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Weekly newsroom to appear in new TV drama

A weekly paper’s newsroom will appear on television screens across the country after it was one of the filming locations for a new drama.

The Kentish Gazette and Faversham News’ newsroom in Whitstable was used for filming Channel 4 thriller Southcliffe, which had its first screening on Sunday night.

And journalists from the KM Group titles were also used as extras when the drama was filmed last autumn, largely in Faversham.

Ahead of the first screening, the News dedicated its front page, pictured below, to its 15 minutes of fame.

Editor Leo Whitlock told HTFP yesterday: “The whole team were glued to their televisions last night on the off chance they would spot themselves.

“The consensus around the newsroom was that Southcliffe was gripping, moody and a bit of a slowburner – who knows what will happen in tonight’s episode?

“Everyone enjoyed spotting shots of Faversham and working out which streets or parts of the town had been featured.

“The team took to Twitter to get a feel for how Faversham was feeling about how it was being portrayed and we’ve run a poll online this morning.”

During the filming, the news editor, reporters, sub editors, commercial team and others were all filmed as extras alongside the stars of the show, who include Skyfall and Quantum of Solace star Rory Kinnear and Sean Harris who played Fifield in sci-fi film Prometheus.

Southcliffe tells the story of a fictional English market town devastated by a spate of shootings which take place over a single day, with the events being seen through the eyes of a journalist returning to the town of his childhood.

During the filming, the News received many calls to the newsroom about ‘murders’ that turned out to be the crew filming at its latest location.

Its coverage also included debunking a national story last week that people in Faversham were furious about how they would be portrayed.

Leo added: “The team is on tenterhooks to see if they will appear in forthcoming episodes but we’re pretty certain there will not be any Baftas coming our way.”


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  • August 6, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Back in the mid-1960s the BBC ran a drama series called ‘The First Lady’, starring Thora Hurd as a town councillor and used Barnsley Town Hall as the location. A coach-load of extras were involved in a crash (for real!) leaving the producer short of ‘actors’ to play reporters covering the council meeting. I ‘volunteered’ those of us who did the real job regularly and we were paid the ‘extras’ rate for covering the fictitious meeting. That rate worked out, per day, as greater than the salaries we were being paid by our papers for being real reporters (by a couple of quid – big money in those days)!
    Did the Kentish Gazette reporters-turned-actors find that their fees for appearing were also greater than the day-job pays? I suspect they did!

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  • August 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

    An original idea from C4; making the landscape, streets and population of a small seaside town central elements of a crime drama, and even including local journalists in the plot.
    At least, it would have been original, had we not all seen exactly the same in Broadchurch just a few months back.

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  • August 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    In 1997, the Inspector Morse episode Death Is Now My Neighbour featured a journalist played by Mark McGann. The newsroom scenes were all shot in the offices of the Oxford Mail. In that episode, all the people in the background were real journalists actually working on producing that day’s newspaper while the filming was going on around us. It was very exciting, if a little distracting due to the fact that we still had to get our work done.

    As far as I am aware, none of the staff received any sort of fee for appearing on screen, and there were one or two of my colleagues who always seem to find some “good” reason to wander into shot.

    My only claim to “fame” was that I went to the loo and when I came out of the ladies I almost bashed into Paul McGann as he was being filmed for a scene. My starring role ended up on the cutting room floor.

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  • August 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Oops! I meant to say Mark (not his brother Paul). I’m on the naughty step.

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