Holdenby all set for BBC adaptation of Dickens’ classic Great Expectations

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A 400-YEAR-OLD stately home in Northamptonshire has been turned into an overgrown, derelict mansion for a jilted bride this Christmas.

But the stark transformation is for television screens, when Holdenby House will appear as the home of spinster Miss Havisham for BBC One’s adaption of the Charles Dickens’ classic, Great Expectations.

The exterior of the grade two listed house was used for three days of filming in July, after the film crew spent four days transforming it, and another two days returning it to the 21st Century.

The BBC this week released the first pictures of the historic home dressed as the novel’s Statis House.

Holdenby House’s owner, James Lowther, was at the estate during filming, but saw the pictures for the first time yesterday.

He said it showed him what could happen to the Elizabethan building without continued care and attention.

He added: “We were delighted to have had the BBC at Holdenby filming the exterior of Satis House for their adaptation of Great Expectations to be broadcast over Christmas.

“It took 80 tonnes of mud, weeds and creepers up the drive to turn the outside of Holdenby into the decaying Satis House shown in the adaptation.

“With the brilliant job that the BBC props team did, it was a slightly scary reminder of what can happen to a house like Holdenby if you don’t keep up the maintenance.”

The costume drama is set to be the BBC’s festive blockbuster, part of the broadcaster’s celebration of Dickens in 2012, the 200th anniversary of his birth.

The three-part drama, described by BBC bosses as “part thriller, part mystery and a powerful love story”, features Ray Winstone as Magwitch, and former X-Files star Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham.

Brief shots of the interior of the Holdenby House will also be used, although the bulk of the interior filming is thought to have been filmed at a separate location in Hertfordshire.

Built in 1583, the estate also includes Grade I listed gardens and a falconry centre.