Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Flog It! At Tredegar House

It has been a busy week or so at Tredegar House with film crews using the superb rooms of 'Wales's Finest Restoration House' (I wonder if we could get that trademarked...) as a backdrop for filming. The first to appear were a BBC crew filming an episode for the new season of Doctor Who. They used the Dining Room and the New Hall; no David Tennant as yet (Tredegar House was used for scenes involving the 'Prime Minister'), but the crew may return later this year.

Then on Monday the crew from BBC's Flog It! antiques programme spent a whole day at the House. It was a long shoot and the results should be very interesting. They filmed in most rooms, with longer pieces in the Master's Bed Chamber (where the tale of the madness of Lady Elizabeth Dayrell was recounted), King's Room (Evan, Viscount Tredegar's week-end house parties), Brown Room and Gilt Room (the extravagance of Sir William Morgan KB and his wife Lady Rachel) and in the Side Hall (Godfrey Morgan and the Charge of the Light Brigade). The presenter, Paul Martin, also peeked into many of the rooms 'Below Stairs' and, all in all, the programme should do a lot of good for the House; it certainly looked superb on screen.

It was quite a testing day for the film crew. Their work in the morning was disrupted somewhat by the sudden appearance of an 'important person'. Filming was halted as the guest inspected the state rooms. Speculation was rife as to this person's identity. One of the crew wondered if it was royalty; the producer, Gayle, living up to her Scottish roots, thought it was someone far more important: "Is it Sean Connery?" she asked more in hope than expectation. Sadly for Gayle, it wasn't Sir Sean, but the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. I am quite sure that huge swathes of the Great British population go weak at the knees at the mere mention of his name but it seems that the MP for Blackburn failed to get the Flog It! crews' pulses racing, but were they angry and bitter at the Foreign Secretary for delaying their filming? Not a bit of it, and anyway, as one of them grinned: "We weren't going to vote Labour anyway!"

The Flog It! crew were wonderful, and the result of their work at Tredegar House will be eagerly anticipated; whether I live to see it is another matter. One of the wardens at Tredegar, Ray, runs an antiques shop in Newport. As the day's filming came to a close he spotted me in the Brown Room window and called up to me:

Ray: Paul!
Me: Yes
Ray: Get me Paul Martin's autograph. Get him to write 'To Raymond'
Me: Sorry, he's already gone.
Ray: Grrrrrr (Ray punches the palm of his hand and looks up at me with menace)

I fully recommend Raymond's antiques shop. Please visit it and spend lots of money. My health might just depend on it.


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