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Will new film from Alan Partridge director bring Norfolk tourism boost?

PUBLISHED: 16:28 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 04 January 2020

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

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A film adaptation of a much-loved Dickens classic could bring a big screen boost to tourism for the town used as part of its backdrop.

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Scenes from Armando Iannucci's Personal History of David Copperfield were filmed in King's Lynn.

Movie makers took over the Outer Purfleet in the summer of 2018 and transformed it into a 19th Century waterfront.

Crowds lined the bridge to catch a glimpse of the star-studded cast, including Dev Patel as Copperfield, Peter Capaldi as Mr Micawber and Tilda Swinton as Betsey Trotwood.

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The normally quiet waters beneath the Custom House were filled with 10 sailing boats as the town was transformed into the setting for the Charles Dickens novel.

The derelict probation offices were boarded up with make-shift shop fronts advertising scull and pump makers and carpenters.

Extras dressed as Victorian merchants rolled barrels of fish across the crowded streets, between the horse-drawn carriages and dockside traders.

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Nockolds, portfolio holder for culture, heritage and health at King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council, said the town has already seen an increase in visitors.

She said: "When they were filming people were really fascinated by it all, it was really good for King's Lynn.

"I hope that on the credits that it mentions King's Lynn because once people have been here once they are amazed as we have so much heritage and visit for a second time."

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The adaptation, due for release in UK cinemas on January 24, also includes scenes shot in Angel Hill at Bury St Edmunds and at Weybourne beach.

Critics have given the film the thumbs-up. It was well-received at the British Film Festival in London in October, where it was screened for the first time.

It also won best screenplay, best casting and best production design at the British Independent Film Awards.

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Ianucci's previous work includes the Alan Partridge film, Alpha Papa, political satire, In the Loop, and 2017's The Death of Stalin.

The Dickensian drama is not the first time the Purfleet has featured as a film set.

Parts of Revolution, starring Al Pacino, Donald Sutherland and Nastassja Kinski, were shot in Lynn, with hundred of locals roped in as extras.

The filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe filming of David Copperfield is taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

But the film bombed at the box office losing millions after its release in 1985.


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