Friday, 2 July 2010


I’m currently in the Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough, rocking backwards and forwards on a crazy contraption which seems to be a cross between a picnic table and a rocking chair. We’ve been filming since 7.30am and I ache in places I didn’t know existed.

We already have an astonishing number of shots in the can and have ticked the Yorkshire Moors, Pickering and Scarborough off the list. It took us a little time to find our feet and we started with one of the most ambitious set-ups of the entire 8-day shoot, which involved hauling a piano to the top of a hill which was covered in sheep poo... We went on to film a string quartet standing on a pile of logs and a drag queen sitting on a rock in a pair of laddered tights which we subsequently discovered were fresh on.

The turning point of the day came in Pickering, where, against all odds, we pulled off a major coup de theatre involving a steam train hurtling into a station behind a group of woodwind players. It was almost as though the train had been automated by click track; it timed itself to the music so perfectly. As the shot ended there were many hugs and even a few tears.

Other highlights include having an entire fairground in Scarborough closed for us and spending 20 minutes spinning round and round on a ferris wheel before a massive free-for-all on the dodgems. Less fun was being electrocuted, twice, by 230 volts. It was a very strange sensation and for a time I felt quite odd, but I guess there are very few people who can claim to have been almost killed a bumper car!

We filmed donkeys on the beach, and then went out to sea on a beautiful blue fishing boat, which bounced up and down on the waves beneath a sugary orange sky. Perfect.

No donkey rides or electric shocks for Pepys on this date 350 years ago. His maid, Jane, was getting better, and he was annoyed to have been invited out to dinner by a so-called friend who then expected him to pay his share of the bill. This was the height of roguish behaviour in Pepys’ eyes.

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