I live in a beautiful sleepy corner of Oxfordshire, and my neighbouring village is Bampton, a two-minute drive away. It’s a chocolate box village full of stone cottages the colour of aged honey. The approach to Bampton is guided by the beautiful and very distinctive 13th century-spire of St. Mary the Virgin church. It stands out like a giant spike on the horizon, and is always a welcoming sight after an arduous drive back from London. You may recognise this beautiful church from the TV series, Downton Abbey, as Bampton stands in for the fictional Yorkshire village of Downton.
The fourth series of Downton Abbey airs tonight on British TV, and has now reached the 1920s. During the first three series, the gothic beauty of St. Mary’s dramatically featured in its fair share of weddings (both fairytale and jilted) and funerals.
There are three main filming locations for the production: Highclere House in Hampshire which is mainly used for interiors and exteriors of the house, Ealing Studios for below stairs activity, and Bampton village.
When the crew come to town, they usually film in and around the streets closest to the church. Some North Yorkshire signage, a pub, and even a post office will magically appear overnight.
When I’m not writing, I act, and have been fortunate to work on the last series of Downton Abbey as well as the new, fourth series. Ever the professional (and that means no cameras on set, apart from persistent paparazzi!), I cannot give anything away. However, I do have to thank shoffmire blogspot for these photos featured on her blog, which show some of the set decoration, including little old me in a glorious shade of drab brown, hitting my mark, and waiting for action.
To coincide with the fourth series, West Ox Gallery in the village, have also mounted an exhibition featuring costumes from the show. More info here.
For further information please visit: www.bampton.oxon.co.uk
For the best in contemporary art in Oxfordshire please visit: www.highhousehallery.com
Images by Julie Eagleton and On Set images, thanks to: shoffmire.blogspot.co.uk