A Cock and Bull Story (15)

VIV THOMAS Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon head an all-star cast flitting between the 18th century and a contemporary film crew trying to capture the essence of Laurence Sterne's literary work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.

VIV THOMAS

Norfolk's stately homes, Felbrigg Hall, Blickling Hall and Heydon Hall, were all used during the filming of this new comedy drama.

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon head an all-star cast flitting between the 18th century and a contemporary film crew trying to capture the essence of Laurence Sterne's literary work The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.

Coogan plays Shandy, who narrates his life story but his anecdotes get interrupted by family and household staff - accidentally revealing other truths.


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He also plays Shandy's father Walter, while Rob Brydon is indecisive Uncle Toby. As well as both playing comic versions of themselves, Coogan is always annoyed people mistake him for his comic creation Alan Partridge.

Then, when the filming stops for the day - at the moment of Shandy's birth, the action then shows the actors off camera - Coogan's wife (Kelly Macdonald) turning up with their young baby, as well as a journalist trying to dig up some dirt on the actor, his agent carrying an armful of Hollywood scripts and the film financiers playing merry hell.

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The film within a film's director is played by Jeremy Northam, while the real action is helmed by Michael Winterbottom, who worked with Coogan on 24 Hour Party People.

Stephen Fry (as Parson Yorick), David Walliams and Ronni Ancona are other comic actors adding to the starry mix - as well as X-Files' Gillian Anderson as herself playing Widow Wadman.

The film itself was a troubled shoot, with financial headaches, but producer Andrew Eaton has said it was one of the best he has ever been involved with:

“We were in this extraordinary part of the country, filming in these beautiful houses in late summer. And although the beginning was very stressful and we had a lot to do in six weeks, the actual shoot became very magical.”

This acclaimed film has received rave reviews, praising its comic interweaving of truth and fiction, a classic supposedly “unfilmable” novel and the notion of where celebrity stops and the real people begin.

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