VIEWERS can take a step back in time earlier than expected when a new primetime period drama hits TV screens this month.
TV chiefs were so impressed with the first episode of The Paradise, which is shot on the Lambton Estate near Bournmoor, that they decided to bring its 2013 screening forward.
Now, the BBC drama will hit TV screens on Tuesday, September 25.
Shot inside the estate’s castle, which has been transformed into a department store, programme makers have created a street scene to provide the backdrop to 1875.
The story is adapted from a novel by Emile Zola and has been relocated to the North East.
It stars former Coronation Street star Sarah Lancashire, Emun Elliott, who has stared in Game of Thrones and plays as the owner of The Paradise, John Moray, and Joanna Vanderham, who is the leading lady Denise Lovett.
She arrives in town to take up a job with her uncle Edmund Lovett in his shop, only to be told there is no position for her.
She then finds employment at the department store, where she becomes enthralled in a love triangle with Mr Moray.
The Paradise’s producer Simon Lewis said he thought the story was like a “Sex And The City in the 19th Century” when he first read the book and set about finding a location to film the eight hour-long episodes.
It will be filming into next month after starting its work on the site in the spring, with six months spent preparing the sets.
Simon said: “When we first saw the house, it had plaster falling off the walls, lots of leaks, it was very cold and wet – but it had lots of potential.
“It has a beautiful hall, gorgeous staircase and a lovely room downstairs that we use as the ladieswear department, which Denise works in.
“There’s also the back of house areas as well, the long corridors upstairs, which we turned into dormitories for the shop girls who work in ladieswear.
“Nobody thought that we were going to be ready.
“On the first day of filming one set had been completed, which was Lovett’s interior.
“We started filming and we were in there for about a week.
“For the first couple of weeks we were going on to sets when the paint was still wet.
“Gradually, within about a month of us starting everything was finished.”
The first episode will be shown on BBC One at 9pm, on Tuesday, September 25.