The Village, is set to return next month. Only, things won’t be quite so drab – the war has ended, the sun has come out (a bit), and the characters find themselves in the heart of the Jazz Age: the 1920s.
While the cast and crew were shooting in the pretty village of Hayfield and on the grand country estate of Lyme Park, Augustus Prew, who plays George Allingham, and Charlie Murphy, who plays Martha Lane, told us what to expect…
George, from the wealthy Allingham family has returned from war to his beautiful, ginormous estate, but he is struggling with flashbacks and post-traumatic stress. “He’s become severely shell shocked,” said Prew. “George embodies the plight of veterans in the 20s and how society tried to deal with these people, who were considered cowards.”
George is still a progressive working-class sympathiser. “We see a lot more of his radicalism coming out in the second series,” revealed Prew. “He’s pitted against his brother, who’s a staunch conservative.” Series two sees George married (you will have to wait to find out who to) and presents a bourgeoning new world filled with civil disobedience, the rise of a labour movement, unions, women voters and a seismic shift in the way people view the country and the world.
“People are reinventing their identities,” said Prew, “they’re trying to understand and make sense of what had happened, and collectively understand this trauma. This was the first time that people distrusted their government.
“In many ways George is the audience’s viewpoint, he’s got one foot in the working class and one foot in the aristocracy and yet he doesn’t belong in either… it’s very exciting, a very cool part to play.”
Meanwhile, Charlie Murphy’s character has a different personal plight – she’s dealing with marrying the wrong man. “Martha has a martyr complex and makes decisions on what is dutiful and what is right and moralistic,” explained Murphy. “The naivety of that catches up with her eventually, and she realises that it’s not fair on her, but it’s definitely not fair on the person she married,” she continued. “It’s even harder because there is a great fondness with her and her husband. She questions whether it’s self indulgent to want more.” As Martha deals with her sense of duty and what her heart wants, there’s a social awakening going on around her. There’s the idea of possibility, voting, where women should be placed after being so involved with manufacturing during the war. All this against “such an epic backdrop,” said Murphy.
“The heartbreakingly beautiful countryside is the 29th character in The Village and arguably it’s the biggest role,” agreed Peter Moffat.
“The more time I spend up in Edale and around Hayfield and Glossop the more I love this rugged, beautiful, honest part of England and the more I understand how passionately people felt about it then and how much they care about it now.”
Fans of the show can visit the town of Hayfield and the Allingham’s family home of Lyme Park (now a National Trust site). “We use the gardens, the lakes and the whole house,” said Prew. “We’ve shot in every crevice of that house. If you walk along the corridors, you will see many of the sets. One of the main focal pieces is the drawing room, which we shoot in a lot. It’s one of the oldest parts of the house, some of it medieval… you walk in and the architecture is so vaulted and beautiful and empowering. It’s a masterpiece of British architecture.”
The cast and crew stayed in The Royal Hotel in Hayfield village during filming. “It’s been such fun to come back to it,” said Murphy, “Some of the shops have kept up the signs from last year. They’re fantastic. It’s been a lovely experience and all the locals are lovely.” However, series two of the village may have a slightly different feel. “Last year, the landscape was harsher,” explained Murphy, “we were filming in September, October, November time – in snow and hailstorms. This year is easier weather-wise – it’s stunning, it’s absolutely stunning.”
Watch The Village series two on BBC1 this August (dates and timings to be released soon).
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