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Star-studded David Copperfield film to shoot scenes in historic Suffolk town

PUBLISHED: 10:34 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 03 July 2018

The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

The Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

Archant

A number of scenes for a new star-studded David Copperfield film featuring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie are being shot in Bury St Edmunds tomorrow.

Dev Patel with his award for best Supporting Actor at the EE British Academy Film Awards. He is starring in a new David Copperfield film Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIREDev Patel with his award for best Supporting Actor at the EE British Academy Film Awards. He is starring in a new David Copperfield film Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE

The British movie, entitled ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’, will film scenes in and around Angel Hill, Athenaeum Lane and Chequers Square.

The film, based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens, is being directed by Armando Iannucci and also stars Aneurin Barnard, Ben Whishaw, Morfydd Clark, Anthony Welsh, and Rosalind Eleazar.

Tomorrow is planned to be the only outside filming day in the town, but residents will see some activity around the Angel Hill area today with the location being dressed to look like the 1840s – complete with horses, carts and carriages.

Activity on the Angel Hill ahead of filming for a new David Copperfield film Picture: MICHAEL STEWARDActivity on the Angel Hill ahead of filming for a new David Copperfield film Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

Filming will continue inside the Theatre Royal on Wednesday and Thursday.

In order to achieve the desired look of the era, the area around Angel Hill will need to be cleared of modern vehicles and a number of parking bays on Angel Hill and Chequers Square will be suspended,

There will be some disabled parking available for users.

Tilda Swinton is also starring in the new David Copperfield film Picture:  IAN WEST/PA WIRETilda Swinton is also starring in the new David Copperfield film Picture: IAN WEST/PA WIRE

A road closure will also be in place along Angel Hill – from Northgate Street – and Crown Street – from Churchgate to Honey Hill –between 9.30am and 7pm tomorrow, and this will be managed by a traffic management company.

Access will be maintained for businesses, residents and pedestrians.

Philippa Sutcliffe, assistant location manager, said in a letter to residents: “In order to keep disruption to a minimum, we have been working closely with St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council.

1840s-themed props on the Angel Hill Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD1840s-themed props on the Angel Hill Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

“We sincerely apologise for any disruption that our filming might cause. We will do the utmost to ensure that your day-to-day business remains as unaffected as possible.

“We appreciate that we are very privileged to film in Bury St Edmunds, and we do not take for granted the support we are shown from residents and business owners, for which we are hugely grateful.”

Dickens is said to have visited Bury, Sudbury and Ipswich in 1835 as a journalist of the Morning Chronicle to report on the elections.

Peter Capaldi. The former Doctor Who is also appearing in the film Picture: MATT CROSSICK/PA WIREPeter Capaldi. The former Doctor Who is also appearing in the film Picture: MATT CROSSICK/PA WIRE

When he came to Bury he stayed in what was room 11 at The Angel Hotel.

The writer also stayed in The Angel in 1859 and 1861 - this time in what was room 15 and is now 215 - when he did readings from his works at the Athenaeum.

Dickens also included The Angel in The Pickwick Papers. The main character Samuel Pickwick arrives in the town and stays at the hotel.

Film crews are already setting up in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MICHAEL STEWARDFilm crews are already setting up in Bury St Edmunds Picture: MICHAEL STEWARD

The actual blue plaque for the writer, which marks his stay at the hotel, will have to be removed for filming.

In May, Lionsgate UK announced it had taken the British rights to the movie.

In a statement, Armando Iannucci said: “I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Lionsgate in the UK to be making this wonderful story about poverty and riches, and friendship and loss.

“With such an amazing and immense cast, David Copperfield is the Infinity War of the 1840s.”

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “Bury St Edmunds has a lovely historic charm.

“Residents in and around the town are proud of its wonderful heritage which in turn helps attract huge numbers of visitors each year.

“So while I am delighted, I am not surprised that Bury St Edmunds has been selected as the backdrop for some of the scenes in this film which I am very much looking forward to seeing.

“Location filming such as this is worth an estimated £2 million per year to the Suffolk economy and we would like to thank our local residents and businesses in advance for putting up with the few days of disruption that this may cause.”

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