Durham Cathedral and Biddick Hall among backdrops for new George Gently series

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ICONIC buildings and landscapes across the region will help set the scenes as a new series of a prime-time crime drama starts this weekend.

Viewers will spot Durham Cathedral and Biddick Hall on the Lambton Estate, near Burnmoor, when Inspector George Gently begins on Sunday night.

Four new feature-length films, created by Our Friends in the North writer Peter Flannery and set in 1968, will see the senior officer and his mouthy sidekick Bacchus solve murders, a kidnap and confront racial unrest.

Martin Shaw, who plays the lead, and Lee Ingleby, as Bacchus, are joined by a cast list of stars including Lenora Crichlow, who has previously appeared in Being Human, Roger Lloyd Pack, Geraldine Somerville, Alison Steadman, Helen Baxendale, Mark Gatiss and Kevin Whately.

Mr Flannery said: “Gently and Bacchus return to Durham and Northumberland, my home turf, with plenty more murders and cases to solve.

“It’s 1968 with huge changes in society at that time, and hopefully our series continues to give a real portrait of the age.”

It is the sixth series of the programme and was shot on location in Durham City and across the North East.

Mr Whately returned home to the region for the filming of the final episode of the series, which sees Gently’s enemies from his days in London’s Metropolitan Police come after him.

The former Durham Cathedral chorister plays one of the officer’s old friends, but unlike his own detective, Lewis, he is a bad guy and will be seen in a shoot-out.

The actor has said Ingleby, who is originally from Burnley, has got his North East accent spot on and enjoyed coming back to fill the role.

He said: “All of the locations are nostalgic for me.

“Filming at Durham Cathedral was great, as I used to sing in the cathedral choir when I was a kid.

“It’s great to film everything on location, rather than in a studio, as helps with the imagination and the finished product.

“Filming a scene outside the town hall in Durham again brings back a clear memory of June 1963 when there was still snow on the ground there.”

Shaw has also said the cathedral is one of his favourite places to visit when he has time off during filming.

Other locations which were used in filming include the coast at Seaton Carew, and the Town Hall Theatre, in Hartlepool.

The programme will go out on BBC1 at 8.30pm.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham