I was lucky enough to find out they were filming The Strike Series in Masham on 19th January 2017. I booked the day off work to make the hour-and-a-half car journey to the small town in North Yorkshire. Here’s how my day went….
(SPOILER ALERT: They were filming scenes from the third Cormoran Strike book, Career of Evil, so if you haven’t read the book yet, then I don’t recommend reading any further.)
When I arrived in Masham, lorries and vans were parked outside the town hall and in the market square; tape and cones were set up around the streets to keep people and cars out of the way; the equipment, including a camera on a crane and screens to watch the footage, were set up in the market square and outside the church gates. Apparently there were around one hundred crew members that day; there were certainly quite a few of them in the street, beckoning cars to pass by as they set up for the first takes of the day — that I luckily arrived in time to witness.
From a distance, I heard one of the crew members shout “Strike is in the car” from which I guessed they were filming the scene where Cormoran arrives for the wedding. The first take or two that I saw must have been rehearsals, as Tom Burke/Strike was wearing a red coat over his suit, which he wasn’t wearing for the later takes. The car sped down the street toward the church, stopping with a skid just before the church gates, and then Tom/Strike jumped out of the car and ran to the church.
I never saw him, but apparently the actor who is playing Shanker (Ben Crompton) was actually driving the car. No stunt double.
Before the second take, some of my Twitter friends arrived and joined me to watch the next four or so takes of the car pulling up to the church. Below is a video of one of the takes I filmed.
After the filming of the car was finished, we crept closer, into the square. Tom Burke was lingering by the churchyard gates, waiting for his next scene. Because I was in the company of crazy Tom Burke fans, who call themselves “Burketeers,” who had met him on several occasions before, Tom recognised them and gave a wave.
Next, they were filming in the churchyard, so we couldn’t see anything from where we were stood in the square. At this point, I was close enough to get some better shots of the two wedding cars that were parked up just outside the gates. I saw Holliday Grainger, who’s playing Robin, get out of a car and go through the gates into the churchyard and into the church to get changed into a wedding dress, which I’d seen one of the crew members carry inside.
There was a woman in a flowery dress wandering about the square who I assumed was a cast member. She had dark hair and looked all glamorous. I later found out from a crew member that she was Holliday Grainger’s mother, who had come to set for the day to be an extra.
It wasn’t long before Tom reappeared and crossed the road to greet us. I shook his hand and asked him, “Have you been catching killers?” — for his face was covered with cuts and grazes, and one of his hands was bandaged. If you can remember in the book, Strike had just been fighting with the murderer before setting off for Masham. I was too star struck to say anything more, but I tried to concentrate on what Tom had to say. The Burketeers got very chatty with him and I seem to recall one of them asking if they were filming in Edinburgh, to which Tom replied with a “no.” Perhaps they’ve cut the Edinburgh part out of the book, as Tom also mentioned that the TV series is going to be quite different from the books, as is the case with most adaptations. Still, the fact that they’re using some of the same locations as in the books is reassuring, instead of using any old town or pub.
It wasn’t long before Tom had to leave us to film more scenes in the churchyard. I didn’t have my book signed or a photo, but he said he’d be back. We waited at the café on the square, which is just beside the church. I ordered myself a full English breakfast and drank lots of coffee whilst waiting for Tom Burke to return.
To be continued . . .