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28 October 2014

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Gerald Fedden outside 29 Kensington Park Gardens

Locations


Locations manager Patrick Schweitzer reveals how he found the impressive and luxurious settings for The Line of Beauty.


The Feddens' House

"Knowing that it was going to be 1980s, it was always going to be quite a tricky thing. For me, it's very recent, but things have changed so much that filming the street sequences was going to be very complicated." says Patrick.

"Finding the Feddens' house was the initial one to crack. It has an awful lot of action, there's cars pulling up, photographers... Basically we had to have flexibility to clear a whole street, and believe that it was the 1980s with set dressing. It was all very subtle, but there is still a difference, the road markings weren't really there, that sort of thing."

Although everyone was keen to find a house in Notting Hill, doing so proved problematic.

"My job, while in some ways incredibly exciting and very creative, is also very restrictive. I'm the messenger of doom and gloom because I deal with the councils and the police who come back and say, 'You can't do that, what were you thinking of?'" says Patrick ruefully.

"I have a little bugbear about Kensington and Chelsea - they have such a restrictive filming policy. On Kensington Park Gardens, where the story is set, you are not even allowed to place a camera on the pavement."

But Patrick's years of experience meant he had an alternative up his sleeve. "There's a very good street [Tredegar Square] in the East End that looks very Notting Hill, all white stucco. It's a Square that you can lock off the whole top side of. The residents are absolutely lovely, and it's got a garden square in the middle. I personally think it's very believable as Notting Hill. Maybe we shouldn't be telling anyone it isn't!"

The crew did get to do some filming in Notting Hill though.

"We filmed in a real communal gardens [in Notting Hill], where the residents were really wonderful and co-operative, and there were little gems like recreating a whole section on the real Portobello Road. That was really exciting to set up and everybody was surprisingly helpful behind the scenes."

With the exterior of the Fedden home sorted, an interior to match had to be found.

"It's a real house, just north of Boreham Wood, called High Canons," explains Patrick. "What I find great about it is that it's proportioned in the same way as a London town house, whilst it's a completely detatched country house in acres of land.

"The way it's structured means you can film in a way that's believable as a London town house. It also gives you huge flexibility as a crew, because it means you can have your costume and makeup facilities outside, and much more space for the crew to work in. Even the most expensive London town houses are fairly small once you use them for film sets. You spread everywhere!"

Episodes

Episode 1
Episode 2 transmitted 9pm, May 24 2006
Episode 3 transmitted 9pm, May 31 2006

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