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Fifty-strong TV crew rolls into north Norfolk town to film spy-themed docudrama

PUBLISHED: 16:57 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 25 February 2019

Cafe Kitale, in North Walsham, which was used for the filiming of a History Channel docudrama at the weekend.
Photo: Paula Crossley

Cafe Kitale, in North Walsham, which was used for the filiming of a History Channel docudrama at the weekend. Photo: Paula Crossley

Archant

Crowds in their hundreds flocked to Cromer pier a few months ago, to watch a BBC film crew shoot a Christmas trailer seen by millions over the festive season.

And now another north Norfolk town looks set for TV stardom, after a 50-strong crew arrived in North Walsham at the weekend, to film scenes of a real-crime docudrama due to be shown on the History Channel in a few months’ time.

The crew, from London-based Alaska Productions, contacted North Walsham builder Robert Scammell last month to ask if they could use his café and next-door charity shop at St Nicholas Court for filming.

Mr Scammell, who is currently in Uganda on an aid mission, agreed and, on Sunday, ten vans pulled up at 7am, with production company staff setting to work immediately to transform the two businesses into a Caribbean internet cafe and a chemist.

The charity shop, which raises cash for a Ugandan school supported by Mr Scammell, is run by his sister, Helen Constantinou, who arrived early to open up for the crew.

“It was amazing,” she said. “There must have been at least 50 people and they just had so much equipment.”

The cafe was transported to Barbados, with bamboo round the walls and flowers on the tables, while the charity shop, which is one of three opened by Mr Scammell since he began raising funds for Ugandan youngsters in 2005, was kitted out to look like a pharmacy.

“They took my shelving out of the windows and added white shelves with toiletries instead,” Mrs Constaninou explained.

Production company staff also moved stock behind a screen fitted across the back of the store and added a till and other props.

St Nicholas Court was blocked off for the duration of the shoot, but Mrs Constantinou said the crew’s arrival attracted a lot of attention from local people, with dozens turning out to watch.

“We couldn’t really see much, but there were a lot of actors sitting in the café drinking coffee and I did see one man run into the ‘chemist’ and run out again carrying a white bag,” Mrs Constantinou said.

The story featured in the docudrama remains a mystery, but it is understood to be set in Walthamstow, East London in 2006, and called The Spying Game.

“We are looking forward to seeing it, North Walsham is a quiet, sleepy town so it was quite exciting,” Mrs Constantinou said.

Mr Scammell will be donating location fees from the filming to the Kitale School, in Uganda.

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