BBC film Shakespeare play at Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

HISTORY will be made at medieval Arundel Castle this year in more senses than one. The magnificent walled setting of the West Sussex tourist attraction is being used in the BBC’s first television adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V for more than 30 years.

And there is much more in store, too, as staff prepare for the new season of historical re-enactments, classic car rallies and titanic jousting clashes that are among the favourites at one of the South East’s biggest visitor destinations.

Film crews began recording their scenes for Henry V at the end of last year as part of the BBC’s series of four Shakespeare films that will mark the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad.

Among the cast of the production are Tom Hiddleston in the role of the King, Julie Walters as Mistress Quickly, John Hurt as The Chorus and Lambert Wilson as the King of France.

Castle Manager Bryan McDonald said members of his team were thrilled to see the castellated edifice portrayed in what is expected to be a highly-acclaimed series starring some of the nation’s most talented actors. “It has been fascinating for us to watch some of the filming taking place and to have seen the crews and cast coming and going during the period when the Castle is closed to the public,”

Bryan said. “It is also very exciting to have played a small part in bringing the great Bard’s work to a huge television audience, many of whom will be discovering the magic of Shakespeare for the very first time.”

Arundel Castle re-opens its doors for the 2012 Season on Saturday 31 March. Special events scheduled for this year begin with another popular MG Rally on the Lower Lawns on Sunday 1 April followed, a week later, by a Normans and Crusaders Encampment, providing colourful and exciting family entertainment over the busy Easter weekend of 7/8/9 April. Time rolls on quickly to the medieval period with 15th century craft, combat and armour demonstrations in the historic keep at the end of the month followed by swashing-buckling pirate demonstrations in May.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will be marked over the Bank Holiday weekend of 2/3/4 June, by the energetic and multi-talented members of the Raven Tor Living History Group, the Company of St Barbara and the British Plate Armour Society.

The role-players in numerous guises will converge for a magnificent Castle under Siege event, with demonstrations of War of the Roses artillery and the siege techniques that were employed to bring about the downfall of castles in the trouble-torn 15th century.

Full details of all the events planned for 2012, including the Sussex Ferrari Owners Club rally on 2 September and the final Normans in the Castle Keep event on 31 October/1 November, are available on the Castle website at www.arundelcastle.org