IT’S just Paradise.
A country estate, which has become the backdrop for a period drama, has been hailed the perfect setting for a primetime show as filming gets under way.
The Lambton Estate, near Bournmoor, is being used by the crew of BBC1 to shoot The Paradise, the biggest programme of its kind to be made by channel in the region.
It features a new era in shopping as a department store is opened in a city. The drama starts as Denise Lovett arrives to work at her uncle’s shop nearby, only to be told he has no job for her.
Instead, the ambitious young woman decides to make her way in life through the exciting and glamorous world of the store.
The rags-to-riches story also has a romantic element, with Joanna Vanderham as Denise and Game of Thrones’ Emun Elliott as The Paradise’s owner, John Moray.
Coronation Street star Sarah Lancashire appears as the ladieswear boss.
David Hayman, who was in Trial and Retribution, and Misfits star Matthew McNulty are Moray’s helpers.
Construction on the site began in February after Durham County Council approved planning permission.
Filming will go on until October, with the programme to be screened in the new year.
Viewers will be given a glimpse of what is to come with a trailer shown tomorrow, at 8pm in a break during the Olympic Games coverage on BBC1.
A street scene, complete with The Paradise’s front, a jewellers’, grocers’, an apothecary and other stores have been created and attached to the 19th century Lambton Castle, with a door out of the shop leading on to the cobbles.
Repairs have been carried out to the listed building during the project, with its interior used as the inside of the store.
Props have been sourced from across Europe, with additional details added to windows, walls and floors to create the scenes.
The costumes have been inspired by the paintings of James Tissot.
Producer Simon Lewis said: “We looked around the country.
“We looked at big houses in the south west, Devon and Dorset and a couple in Wales, all over, and this was the best location that we found because of the interior of the house.
“It’s given us the large hall, staircase, some very big rooms and so a bank of locations.
“The shop is based on Liberty and Fortnum and Mason. What we wanted was it for to be really plush.”