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‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’ covered in today’s national press ~

Richard Kay article Swallows and Amazons ebook by Sophie Neville Nov 20131

~ In today’s Daily Mail and Mail Online – third article down on the website ~

While I was at Rugby School unveiling the commemorative plaque in honour of Arthur Ransome, invited as President Elect of The Arthur Ransome Society, Richard Kay’s office at the Daily Mail was desperately trying to reach me.

Unveiling the Arthur Ransome plaque at Rugby School

~ Unveiling the Arthur Ransome plaque at Rugby School on 21st November 2013 ~

They were keen to ask about ‘The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons’, which had already started to outsell Stephen Fry and Julian Clary in the category of Stage & Theatre memoirs on Amazon Kindle. It has also outranked pre-orders of June Brown’s autobiography ‘Before the Year Dot’ about her life as an actress. I worked with her on Eastenders when the soap opera first started back in the 1980s.

I woke up this morning to find an email from Hayley Dixon of The Telegraph saying that she had seen that  my new behind-the-scenes book of Swallows & Amazons was out, and asking me to ring her. By one o’clock her article appeared in The Telegraph online,  featuring my book trailer.

Sophie Neville on the south coast

I then heard from Paul Kendall of the Sunday Telegraph’s magazine, Seven, who had read about my book launch in Richard Kay’s column today. Hayley had told me it was in the Daily Mail, but I had only just bought a copy myself.

Paul wrote:

“Would you be able to send me a copy of the book? We might be able to do a nice extract in the magazine!”
It has been a very exciting day – and thanks to all of your hugely valued support I am now at #1 in Stage & Theatre memoirs!
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The Secrets of Filming Swallows & Amazons
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Filed under 1973, Acting, Arthur Ransome, Autobiography, Bestseller, Filmaking, Kindle, Memoir, Movie stories, Sophie Neville, Swallows and Amazons, truelife story, Uncategorized

The lake where Arthur Ransome fished is for sale on eBay

Esthwaite Water in Cumbria ~ photo: Sophie Neville

Esthwaite Water in the Lake District where Arthur Ransome loved to fish

When Peter Walker took me on his Swallows and Amazons tour of the Lake District we stopped at Esthwaite Water where Arthur Ransome often went fishing.  I wonder if he had it is mind when he wrote about Roger’s great fish, the terrifying pike hooked in Shark Bay.

‘I understand Ransome fished it with his friend the Vicar of Finsthwaite. ‘ Peter went on to explain that Ransome’s last book Mainly about Fishing is dedicated to Rev. Roland Pedder of Finsthwaite – whose father was the Rev John Wilson Pedder of Garstang.

Peter wrote from Kendal this morning to tell me that Esthwaite Water is up for sale on eBay – for £300,000.  This does not seem a great deal as it covers a huge area, some 280 acres, but I gather this is the price for a 15 year lease. Apparently the trout and pike fishing is excellent.  Please click here for the eBay site. However the full details appear to be on this lakeforsale site

Esthwaite Water photo: Peter Walker

As I looked out through the reedy habitat I could just imagine Jeremy Fisher frog also in residence. I felt sure that Beatrix Potter must have painted him there.  Although originally set on the River Tay in Scotland, Peter tells me that the final illustrations for The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher  were sketched from the shore of Esthwaite Water in 1906. The original cover for the little book certainly looks as if she must have enjoyed doing this.

Tom Murphy of the Westmorland Gazette says that it was indeed Beatrix Potter’s favorite lake. It is just below Hill Top, the farm where she lived.  Please click here for his article that came out today.

The Daily Telegraph have also picked up on the story: ‘Lake District lake which inspired Wordsworth’

Esthwaite Water ~ photo lent by Peter Walker

Can anyone tell me if Ransome wrote about fishing on Esthwaite Water in his book Rod and Line ~ please use the comments box below.

