STARS from some of the world’s best known television shows and films will be on our doorstep next month shooting a six-part drama.
Damian Lewis, fresh from hit US show Homeland, will play Henry VIII opposite Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall, the much-anticipated adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels.
The Emmy-nominated Lewis will join an elite list of actors and actresses to film part of the drama at Barrington Court for two weeks across June and July, ahead of it being aired on BBC Two in 2015.
During filming, the Ilminster manor house will be predominantly closed but visitors will have to chance to do guided tours and see the film set.
Allan King, of the National Trust, said it is an exciting time for staff at Barrington.
He added: “The team here are all excited to see the finished results when Wolf Hall is broadcast next year.
“It is good that the production company recognised that the authentic period interiors and landscapes would give the right look to a production of this scale.
“Real locations make period dramas come alive, evoking an era and establishing the heart of a story with just a few shots of perfectly preserved architecture.
“For us, all the money from the film work will stay in South Somerset and be used for the essential conservation work at both Barrington and Montacute House in Yeovil.”
The flagship drama, which charts the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court from his lowly start as a blacksmith's son to Henry VIII's closest advisor, will be director by BAFTA-winning Peter Kosminksy.
Producers chose Barrington because of the authentic interiors and surroundings which match the period setting of the books.
Mayor of Ilminster Emma Jane Taylor said she would be delighted if any of the celebrities came into town to visit shops or dine in restaurants.
She added: “If any of their fans used hotels and B&Bs in the town that would be fantastic and a real boost to Ilminster.”
Claire Foy (The Promise) will play Anne Boleyn in the show, written by Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy).
Other casting includes Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife), Richard Dillane (The Dark Knight) and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones).
More information about the opening times at Barrington is available here.