BBC Great Expectations

In July 2011 the BBC came to film the exterior scenes of Great Expectations which, among 6.6 million other people, you may have seen on your screens over the Christmas period.

It took 4 days and many hands to transform Holdenby House into the decaying Satis House, home of Miss Havisham.

We removed all the gravel from the courtyard in the front of the house and 80 tonnes of soil was laid in the courtyard and down the driveway. This was then covered in weeds, creepers and dead leaves.

The windows of the house were sprayed to give the impression of dirt built up over years of neglect and dead ivy bushes were hung over windows and across the front of the building.

A rather impressive pond and fountain was erected in the middle of the courtyard, this again being distressed to show the years of decay.

All those involved worked incredibly hard for those four days to make way for three days of filming some of the iconic scenes in the dramatisation; Miss Havisham watching out the upstairs window of Pip disappearing down the drive, a young Pip fighting in the courtyard with Herbert and a farewell kiss between an older Pip and Estelle.

We were delighted to have the BBC crew here for those days and they did a wonderful job in helping us to clear up. We were under pressure to get cleaned up with an event two days later! With a lot of work and dedication the decaying Satis House was reformed to the beautiful Holdenby House that you see today.

Click here to see a few photos from the filming.

(Photograph by kind permission of BBC/Todd Antony)

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