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East Anglian towns stage David Copperfield watch-along event

PUBLISHED: 20:14 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:09 22 July 2020

Dev Patel in The Personal History of David Copperfield which was filmed in Bury St Edmunds and East Anglian film fans are being invited to watch the film together this weekend  Photo: LIONSGATE/IMDB

Dev Patel in The Personal History of David Copperfield which was filmed in Bury St Edmunds and East Anglian film fans are being invited to watch the film together this weekend Photo: LIONSGATE/IMDB

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East Anglia will relive its associations with Charles Dickens and the recent film version of The Personal History of David Copperfield when two of the principal filming locations team up for a watch-along event.

A number of scenes for a new star-studded David Copperfield film featuring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie were shot in Bury St Edmunds Picture: NAOMI WILLCOXA number of scenes for a new star-studded David Copperfield film featuring Dev Patel, Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie were shot in Bury St Edmunds Picture: NAOMI WILLCOX

Both Bury St Edmunds and King’s Lynn provided locations for Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield filmed in 2018 and starring Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie and Peter Capaldi.

In July 2018 the streets of Bury St Edmunds were filled with film crew, extras, horse drawn carriages, directors, producers, cameras as the Angel Hotel and Angel Hill stood in for a coaching inn on a Victorian London street, while The Athenaeum was redressed to appear as the outside of a theatre and Bury’s Theatre Royal provided the interiors.

The venues were well chosen, as Charles Dickens stayed three times at the Angel Hotel and performed readings next door inside The Athenaeum. Meanwhile, King’s Lynn doubled as a thriving harbour and port as well as nearby coastline provided young David Copperfield with a temporary home in an upturned ship abandoned on a beach.

The Watch-Along event has been organised by Lynn Museum in King’s Lynn to allow people to experience a piece of contemporary film in their own space, and to discuss their thoughts and observations with each other in real time.

Emma Suckling, head of development at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, said: “Seeing Theatre Royal on the big screen was so thrilling for us all, its stunning auditorium played host to many of the film’s scenes so beautifully, and was so suited to the film and the time that hardly any detail had to be changed for filming. This event will provide a wonderful opportunity for those that know and love the film’s locations well to discuss ‘live’ on Twitter as the action happens.

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“We loved hosting, and providing a base for, the film’s crew here at the theatre whilst they filmed in Bury St Edmunds. The film’s director, Armando Iannucci, has been incredibly supportive of Theatre Royal ever since, backing our reopening appeal ‘The Show Must Go On!’ and granting us special permission to host a screening of the film at the theatre back in February.”

Sue Warren, brand and marketing manager at Bury St Edmunds and Beyond, said: “The idea is that everyone watches the film at home at the same time and then tweets their thoughts on the film as they watch. So, when you see a part that was filmed in Bury St Edmunds you can react in real time with others on Twitter. Not only is it fun to do, but it also raises the profile of Bury St Edmunds and Kings Lynn as film locations and film tourism destinations.”

Dickens first stayed at The Angel in 1835 as a journalist for the Morning Chronicle (staying in what was then room 11). In 1859 and 1861 he returned to The Angel to read to a captive audience at the nearby Athenaeum, staying in what is now room 215 and known as the Charles Dickens Suite. He gave readings from The Pickwick Papers on October 13 1859 and again on October 30 1861, when he read from A Personal History of David Copperfield.

To take part in the watch-along event, simply go to the Facebook event page and click ‘going’ here.

The film is currently available on DVD, or to stream in a variety of places including the BFI Player or on Amazon.

Start the film at 7pm on Sunday, July 26. Use the hashtag #CopperfieldAlong when you post your comments and thoughts on then film and to join in with others. Follow Bury St Edmunds and Beyond on twitter @BuryStEdBeyond.

For more information, visit here


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