The Coroner

Nov 21, 2016

Wednesday 23rd November sees the screening of the episode of BBC1’s “The Coroner” which was filmed earlier this year in the Guardhouse. You can catch the episode at 2:15pm on BBC1, or on iplayer for the following 30 days –

Earlier this year, we were approached by the Coroner film company who were looking for a venue for the Village Hall of Lighthaven, the fictional village where the series is set. Their casting team are challenged with finding as many sea views as possible in each episode! As you will see, the episode features the “village hall” (complete with information posters about upcoming Lighthaven yoga sessions!) as well as other action filmed on Berry Head.

The filming process was surprisingly complicated, with numerous site visits and several different departments involved, from lighting to set dressing to filming, let alone the assembled cast and extras (no, sadly there were no chances for our staff to star…).

The crew were a very lively group for lunch! We expected faddy eaters and endless dietary requirements (isn’t that how TV people are supposed to behave?) but instead they were easy and enthusiastic customers.

We were asked not to broadcast the fact that The Coroner was being filmed so we remained mysterious about why we were closing the café for one day. Mumbling something about ‘the BBC’ and ‘secret’ we probably built up more curiosity than if we’d told all the scant details we knew. We pride ourselves on being reliably open every day of the year except Christmas Day, no matter the weather, so were reluctant to change our policy. However, we decided that we owed it to the world to publicise how beautiful Berry Head is and couldn’t selfishly refuse permission.

To mitigate disruption and disappointment we organised a pop-up café in the car park. This is the first time that we’ve attempted such a thing, and was a success – a BBQ, cold drinks (in boxes of ice from the fish market – thank you fish market!), good quality coffee (from a portable coffee machine lent to us by our suppliers Costa Rica Coffee in Torquay – thank you Costa Rica Coffee!) and cakes at least partly made up for people being unable to visit the cafe.

The TV crew and cast swarmed over the headland, drank vast amounts of coffee, and seemed to spend a lot of time doing nothing but looking very cool. Sadly no extras were required so our carefully applied make-up and hairstyles were wasted. However, we were asked to cook 30 portions of chips to be used as props and we hope that the filming shows with what flare and artistry we deep fried those potatoes. Perhaps we’ll be asked to become the BBC’s chip consultants for future projects.
Coroner star in the Guardhouse
We learnt one useful tip we learnt from Jane Kennedy (the heroine Claire Goose). Apparently a little plastic hair cap can we worn to protect ones filmstar hair from the those blustery coastal winds.

Who knows, perhaps the Village Hall will feature again if there is a third series?