Saturday, June 11, 2011

On the Telly

OK, I know I've talked about the thrill of seeing somewhere familiar in the tellybox before, but ITV have taken it to a new level this week with Injustice, a "psychological thriller" stripped across all five days and largely shot in and around, well, here. Written by Suffolk local Anthony Horowitz, we have a lawyer and his family enjoying life by the sea in our delightful County. Except they are not explicit about much of this in the script, and certainly take a few liberties with reality. So I'm having fun spotting what is masquerading as where and trying to work out the bits I don't recognise at all. And of course while I know that this sort of thing goes on all the time (e.g. Cardiff being the entire universe in Doctor Who) it does reinforce the message that you can't use tv drama as a tourist guide when planning a holiday. The only other major show we have had up here of late was the dramatisation of the Ipswich Murders (Five Daughters) which was shot in Bristol to avoid upsetting the residents too much, but did feature some beautiful establishing and wide shots of the town as well as actual news footage from the time. This time we have also been mercifully free from bad attempts at Suffolk accents, unlike when Inspector Linley had a mystery to solve in "Suffolk" once (but with no recognisable geography).

Anyway, for those thinking about coming up to Suffolk on the strength of the locations, here's my reasonably spoiler-free rough guide to what is where (or where it definitely isn't):

Let us start with the house of Dervla Kirwan and James Purefoy. The town they live in is not specified other than it being coastal and with Ipswich being their mainline station/local court for him to work at. However, it is definitely Southwold as the pier and beach feature prominently, along with a few shots of beach huts.

Here in Felixstowe we had bad guys living on one of the static caravan parks down by the docks, and a long sequence showing our sea front in all its faded glory. They managed to make it very confusing by digitally dropping in some tower blocks (which play a key part in the plot). As you can see from the picture above, they really aren't there...

Staying in Felixstowe we have the station building here pretending to be the outside of Ipswich Station (with big Welcome to Ipswich signs just to prove the point). Of course they couldn't use the bit of our station where trains actually stop as we only have one small platform now, cut off from the still-impressive building as seen on TV by the car park. In real life, our station building now houses a few small shops, a community radio station, a pub, a cafe and the entrance to a supermarket. Still, they did use the car park as a car park, so that bit was real! No idea where the platforms they filmed at were though, didn't look like any I am familiar with and the few glimpses of trains seen were not ones that run around here either.

The bus we saw leaving from "Ipswich" station in episode 1 was indeed a genuine Ipswich Buses vehicle, even if they don't actually run to Framlingham (in fact there isn't a direct service from the station either). Mind you, the bus stop in the middle of nowhere certainly wasn't one of mine (I'd have made them one special and everything if they'd asked) and the flag was poorly positioned on the pole, probably breaking traffic signs regulations.

Bits I haven't identified include: The court building (definitely not Ipswich Crown Court, and not another building around town I recognise), the police station (again, not Ipswich or the force HQ at Martlesham) and the young offenders institute (although that is no doubt meant to represent Warren Hill at Hollesley Bay). Fields driven through in the middle of nowhere could well be local, although some of them seemed a bit too hilly to me... And of course while lots of the London locations were very recognisable there was also much that I probably wouldn't recognise if you dropped me there.

Mrs B, however, is just upset that Dervla was in town and she didn't get to see her... And you can see it all on the ITV plyer for next few weeks.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Show Time!

Aaah, the County Agricultural Show. One of the few places where high fashion, bowler hatted stewards, farming tweeds and replica football kits get to rub shoulders with each other. Usually in the queue for an organic hog roast or artisan-made ice cream. While wearing wellies (although not this year due to the recent lack of rain).

We had the Suffolk Show last week and spent an enjoyable day poking the animals and gawping at the fashionistas. I do so enjoy the sight of a young farmer (or farmer's wife I suppose) dressed up to the nines and going gooey over a duckling or haggling on a hand crafted objet d'art alongside the general populace in their scruffiest "day out where you might get a bit muddy" attire.

Things were improved somewhat further this year by a ban on all dogs within the showground. With the exception of those actively engaged in demonstrations of hunting or rounding up sheep or helping the disadvantaged find their way around, all the other canines were banished to a different field. It made a nice change to be able to sit down with an ice cream or lunch and not to have to (a) check the ground first and (b) worry about a sandwich thieving mutt slobbering past. Hopefully they will ban the smokers next.

I always enjoy a look at the old tractors (sad, I know) and you can't beat the animals for a good day out. Lots of pictures on flickr if you click on the horsey abhove to go through to the set...