring some filming here very soon.”
Despite having only been signed up for a handful of weeks, period drama films have already joined enjoyed location recces at the cinematic setting which has been generating “significant interest”.
Among some of the key backdrops are the lych gate built in the 1890s – one of only four left in the country – the 12th Century church and the village hall.
Elizabeth Masterton-Smith, church warden at the Parish Church of St Mary & St Peter, said: “I think the village is actually very unspoilt.
“A lot of the buildings are original buildings, they haven’t been altered drastically outside.”
Eileen Cuthbert, chairman of the village hall committee added: “I think [it is popular] because it hasn’t really changed, an awful lot of people have been living here for generations.
“They have wanted to keep the village to look and be the way they remember it. Even people who have moved out of the village haven’t moved far, I think because people love it so much.”
Screen Suffolk is now hoping other villages see the potential of signing up as a location – including the exposure, tourism opportunities and the box office bucks it brings to both the area’s economy and the maintenance of such historic buildings.
History recorder Frank Rowe added: “It’s a good idea – it’ll put Suffolk on the map. Yorkshire seems to have its fair share of television, it would be nice to get Suffolk back.”