Behind the scenes with 'The Mill' on Channel 4
In mid-February 2013, Quarry Bank was taken over by Channel 4, which proved to be exciting as well as posing several operational conundrums…
It was fantastic for all of the staff to turn up to work and really feel as if they had stepped back into the 1830s, as Channel 4 had set dressed the Mill Yard to appear as it did in the 19th century. Our favourite piece of set dressing was the rubber cobbles which were placed over the concreted areas of the Yard - fantastic fun to walk over first thing in the morning! It was brilliant to see the actors walking around in their costumes and even funnier when you spotted someone on their phone, between takes, in full costume.
Naturally, there was some disruption to the day-to-day running of the property, but rather than a nuisance it was interesting for us to see the ‘behind the scenes’ action of a film set. It also meant that we managed to get a sneak peek of some of the scenes of the show, as staff, volunteers and visitors alike were unable to cross the Mill Yard whilst filming was in progress, so if you nipped to the toilet there was a distinct chance that on your way back you would get to watch a scene unfolding, and many visitors commented that the filming was almost like an attraction itself.
As the scenes weren’t filmed in chronological order of the story, the staff and volunteers who had managed to catch a scene would try and exchange information to get an idea of the overall storyline, which led to many differing ideas and theories about romance, scandals, friendships and tensions. It was also great fun trying to work out which actor was portraying which character as we have our own ideas of the type of person the historical figures were, such as Samuel Greg and Robert Hyde Greg, played by Donald Sumpter and Jamie Draven.
We here at Quarry Bank can’t wait to see the show and see if our predictions were right.