It began with the Gloucester Citizen last week. They have an interest in the director, Matthew John, who was born and bred in Gloucester and his parents still live there. And the Citizen was also interested in the fact that Matthew's mother, Jackie, turned her home into a 'sweat shop' with a team of incredibly dedicated and talented people who created all the costumes.
This was followed yesterday by BBC Radio Gloucestershire. Their afternoon presenter, Claire Carter, carried out a live phone interview with Matthew in her show at around 3.45 pm, and joining him for the interview was Lord Benjamin Slade of Maunsel House and Woodlands Manor. Benjamin Slade is the owner of Maunsel House and has given the production free use of the premises to use as the filming location - an investment of his assets that is reckoned to be worth around £250,000.
During the interview, Matthew spoke of his great love for costume drama and how Britain leads the world in productions of the highest quality in this genre. Benjamin told the audience how he leapt at the chance of becoming involved because he's been given the walk-on part of a drunken aristocrat cavorting with courtesans who during a scene drunkenness fires off a couple of pistols. But on a more serious note he explained that he hoped the Hedda production would attract plenty of new tourism to Somerset, people who had seen the film wanting to come and see where it was shot. The film, he believed, would greatly benefit the local economy.
This morning, at the crack of dawn, Tim McSweeney, a reporter from BBC Radio Somerset, came to Maunsel House to do a live outside broadcast of two slots into the breakfast programme, which attracts the highest audience rating of the day. The plan was for him to interview producer Immanuel Mensik and Christine Winter, the actress playing Aunt Juliana, at 7.25 am. This was to be followed by another live slot at 8.25 am with Hedda star Rita Ramnani and Benjamin Slade. Unfortunately, there was a technical problem, and Tim had to record the interviews then rush back with them to the studio. The Rita and Benjamin interview finally went out at around 8.35 am.
Rita spoke about her interpretation of the role of Hedda Gabler while Benjamin, who is clearly a seasoned broadcast performer, repeated his lines from the BBC Radio Gloucestershire interview the day before.
On Sunday, we have a film crew from the British Film Alliance visiting the set. They're making a documentary called "Fires We're Starting" which looks at how British filmmakes overcome the exceptional challenges of these difficult times to bring productions to the screen. They think Hedda is a good illustration of that and will be interviewing cast