Charity shop transformed for TV series

Think of a charity shop and feather boas and pin sharp stilettos don't usually spring to mind.But unsuspecting visitors to the Swaffham branch of BREAK are in for a rude awakening over the next couple of days as polyester makes way for PVC.

By NICK HEATH

Think of a charity shop, and feather boas and pin-sharp stilettos don't usually spring to mind.

But unsuspecting visitors to the Swaffham branch of BREAK are in for a rude awakening over the next couple of days as polyester makes way for PVC.

Its lurid reinvention as sex shop Tiger Lilly's will only last for two days and anybody popping in for a titillating titbit might be embarrassed to discover a film crew.

Yesterday the shop in Swaffham's historic Market Place was transformed for a scene in the new series of the Stephen Fry drama Kingdom that will go out on ITV next year.

Producers were playing their cards close to their chests about the scene in the new series and whether Mr Fry's character, Peter Kingdom, would be a patron of the salacious establishment.

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The crew recently began the show's final six-week block of filming in the town and have already captured a town centre car chase and scenes at Central Norfolk Magistrates Court, Swaffham Police Station and inside the town's Territorial Army centre.

A frisson of excitement hung over the shop yesterday as staff eagerly waited to lay eyes on the finished set.

Shop manager Anne Doddington said: "We were hoping that the crew might leave us something as a memento but I don't think we are about to start branching out into selling anything this saucy.

"Word's got around quite quickly and a lot of our customers have been asking whether they will be able to come and have a look round Tiger Lilly's.

"We all think this is wonderful, we are all looking forward to seeing it on screen and our volunteers were keen to star as employees in the sex shop but sadly I don't think they needed us.

"After the show goes out I'm expecting a lot of visitors to come through our doors looking for Tiger Lilly's and we're hoping to get a snap of Tiger Lilly's to put on the wall as a reminder."

The shop has never featured in Kingdom before but its clothes and other items from its shelves regularly appear on TV as props and costumes in the show.

Spokesman for BREAK Sarah Bunn said: "I just hope that nobody knocks on the door and tries to buy anything or there could be some very red faces."

Kingdom's set crew worked all day yesterday transforming the facade of the shop and the front third of the shop floor.

Location manager Henry Woolley said: "It does not take long to figure out that Swaffham has not got any shops of this type so we knew we needed to find a shop we could use.

"We chose the BREAK shop because it photographs so well and shows off a pretty location in Swaffham.

"I expect it will turn a few heads but it is all fairly tame stuff so I don't expect it will cause too much of a stir."

Filming will take place today and it will be converted back tomorrow, with the charity shop reopening either on Saturday or Monday.

Twelve staff work at the shop in Swaffham, with nine volunteers, a manager, deputy manager and relief deputy manager.

BREAK has 31 shops across the country, 24 of which are in East Anglia, that raise money to provide specialist care to about 1,000 families each year. The charity provides breaks for children and adults with learning disabilities at holiday centres in North Norfolk, runs children's homes and last year provided over 1,500 nights of short-break respite care for 30 school-age children at its centre in South Norfolk as well as offering a host of other services.

Find out more about BREAK at www.break-charity.org or call 01263 822161.

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