Lambton Estate chosen as setting for BBC period drama

Lambton Castle on the Lambton Estate, which is to be used for weddings and events in the future
Lambton Castle on the Lambton Estate, which is to be used for weddings and events in the future
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A PRESTIGIOUS country park will be the setting for a prime-time period drama expected to attract millions of viewers.

The Lambton Estate has been chosen by BBC One for a new series, The Ladies’ Paradise, a rags-to-riches story set in the 1890s.

Set designs are set to be created on the estate and, as filming on location approaches this summer, the estate is seeking to amend its planning permission to ensure shots look authentic.

Writer Bill Gallagher, who adapted Sunday-night hit Lark Rise to Candleford, is penning the script based on the novel by Emile Zola.

It is set in the “seductive and glamourous” world of the first ever department store in a booming northern city.

The writer said he was “thrilled” to be making the show with BBC Drama Productions, with the series expected to be screened next year.

He added: “The Ladies’ Paradise is set at exactly the same time as Lark Rise – but now we’re in the city, at a time of great change and upheaval, so the series is exciting and constantly dramatic.

“Like Lark Rise, we will explore the lives of a colourful cast of characters struggling to survive and flourish in difficult and dangerous times.”

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, described the programme as “a romantic, thrilling and sexy post-watershed relationship drama where Bill Gallagher’s well-crafted characters will bring an addictive mix of scandal and gossip to BBC One.”

The fake streets on the estate will be taken down once filming is complete.

Other temporary works include a lighting gantry, additions to existing buildings and long-term repairs which will include plaster work on brickwork and partition walls, joinery and mouldings.

An office block on the estate will be used by the crew, with a parking area to be set up on its Restaurant View.

A decision on the amended planning application has yet to be made by Durham County Council, which has already approved the wider plans.

The Lambton Estate, with is marketing itself as an events destination, recently gained licences to serve alcohol in the park in its main buildings, Biddick Hall and the Castle, along with permission to use areas of fields and woods for music and dancing events.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham