Dog turns to duck for Fry TV drama

A quiet and unassuming Norfolk market town was a hive of activity yesterday as one of the county's most famous acting sons took to the streets to film his new TV series.

A quiet and unassuming Norfolk market town was a hive of activity yesterday as one of the county's most famous acting sons took to the streets to film his new TV series.

Stephen Fry, with an impressive cast, was in Swaffham to record scenes for his first drama series for 10 years. And the main focus of yesterday's filming was the Greyhound pub in Market Square which was picked as the local for the character played by Mr Fry, in the new series Kingdom.

The pub was given a slight make-over for the shooting, along with a name-change to the Startled Duck.

Landlord Nicky George, 37, said he didn't mind renaming his pub and was quite happy to hand over the bar for the day's shooting.

Mr George, who has been at the pub since 1972, said: “There's been a lot of interest from the locals and our regulars do not seem to mind that we have closed for the morning . . . I think it is good for the town of Swaffham. A few of the regulars have asked if we are going to keep the name the Startled Duck.”

Landlady Joann Briscoe added: “It's been really interesting to watch the filming and find out how it all comes together. Some of the scenes have been really funny.”

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Mr Fry said filming for the series would continue until October and the crew would be spending some time in Swaffham and other Norfolk locations.

He said filming for the six-part legal series began on Monday and it was expected to be screened by ITV at the end of the year. It is set in a fictional Norfolk town called Market Shipborough, and Fry stars as Peter Kingdom, a country solicitor whose life is overshadowed by the mysterious death of his brother. It centres on Kingdom's dysfunctional family. Among the cast members is Celia Imrie, star of Dinner ladies and the film Calendar Girls.

Mr Fry, who lives in West Norfolk, said: “The people of Swaffham have been wonderful and very patient and we are going to be here for some months so they will get used to seeing us around.”

He said that in the series Market Shipborough, unlike Swaffham, was near the sea. Nevertheless, he thought Swaffham was the ideal choice for the town, although filming would also take place at other venues in Norfolk.

The series is being made in association with Fry's production company Sprout.

Adrian Fitzpatrick, 33, from Swaffham, said: “It's nice to see them filming here and it puts Swaffham on the map. I think it's funny that they have changed the name of the pub, and think they perhaps should keep it.”