Lux­ury home with box-of­fice ap­peal lures the film mak­ers

York­shire homes with star qual­ity are in de­mand. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

WITH its dis­tinc­tive Ra­pun­zel-style tower, Birch­wood House is a land­mark in the up­mar­ket vil­lage of Lin­ton, near Wetherby.

Now the lux­ury home is mak­ing its de­but on the sil­ver screen af­ter be­ing se­lected as a lo­ca­tion for new Bri­tish gang­ster movie Freight.

The film, about hu­man traf­fick­ing, has won a host of in­ter­na­tional awards and will be play­ing at Vue cine­mas in Leeds this week­end.

Birch­wood has a star­ring role as the home of lead char­ac­ter Gabe, played by EastEn­ders ac­tor Billy Mur­ray, and it’s not the first time the prop­erty has been in the spot­light.

It has also ap­peared in the David Ja­son film Di­a­mond Geezers and in Em­merdale.

Al­though own­ers Peter and Lynn Lee have never been “pushy par­ents”, their home has been a mag­net for lo­ca­tion scouts, who have spot­ted its star qual­ity and been en­tranced by the tur­ret, grand gal­leried hall, swim­ming pool and se­cluded set­ting with lots of park­ing space.

Lynn, who gave the prop­erty a stun­ning con­tem­po­rary makeover af­ter buy­ing it 10 years ago, says: “We’ve never reg­is­tered it as a lo­ca­tion, the scouts ap­proached us and we said ‘yes’ be­cause we thought it would be in­ter­est­ing and it cer­tainly was.

“A crew spent three weeks here film­ing Di­a­mond Geezers. We were the prison gover­nor’s house in that and it was a lot of fun. They of­fered to put us up in a ho­tel, but we stayed and re­ally en­joyed watch­ing what goes on be­hind the scenes.

“They re­dec­o­rated a wall with wall­pa­per and brought in all their own fur­ni­ture, though they put it back ex­actly how it was be­fore.

“For Freight, they filmed in­doors but they also erected a huge mar­quee in the gar­den then they burned it down, which was spec­tac­u­lar.”

She adds that the house also boasts an­other thes­pian con­nec­tion – with the ac­tor Roger Moore, who briefly lived at Birch­wood in the 1960s when he was bet­ter known as Simon Tem­plar aka The Saint.

The Lees are now sell­ing up to down­size, but there is no doubt that a new owner could con­tinue to hire the house out for be­tween £400 for stills pho­tog­ra­phy and up to £1,000 a day for a film shoot.

Ailsa Read, a lo­ca­tion finder, has let her own home out for years.

Her con­tem­po­rary con­verted barn with a 60ft long, open plan liv­ing area, near Leeds, ticks all the boxes and has been used for TV and in ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns for DFS, Har­veys Fur­ni­ture, Ar­gos and M&S.

She says: “They like my place be­cause of the space out­side and in­side and it’s pri­vate and quiet. They also like the fact it looks mod­ern with white walls and clean lines.

“Space is so im­por­tant. For pho­tog­ra­phy shoots, light­ing takes up a lot of room and there can be around 40 peo­ple work­ing on a TV com­mer­cial.”

Dis­rup­tion isn’t a prob­lem, says Ailsa

“I find it in­ter­est­ing and I love meet­ing peo­ple.

“You def­i­nitely have to be a peo­ple per­son, but ev­ery­one I’ve ever met on shoots has been charm­ing.

“You also have to be easy go­ing and not mind them mov­ing your stuff around.

“I tend to get all the valu­ables out of the way and let them get on with it.

“I per­son­ally wouldn’t want them to re­dec­o­rate my house, but they have clever ways of get­ting round that us­ing boarded pan­els they can stick wall­pa­per on.”

Al­though, large con­tem­po­rary homes that of­fer a blank can­vas are favoured, there is a de­mand for ev­ery prop­erty type, ac­cord­ing to Sam Simon of Leeds-based UK Lo­ca­tions.

“Ev­ery­thing from ter­raced houses to coun­cil houses and stately homes are used,” she says. “But ac­cess and park­ing for the crew’s cars and lor­ries is im­por­tant, though they of­ten bor­row nearby pub car parks.”

There are great op­por­tu­ni­ties for York­shire home own­ers who crave a bricks and mor­tar claim to fame.

Rachel Mcwatt, of Screen York­shire, set up to at­tract film mak­ers and TV com­pa­nies to the area, says: “A lot of pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies are com­ing up here from London.

“York­shire is in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar. It has a good data­base of cam­era crew and a di­verse range of lo­ca­tions with city and coun­try­side side by side and eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble.

“It’s a lot cheaper to film here, too.”

Mon­roe, a med­i­cal drama for ITV star­ring James Nesbitt, is film­ing in Leeds at the moment, while York­shire is also the lo­ca­tion for a new fea­ture film of The Woman in Black and for the new BBC drama South Rid­ing, set for trans­mis­sion next year.

“A lot of these pro­duc­tions need prop­er­ties and we are al­ways look­ing for new ones for our data­base,” says Rachel.

“It costs noth­ing to reg­is­ter and if you are cho­sen, you will be paid for what is a very in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.” Use­ful con­tacts:

UK Lo­ca­tions.You can reg­is­ter your prop­erty for free on this data­base of prop­er­ties. www.uk­lo­ca­tions.co.uk

Screen York­shire also has a data­base of prop­er­ties and reg­is­tra­tion is free. www.screenyork­shire.co.uk

Birch­wood House, Lin­ton, is for sale through Bead­nall Co­p­ley for £1.795m. Tel: 01937 580850, www.bead­nall­cop­ley.co.uk

Freight is show­ing to­day and to­mor­row at Vue cine­mas in Leeds. For de­tails, visit www.freight2010.co.uk

STAR­RING ROLE: Birch­wood House in Lin­ton has been cho­sen as a film and TV lo­ca­tion. It is for sale for £1.795m with Bead­nall Co­p­ley, Wetherby.

at Birch­wood House in Lin­ton. Cen­tre, the con­tem­po­rary con­ser­va­tory, right, the swim­ming pool.

LO­CAL CELEBRITY: Cast and crew mem­bers film­ing Freight,

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