Over the last two months TV stations have been queuing up to film in the Royal Pavilion. Not surprising, given its wonderfully over-the-top, exotic and vibrant looks.
I am studying for a doctorate in Art History, and have been based at the Pavilion for more than two years now, and have also worked as a Pavilion guide for 18 months. Over the last year I have helped out on three filming days for various TV programmes, beginning with the perennially popular ‘Antiques Roadshow’, which came to Brighton in June.
It was fascinating to see how a high-profile show is produced and how much organising and filming is involved for what results in a few minutes on screen. The ‘Antiques Roadshow’ is filmed in high-definition and is presented by Fiona Bruce, so the technical equipment and number of support staff involved was impressive, but also slightly worrying. Large cameras, sound and lighting equipment and many people milling around can be a hazard to a fragile historic building and a number of staff were on duty simply to keep a watchful eye on the filming process and to protect the building.
The day’s filming finished without incident and the Pavilion looked its glamorous best in glorious June sunshine.
The actual Roadshow took place the following day at Brighton College and in true style I turned up with a few of my own items wrapped in bubble-wrap and happily joined the long queues for evaluation. To my surprise several members of the film crew and even Fiona Bruce remembered me from the day before and told me how much they had enjoyed filming at the Pavilion. The filming resulted in not just one but two Brighton episodes, with the Pavilion featuring in the introduction to the first.
A few weeks later I was asked to appear in a couple of scenes for the ‘Antiques Road Trip’, a spin-off from the Roadshow and produced by Scottish TV for BBC2. It has just begun its second series and is shown right now on weekdays at 5.15 p.m.
I was asked to talk about a few rare and beautiful objects of my choice in the Pavilion and to discuss these in front of the cameras with presenter David Harper. Although on a smaller scale than the Roadshow it was fascinating to take part in the filming and to get a chance to talk about things I find particularly interesting.
The objects had to have a connection with George IV. My chosen items included a Pavilion cabinet sold after Queen Victoria acquired the Pavilion. It was re-discovered at an auction in the United States the 1990s, and an exotically decorated inkstand that once belonged to George IV.
I had a wonderful time and am rather proud to have had an opportunity to talk about my favourite building in England on TV. Other shows that have recently been filmed at the Pavilion are ‘Bargain Hunt’ and a programme on Queen Victoria’s time in Brighton. http://ow.ly/414bI
Alexandra Loske, guide and researcher