Magic and mystery TV shows at Leeds and Birstall beauty spots

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A touch of magic and mystery has come to several Leeds beauty spots after the BBC chose them for a forthcoming fantasy drama series.

The adaptation of the best-selling Susanna Clarke novel Jonathan Strange and Dr Norrell is being filmed at various locations including Kirkstall Abbey and Birstall’s Oakwell Hall, a grade-I listed building which has been completely transformed to make it look like an abandoned farm.

At Kirkstall Abbey, part of the cloisters has been sectioned off with wood panelling, the room inside being made to resemble an old library.

Other sets include Temple Newsam and York Minster, which will feature scenes in which gargoyles speak to each other.

The world of Jonathan Strange and Dr Norrell is one of magic and wonder as the two characters - played by Eddie Marsan and Bertie Carvel - live out their lives in alternative version of the 19th Century, a world where magic is real.

It is understood the seven-part fantasy drama series will hit screens in late 2014 or early 2015.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Set at the beginning of the 19th Century, England no longer believes in practical magic. The reclusive Mr Norrell (Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey, stuns the city of York when he causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move.

“He goes to London to help the government in the war against Napoleon.”

A regular visitor to Oakwell Hall, Birstall said: “The hall has been completely transformed, it’s amazing what they have done. I just hope they can put it back as it was.”

Filming will also take place in Canada and Croatia.


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