Murder behind the scenes

Our BBC series A Very British Murder is back tomorrow night, starting a new run at 8pm on BBC Four.  To get you in the mood, here are some behind-the-scenes photos from when we were making it last year….

Here Matthew Sweet, a very naughty man, and an expert on Wilkie Collins, is administering my first ever puff of tobacco.  I did not inhale.

Murder and Sweet














As you can see, Rachel Jardine (one of our directors) was pretty heavily pregnant throughout filming.  But there was no stopping her with the early starts, expeditions into catacombs, and gruesome stories.  I love the way that in this picture Kini Echeverria is recording the sound of the book with such concentration and dedication.

Murder and Rachel














In this picture Gerry Dawson, another of our directors, is vainly attempting to keep our cameraman Fred Fabre in some kind of order.  Fred will climb a tree, a railing, a building, a car or indeed anything at all, like a monkey, to get the shot he wants.  Typically, he here rolls around on the ground.

Murder and Gerry














Our production coordinator Jo Verity is getting our lunch ready.  Jo is full of no-nonsense efficiency, just what you need when you’re cold and hungry.  I am relaxing in my murderess Maria Manning outfit, and Kini is laughing at the ceiling (as you do).

Murder and sandwiches














We filmed our singing scene in a pub with the wonderful Vic Gammon, an expert on folk music, at nine o’clock in the morning.  I can’t speak for Vic, but I was a bit sozzled by ten.

Murder and Vic












A common conversation while filming:

Me: ‘Ooh, let’s film X.’ (‘X’ in this case was this huge wooden gun, used on their boats by the late Georgian Marine Police in London.)

Director: ‘I don’t really want to, but we’ll do it to humour you’.

Later: director fails to use X in programme.  Yep, the gun never made it in.

Murder and big gun












Seven o’clock one Saturday morning in the Dickens House museum in Doughty Street, and Simon Callow is getting ready to perform.  Once he got going with the murder of Nancy by Bill Sykes, it was electrifying, you could have heard a pin drop.  Just like the Ivor Novello scene in ‘Gosford Park’, all the museum staff crept up to the door to listen.

Murder and Simon Callow














Here we’re leaving the Lyceum Theatre in Covent Garden, having filmed Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with our great big pile of luggage.  As I remember, we then drove to Bury St Edmunds for the night and had a vegan dinner at the motorway service station on the way.  It’s a glamorous life.

Murder and luggage

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2 thoughts on “Murder behind the scenes

  1. john harding

    Lucy, Most important wishing you a very happy, healthy and fortunate New Year. Great news about the repeat of Murder, along with your book we found it really interesting, informative in all sorts of areas and fun. You are a real tonic and antidote to grey winter weather as well as being a top-rate historian, curator, researcher and presenter.

  2. Malcolm Waite

    Vegan Dinner-Motorway services?
    Not two things you would normally think of together,
    or is that just a fancy name for a plate of chips?


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