Sophie Neville at Slate Quay on Coniston Water

Sophie Neville at Slate Quay on Coniston Water where Arthur Ransome learnt to fish

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Filed under Arthur Ransome, Cumbria, Lake District, Landscape Photographs, News, Sophie Neville, Swallows and Amazons, truelife story

The Duchess of Cambridge in Cumbria

The Duchess of Cambridge cooking on a campfire in Cumbria

The Duchess of Cambridge cooking on a campfire in Cumbria

The Duchess of Cambridge showed she was fully prepared when she braved the snowy weather to visit a Scout camp in the Lake District today.” (22nd March 2013)

“Her Royal Highness, who is a volunteer in the Scout Association, joined fellow adult volunteers as they trained to work with Beaver and Cub Scouts at the Great Tower Scout Camp near Newby Bridge in Cumbria.

She used her training to help look after a group of Cub Scouts from Cumbria and Manchester taking part in a pack holiday event at the 250-acre activity centre close to Lake Windermere.

As part of their programme, the Cub Scouts will get a chance to try outdoor cooking, fire-lighting and tree-climbing under the guidance of The Duchess and the other volunteers.”

To read more, visit princehenryofwales.org

According to Claudia Joseph’s biography of Kate ‘Princess in Waiting’, the Duchess is distantly related, not only to Beatrix Potter, but to Arthur Ransome.

My mother, Daphne Neville wearing a Donny Osmond hat in 1973 on location for SWALLOWS & AMAZONS

My mother, Daphne Neville wearing a Donny Osmond hat in 1973 on location in the Lake District  filming Richard Pilbrow’s movie  SWALLOWS & AMAZONS

The Duchess is obviously fond of Donny Osmond hats. My mother wore one on location in the Lake District whilst filming SWALLOWS & AMAZONS  (1974) . She can be seen here teaching Lesley Bennett, who played Peggy Blackett, to shoot with a bow and arrow for the scene on Wild Cat Island when the Amazons attack the Swallows who are occupying their camp.

Claude Whatham in Mum's hat with Brenda Bruce

Claude Whatham in Mum’s hat with Brenda Bruce

Our Director, Claude Whatham took a shine to it and would put it on to amuse us, although in this instance he was wearing it for warmth, probably like the Duchess on Friday. Click on the photo above to see me wearing the original purple velvet, 1973 winter season designer version, bought in Carnaby Street. I wear it all the time. It is very useful in this weather.

Peter Walker has found more photos of the Duchess in Cumbria in the Westmorland Gazette ~ she was visiting a scout camp next door to Low Ludderburn where Arthur Ransome wrote ‘Swallows and Amazons’ about a mile above Blakeholme, the island on Windermere he originally envisaged as Wild Cat Island.

Is the Duchess a ‘Swallows and Amazons’ fan?

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Filed under adventure, Arthur Ransome, Biography, Cinema, Claude Whatham, Cumbria, Family Life, Film, Film crew, Film History, Humor, Humour, Lake District, Memoir, Movie, Movie stories, Richard Pilbrow, Scouts, Sophie Neville, Swallows and Amazons, truelife story, Uncategorized

Casting for the new film adaptation of ‘Swallows and Amazons’

Sophie Neville with Swallow

Sophie Neville with Swallow on Coniston Water, Cumbria

Nick Barton of Harbour Pictures, in collaboration with BBC Films, launched a new adaptation of  Swallows and Amazons on 19th August 2016. They hope it will be the new Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia franchise, but are yet to start casting.

I joined him and his wife on the first recce to the Lake District in 2011, staying at Bank Ground Farm, sailing Swallow on Coniston Water and taking a boat trip down Lake Windermere in Cumbria. He went on to find locations on Derwentwater and in Yorkshire with his director Philippa Lowthorpe  who developed the new script with Andrea Gibb.

To see a clip of the opening scenes, starring Kelly Macdonald and Andrew Scott – please click here

If you want to know what it was like to be in the film made back in 1973 ~  please click here: https://sophieneville.net/category/autobiography/

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Filed under Acting, Arthur Ransome, British Film, Entertainment news, family Entertainment, Film, Film Cast, Film production, Filmaking, Lake District, Movie, Swallows & Amazons, Swallows and Amazons