Saturday, 25 November 2017

Murder at the college

SHIPLAKE College has featured in an episode of Midsomer Murders.

SHIPLAKE College has featured in an episode of Midsomer Murders.

The independent secondary school was transformed into Midsomer Pastures Preparatory, a girls’ school, in the episode of the ITV drama series that was shown last week.

Schooled For Murder, which featured former EastEnders actress Martine McCutcheon, included footage of the college’s great hall, the terrace of the main building and the senior common room.

Filming took place over six days in August and headmaster Gregg Davies was happy to welcome the crew to the college.

Mr Davies, who watched some of the filming with his daughter Anna, said: “The patience of the actors was amazing as they sometimes had to do scenes many times over, not because of fluffed lines but because the environment wasn’t set quite right.”

He said Maggie Steed, who played the “icy” headmistress Sylvia Mountford did not resemble her character, adding: “The fuss she made over my two bearded collies was evidence of that.”

Mr Davies said he jokingly told off Sgt Jones (Jason Hughes) for having his top button undone on college premises.

At the beginning of the programme, McCutcheon’s character Debbie Moffet, a parent, crashes her red sports car through gates constructed across the school drive. She then storms into the great hall, where a meeting of the parents’ council is being held.

But within minutes of her appearance, Moffet has been murdered by a large round of Midsomer blue cheese. Her death is followed by others linked to a dairy that is the subject of controversial modernisation plans.

McCutcheon said: “I’m a troublemaker in the episode, which is set around a posh prep school. My character is well-to-do and feisty — she’s not Tiffany from Albert Square.” The college’s common room for staff was transformed into the headmistress’s study while other scenes were filmed on the upper floors of Skipwith House.

Mr Davies said: “I did ask the bursar whether I could move my study to the senior common room but he advised me that this may start a revolution from the staff.”

Former pupil Ian Brown said he was delighted that his name featured prominently as “I. A. S. Brown” at the top of the head of house list.

The episode was initially due to be broadcast on January 16 but was delayed due to the televising of the Manchester United versus West Ham FA Cup replay.

It was then put on hold for another week due to the National Television Awards being shown.

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