By Pippa Cole
Filming for the BBC drama Inspector George Gently has been taking place in Durham.
The filming for the eighth series of the drama occured during what is arguably the town’s busiest week of the year: Freshers’ Week.
Set in the North East in the late sixties, the crime drama follows the murder-solving protagonist, played by Martin Shaw.
Filming began in mid-September and is scheduled to continue intermittently until the beginning of December.
Durham was chosen as an authentic setting for the period drama, and the crew have been spotted in various locations across Durham including Crossgate, Prebends Bridge, Allergate and Old Elvet Bridge. These areas were cordoned off to the public, with parking bays suspended by the council and satellite dishes taken down.
It is not Company Picture’s first visit to Durham. Previous series of Inspector George Gently have been filmed at less central locations such as Whinney Hill and Spennymore.
Producer Peter Norris told Palatinate that the crew were aware that it was Freshers’ Week but commented: “There’s never a good time.”
He described students as “very well behaved”.
Company Pictures have reportedly received few complaints and were not phased when filming a night-time scene during the Thursday evening of Freshers’ Week after encountering large groups of students on pub crawls.
Student reaction has been surprisingly positive, it seems, despite the disruption.
Palatinate spoke to one student who was stopped from crossing Old Elvet Bridge while a scene was being filmed. She commented that the crew were very efficient and had people moving again within five minutes. In fact, she had enjoyed being able to see behind the scenes and admired the period costume and vintage cars.
Similarly, one resident of Crossgate, despite being diverted, noted the attraction of the vintage cars.
Another resident of Crossgate told Palatinate they hadn’t noticed any filming going on whatsoever.
Durham students appear to have appreciated the disruption as more of a pleasant distraction.
Series eight of Inspector George Gently will air on BBC One in mid-2015 as four 90-minute instalments.
Photograph: James Poole