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Fake snow and film stars: When A Christmas Carol came to Shrewsbury

A local man who was an extra in the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol has shared his memories of filming the Charles Dickens classic in Shropshire.

Kim Downer holding a a picture of himself and George C. Scott outside the old Royal Salop Infirmary.
Kim Downer holding a a picture of himself and George C. Scott outside the old Royal Salop Infirmary.

Kim Downer, who was running his own window cleaning business at the time, was approached by a member of the casting team at 7am one morning.

He was invited to attend an interview at The Lion Hotel on the Wyle Cop, when he was told that he 'looked the part' and took on the role as gentleman in the film.

Kim pictured outside of the old Royal Salop Infirmary..

The filming took place around Shrewsbury and lasted for approximately two months for Mr Downer, who said that "it was a brilliant" experience he continues to look back on.

Directed by Clive Donner, the film starred George C. Scott as the mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge, Frank Finlay as his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and Anthony Walters as Tiny Tim.

Mr Downer said that all members of the cast were really supportive and that he was "sorry to see it finish," noting that the film "brought a lot of life to Shrewsbury and a lot of people came in to support the town."

Reminiscing over his favourite memories, Mr Downer said that he enjoyed watching the filming taking place in the church and talking with the cast and crew on set.

Kim Downer who was in the 1984 A Christmas Carol. Copy picture of Kim Downer pictured with George C. Scott outside of the old Royal Salop Infirmary.

He took part in three different scenes in the film, in the setting of the church, on the street and also outside the old Royal Salop Infirmary – now home to The Parade Shops – where George C Scott is standing in Mr Downer's picture.

The costumes and set were "phenomenal" he said, particularly the use of fake snow and the game birds which were hung in the square.

Martin Wood, the town crier of Shrewsbury, also spoke of his "fantastic" experience being a part of the film as a stand-in double for Edward Woodward and Michael Carter, who played the Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come.

Shrewsbury Town Crier Martin Wood shares his memories of the 1984 A Christmas Carol that was filmed in Shrewsbury

Mr Wood, who was 31 when filming took place, said: "I usually watch it around once a month. It did a great deal for the town and still does."

Mr Wood undertakes guided tours around Shrewsbury and has been told by American tourists who visit the town – and want to see where it was filmed – that the film is seen somewhere in America almost every day of the year.

"We had a great time, they were all wonderful people" he added, noting Clive Donner's kind gesture to invite Mrs Wood on set to sit next to the camera so that she could see the filming take place.

He also recalled how American actor and star George C. Scott brought over one of the first Trivial Pursuit board games.

The cast would play as a group – popping in and out when they had a scene – up until the very last day of filming.

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