Some months ago, a letter was posted through our door from a production company looking for a possible house location for Mistresses. I phoned the location manager and arranged for her to pop round and see if our house would be suitable.
I didn't really have much hope as the place is pretty tatty, but thought it worth a punt. If nothing else, we thought our 10-year-old daughter Maia would find it interesting. I made the whole family spend all weekend cleaning and tidying before the visit.
Dee, the professional and approachable location manager, was surprisingly positive. Over the next six weeks, we had an inspection visit every week from what seemed to be everybody in the film industry bar the gaffer, building up to the director and producer and culminating in a firm's outing of 25 arriving by charabanc.
Then the Man From Ecosse, he say Yes. We were all chuffed and excited but not certain how it would be received in our street. After a wee bit of friendly haggling, contracts were duly agreed and signed.
The character Trudi's taste is very different to ours. The painters moved in and transformed all the rooms they were filming in, using some very strange colours.
It was unnerving having your house redressed and decorated in colours you would never choose or even think of but we actually decided to keep the striking, deep plum colour chosen for the kitchen. We were pretty happy too when they fixed our garden balcony stairs. Shame the stained ceiling wasn't going to be in the shot as well!
The filming schedule eventually crept up from the planned six days to 18 days but moving out wasn't a great hardship as we went to Majorca for 10 days. Unfortunately it rained the whole time - not something the production company could fix!
We only had to stay in an apartment for a week on our return, which was great because any longer, would have driven us all mad. Being out of your house for so long is unsettling and we were very glad to go home when the 18 days were up.
The production team were always helpful and made it clear we could go back to the house during filming anytime we liked as long as we let them know. It was usually easier to go back in the evening when they had all gone home and tiptoeing round Trudi's house was a strange experience.
We went to watch filming one day and got to meet the gorgeous Joanna Lumley who lived up to all expectations when she greeted Maia with her inimitable beatific smile - "Hello sweetie" - and a big cuddle. All the crew and cast were really friendly and made a huge fuss of our star-struck daughter (and Dad!).
Our neighbours were by and large fine with the experience and supportive. They had enjoyed the star-spotting. The film crew had been as helpful as they could be, helping people with their shopping and moving their vans if need be.
Overall, it was a very positive experience for us as a family. We enjoyed the banter with the props crew, James, John and Jane and we'd definitely do it again.
Claire Bush is the real life homeowner of the house used as Trudi's home in Mistresses.
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