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Purfleet in King's Lynn drained ahead of Dickens film adaptation

By Lynn News Reporter

Filmstars are set to come to Lynn next month after the town was confirmed as a location for a new production of a classic Charles Dickens novel.

Scenes for The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by Armando Iannucci, are due to be filmed in July, and the Purfleet has now been drained in preparation for this.

Peter Capaldi, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw and Dev Patel, who will play the title character, have all been cast in the film.

A typical view of Custom House and the Outer Purfleet, when the water is not drained.
A typical view of Custom House and the Outer Purfleet, when the water is not drained.

Iannucci, creator of The Thick of It, is said to be bringing a ‘fresh and distinctive’ take on the 19th century novel with his new adaptation, which is set in the 1840s.

In May, Iannucci responded to a report that Lionsgate had taken the UK rights to the film on Twitter and said: “All aboard. Can’t wait to start shooting.”

David Copperfield, Dickens’ eighth novel, was first published in 1850 and is considered to be autobiographical.

While the draining of the Outer Purfleet was scheduled to allow the filming scenes to take place next month, it was also done to carry out some maintenance work.

Dev Patel (2430411)
Dev Patel (2430411)

A West Norfolk Council spokeswoman said: “Preparatory work for the floating restaurant that will be located in the Outer Purfleet is under way.”

Plans for the restaurant,which are part of broader proposals to revitalise the town’s riverfront, were approved by councillors back in May.

While some residents voiced their concerns for the floating restaurant and claimed it would be a “disfigurement” of the area, members of the planning committee said it was important to diversify attractions.

“The Purfleet has been drained and on Friday the stoplocks will be removed for repair,” the council spokeswoman added.

“The work has been scheduled now to allow the filming of scenes from the film ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’, directed by Armando Iannucci, to take place in July.

“While the stoplocks are being repaired the Purfleet will be tidal.

“The Environment Agency will therefore be closing the flood gates around the Purfleet for safety reasons.”

These will remain closed for about a month until the stoplocks are replaced

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