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A-list actors hit Shrewsbury streets as stars of Dickens' Great Expectations

Shoppers and business owners of Shrewsbury are rubbing shoulders with the A-list cast of a BBC Great Expectations production over the next few weeks.

Victorian props have been placed down St Mary's Water Lane.
Victorian props have been placed down St Mary's Water Lane.

Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy are the topic of conversation in the town as the filming of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations begins.

The BBC/FX six-part adaptation of the Dickens classic isn't the first one to be hosted in Shrewsbury - some might remember A Christmas Carol filmed in 1984, in the same spot as one of the locations used this year, at the top of St Mary's Water Lane.

The location team work on making the surroundings look the part.

Jacqui Gray, owner of Seymour's on St. John's Hill, said: "We know someone from the flats up the road who saw Tom Hardy going to the toilet, because they have [portable toilets] on the road outside their flat. We stood in the pouring rain to see someone yesterday. We saw all the extras walking up and down in the rain in their Victorian costumes.

"There were so many crew members here all day, doing nothing really - no wonder productions cost so much! But no, we didn't see any stars. Olivia Colman is playing Miss Havisham so she wouldn't be out on the street anyway. There are plenty of tourists who still come and see where A Christmas Carol was filmed even though it was about 40 years ago."

The location team work on making the surroundings look the part.

The shop next door, formally Travail, was used as a holding area for rails of costumes to be kept in, and for extras to sit and have lunch.

Employees at Masons Independent Financial Advisers, next door to the holding area, all saw 'soggy extras' running into their costume base to seek shelter from the rain.

Great Expectations has begun filming in Shrewsbury.

St Mary's Water Lane was the next location that the crew were beginning to set up at, which was covered with snow for Dickens' Christmas Carol.

Rose Roberts, whose daughter Jessica Richards owns Shrewsbury Arts & Crafts, remembers it well.

Film crew are setting up old-style props.

The 78-year-old said: "I sat in the window upstairs and watched them. Every time they were about to start filming down on the street, they would wave their hand at me and I'd hide behind the curtain. After, they would come up and film in the room above here, which was Scrooge's office. I had very, very tatty yellow curtains in there, and the director left them up, he thought they were just about right!

"I hope the new series brings tourists and visitors, but at the moment the 'road closed' signs might be driving them away."

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