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Could Great Yarmouth be used as setting for major new film?

Royal Hotel Yarmouth 1971 for sale late October. Charles Dickens stayed here while researching David Copperfield

Royal Hotel Yarmouth 1971 for sale late October. Charles Dickens stayed here while researching David Copperfield

Archant

A mysterious tweet has led to speculation about a new adaptation of one of Charles Dickens’ most loved works.

It started with a post by comedy writer Simon Blackwell, the man behind a plethora of popular shows including Peep Show, Veep and the film Four Lions.

The tweet stated: “On a replacement bus service to Great Yarmouth with [Armando Iannucci] for Charles Dickens reasons.”

In 1849 Dickens stayed for two days at Royal Hotel in Waterloo Road, Great Yarmouth, and used the town as the main setting for his semi-autobiographical novel David Copperfield.

In was announced in March 2015 that Mr Iannucci, who is responsible for creating Alan Partridge, The Thick of It and The Day Today, would create a new big screen adaptation of the Victorian novel.

Small plaque on the front of the Royal Hotel on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.
Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel Small plaque on the front of the Royal Hotel on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth. Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel "David Copperfield" Picture: James Bass

Mr Blackwell and Mr Iannucci have worked together on many projects so could be scouting out the town for research purposes or as a possible film location.

The movie was announced as part of BBC Films’ 25th anniversary celebrations and the BBC said it would be a “fresh take” on the novel.

BBC Films’ Christine Langan said Mr Iannucci is a Dickens aficionado, adding: “He wants it to be very authentic but it will have his own sensitivity.”

According to the movie website IMDb the film is in production and is due to be released in 2018.

Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel "David Copperfield" Roads named after him and his characters Picture: James Bass

In 2011 he presented a documentary on BBC Two called Armando Iannucci on Dickens.

He set out to rediscover how Dickens wrote and used his eighth novel, David Copperfield, as a focal point.

He unpicked the language, analysed the characters and explored the revolutionary development of the man as a story-teller.

In a preface to the 1867 version of the book, Dickens himself said: “Like many fond parents, I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield.”

Small plaque on the front of the Royal Hotel on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth.
Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel Small plaque on the front of the Royal Hotel on Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth. Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Hotel whilst writing the novel "David Copperfield" Picture: James Bass

In the novel the town is given high praise, being described as follows: “Yarmouth was, upon the whole, the finest place in the universe.”

An upturned boat on the beach, used as a house, almost certainly provided the inspiration for Peggotty’s house.

David Copperfield was born at Blundeston, which lies just over the border in Suffolk, not far from Lowestoft.

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