This weekend sees the return to the screen of Lark Rise to Candleford, the award-winning BBC drama filmed on location in the South West.
Larkrise to Candleford is the BBC adaptation of Flora Thompson’s childhood memoirs, set in the small hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town Candleford, at the end of the 19th Century.
Series four, which begins on Sunday evening, continues the story of its central characters, Laura Timmins, played by Olivia Hallinan, and Julia Sawalha’s Dorcas Lane, and introduces newcomer, Gabriel Cochrane, played by Richard Harrington (Holby Blue, Collision), the handsome and once-wealthy owner of a large iron foundry.
All four series of the period drama have been filmed on location in Wiltshire, both near Corsham and in the village of Box. The stunning locations have captured the hearts of audiences since it first aired in 2008, reaching Sunday night viewing figures of up to 7 million. The drama also bases its production office in the region, in Yate, South Gloucestershire.
Lark Rise to Candleford is just one of the productions to have made its home in the South West, making a significant contribution to the local economy. Last year alone, film and television production brought £62 million into the South West, thanks to productions such as Lark Rise and other dramas including Mistresses, BAFTA-nominated Channel 4/E4 hit Skins, ITV drama, Doc Martin and feature films such as Stephen Frears’s Tamara Drewe.
Fiona Francombe is the Production Services Manager at South West Screen, the agency responsible for attracting film and television productions to work in the region. She said: “Lark Rise is one of the many productions to take advantage of the excellent locations and crew we have based in the South West. It’s great to see the region appearing in such diverse productions as Lark Rise to Candleford and Skins. It demonstrates the variety of locations we have here, which along with our strong crew base, continues to make the region attractive for filming.”
Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham, said: "I recently accompanied South West Screen on a visit to part of the Lark Rise to Candleford set in my constituency, and I was hugely impressed. Productions such as these support local crew, promote our beautiful locations and provide knock-on benefits for local businesses. The fact that film and television production generates real value for our local economy as well as creating popular shows like this for audiences to enjoy is often overlooked.”
Lark Rise to Candleford will be transmitted at 9pm on Sunday 9 January, BBC 1.