York stars on the TV again as major BBC drama films at the Minster

Behind the scenes on set at St William's College, York
27 Feb 2014 @ 11.19 am
| News
Behind the scenes on set at St William's College, York
Behind the scenes on set at St William’s College, York

Filming starts at York Minster this week as another prestigious BBC drama is set partly in the city.

Scenes for Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell will be shot at the Minster and at neighbouring St William’s College – the same location used last year for BBC One’s Christmas hit Death Comes To Pemberley.

The Minster has also recently been used as a location for Bill, a comedy film starring the cast of BBC TV’s Horrible Histories.

Based on the book by Susanna Clarke, the story of Jonathan Strange opens in York at the beginning of the 19th century, when the people of England no longer believe in practical magic.

This all changes when the reclusive Mr Norrell causes the statues of York’s cathedral to speak and move, starting a new enthusiasm for practical magic which takes in war, peace, fairies and even resurrection.

Starring in the title roles are Eddie Marsan, best known for movies including Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Best Of Men, and Bertie Carvel, who won an Olivier award for his role as Miss Trunchbull in West End hit Matilda the Musical.

The cast also includes Alice Englert (Ginger & Rosa, Beautiful Creatures), Marc Warren (Hustle), Samuel West (Mr Selfridge), Charlotte Riley (Wuthering Heights) and Game Of Thrones actor Paul Kaye.

Eddie Marsan (left) starring alongside Robert Downey Jr in the Sherlock Holmes movies
Eddie Marsan (left) starring alongside Robert Downey Jr in the Sherlock Holmes movies

“To have such a key role at the start of this series is fantastic for York Minster,” said the cathedral’s marketing director, Nicola Bexon.

“York Minster and St William’s College have proved fantastically popular locations for filming period pieces, with Death Comes To Pemberley and Bill shooting here, but in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the cathedral will be ‘playing’ itself, rather than standing in for another location!”

Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell began filming in Yorkshire in October, and has been backed by from a Screen Yorkshire fund set up to help major projects to shoot in the region.

“We are delighted that York Minster will play such a key role in another one of Screen Yorkshire’s productions,” said chief executive Sally Joynson

Jonathan Strange And Mr Norrell is the largest scale project that Screen Yorkshire has invested in and it will spend more than six months shooting in the region at an incredible range of locations across North and West Yorkshire including York, Leeds, Ripley, Wakefield and Rotherham.

“As well as showcasing landmark locations such as York Minster, which will doubtless inspire visitors to Yorkshire for years to come, the production will have a major economic impact for crew, facilities and local businesses such as hotels, taxis and restaurants.”

The series is directed by Toby Haynes, who has worked on The Musketeers and Doctor Who. A transmission date has not yet been set.