The Tamara Drewe Circus comes to town
We were to be the epicentre, twixt Yetminster, Salway Ash and Blackdown where many of the scenes for Tamara Drewe were filmed.
A house we passed every day suddenly had a new fence. Not just any new fence, but a wibbly-wobbly, rustic-style fence. It looked like something from Babe.
‘Why would anyone put up such a stupid, hideous fence?’ my friend Pelly asked, before we realised this was the location for the ‘writers’ retreat’ run by central characters Beth and Nicholas Hardiment.
And then the trailers began to arrive. Cars and vehicles parked under an electricity pylon in the middle of a field. The Tamara Drewe Circus had come to town.
There was money to be made, deals to be struck. Celebrities wandered through Beaminster, flash cars drove through our lanes and a catering truck paid to park on the village allotments. There was swooning from period drama fans because Dominic Cooper was within range. Was it possible to cycle past the set, perhaps, and feign a puncture in the hope he might dash out to give his assistance?
Posters for the church fete bearing the strapline ‘film location for Tamara Drewe’ attracted visitors by the thousands.
And now the film is out. Not surprisingly, the star of the show is the Dorset countryside.
There is no trace of My Kind of Town's rural Lidl in Frears’ rural idyll. Hell, even the electricity pylons look pretty. The wooded top of my beloved Bluebell Hill dominates long shots and you can almost feel the lush grass and smell the cows’ milky breath as the camera pans across the field.
The thought of even more self-absorbed, middle class people simultaneously romping around the luscious Dorset countryside and being up their own backsides fills me with dread: the people who complain about the long-established kebab shop next door to a newly-opened boutique hotel, the self-styled literati who condescend at the drop of a panama hat, the Badger Brigade who put a stop to housing developments and curse the farmers for wanting to cull dear old Brock for infecting cattle with TB.
When a woman reviewing Tamara Drewe remarked on Radio 4’s Front Row that the properties in Dorset looked so beautiful she wondered if any were for sale, the whole village heard my scream.
‘But, lady, the bloody cattle, ’I yelled. ‘They’re beasts.’
And do you know, I think I heard a heifer softly mooing in agreement, before being overrun by badgers.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
PS An edited version of this appeared in The Guardian's G2 today.
PPS Tamara Drewe receives a gala showing in Bridport, Dorset, tomorrow night, when director Stephen Frears and writer Posy Simmonds will be among those attending, along with the local literati...