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Kingdom - ITV Series

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry as Peter Kingdom

Cast and Characters

Stephen Fry - Peter Kingdom

Hermione Norris - Beatrice Kingdom

Celia Imrie - Gloria Millington

Karl Davies - Lyle Anderson

Tony Slattery - Sidney Snell

Phyllida Law - Aunt Auriel

 

Kingdom is set in the fictional town of Market Shipborough and features country solicitor Peter Kingdom. Each week he attempts to deal with an assortment of eccentric clients aided and abetted by his assistant Lyle - played by Karl Davies. Peter Kingdom's life is also complicated by his disreputable, missing brother (Simon) and by his needy, pregnant sister (Beatrice). It is Stephen Fry's first ITV drama since Jeeves and Wooster in 1993.

Holkham Beach from Wells

Holkham Beach from Wells

The series was shot almost entirely on location in Norfolk and Stephen Fry describes the appeal of the show as follows: 'Kingdom does promise viewers a glimpse of the locations I love, and an hour in front of the television that will wash them in colours, textures, landscapes and characters that delight.' The show was created by Simon Wheeler and written by Jeff Povey and Alan Whiting.

The centre of Swaffham features extensively in most episodes  - namely the market place, the 18th century Butter Cross (which Kingdom usually drives past in his Alvis TE 21) and Oakleigh House which is transformed into his office. The Swaffham town sign - which depicts the famous pedlar John Chapman - is also transformed to become the Market Shipborough sign. The Greyhound pub becomes The Startled Duck and in one episode a Break Charity Shop even became Tiger Lily's Sex Shop. The Ecotech wind turbine is also visible is most episodes.

Swaffham actually lies about 20 miles from the coast - but a sound track featuring sea gulls gives the impression that it is by the sea. The shots of the harbour and quayside are filmed at Wells-next-the-Sea in North Norfolk. The spectacular beach scenes are shot at Holkham.

Swaffham has benefited from the 'Kingdom effect' due to increased tourism and also from money pumped into the local economy by the filmmakers.

The series has also used other Norfolk locations including: Happisburgh Lighthouse, Little Snoring Airfield, Hunstanton, RAF Marham, Scroby Sands wind farm, Dereham, the Norfolk Broads, Cockley Cley Hall (Aunt Auriel's house) Bintree Mill, Great Massingham and Thetford.

In many ways Kingdom is classic Sunday evening entertainment - portraying likeable characters in a picturesque setting - in the tradition of shows such as Last of the Summer Wine, Heartbeat or All Creatures Great and Small.

Screen East assisted the filmmakers of Kingdom with locations, crew and facilities and Kerry Ixer (Head of Locations) said: ' This is a fantastic film industry showcase for Norfolk combining the county's great beauty, local skilled workforce and film-friendliness.'
 

Happisburgh Lighthouse

Happisburgh Lighthouse

Oakleigh House (Kingdom Office)

Oakleigh House (Kingdom Office)

Market Shipborough Sign

Market Shipborough Sign

Swaffham Sign

Swaffham Sign

Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea Harbour

Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea Harbour

The Startled Duck

The Startled Duck

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach

Tiger Lily's Sex Shop

Tiger Lily's Sex Shop

Swaffham Butter Cross

Swaffham Butter Cross

Swaffham Wind Turbine

Ecotech Swaffham

Scroby Sands Windfarm

Scroby Sands Windfarm


However, the series has been criticised for its inaccurate portrayal of the Norfolk accent. Many of the 'locals' in the series speak with a West Country accent rather than with anything resembling Broad Norfolk. It has also been criticised for its poor story lines. One of the main problems is that a solicitor's life throws up fewer plot possibilities than that of a doctor, policemen or vet. Interestingly, the series was originally going to be entitled Where There's A Will There's A Way - featuring Peter Kingdom as a probate solicitor - but Stephen Fry realised that this would be even more limiting.

Stephen Fry grew up in Norfolk and has a house at nearby West Bilney. He is a Norfolk enthusiast and has said: 'Part of its beauty is the openness of the skies and the relative emptiness of the roads and the beaches. Obviously there's a trade off point between making it popular and keeping its quality.'

Ultimately, the series may do for Norfolk what Lovejoy did for Suffolk. It's just a pity that Ian Le Frenais wasn't writing the scripts.
 

Links:

More Kingdom Location Photographs

 

 

 
 

 

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