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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Television stars film new Man Utd drama in Carlisle

Stars of British television visited Carlisle to film a hotly anticipated new drama in the city.

Carlisle United’s Brunton Park stadium became Old Trafford so BBC drama United – the Busby Babes – could tell the story of the Munich air disaster next year.

And on Friday, top British actors David Tennant, the former Doctor Who star who plays assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, Sir Matt Busby actor Dougray Scott and Skins star Jack O’Connell, who plays legend Bobby Charlton, arrived at the Warwick Road ground to film their scenes and chatted with staff.

Carlisle’s media officer Andy Hall said: “A lot of the staff were there to watch it and it was pretty good stuff.

“A couple of us had the chance to squint at a couple of pages of script that David Tennant was practising and it was powerful stuff.

“I’m not sure there will be much by way of football, it’s more about the crash and the success the team had afterwards through the eyes of Bobby Charlton.

“We can’t wait to see the finished film now, having seen the scenes filmed at two different stages of the film and it will be interesting to see how it all ties together.

“The actors couldn’t have been better with us. There was the period when they were getting focused and practising lines but as soon as scenes were done they were happy to have people to speak to.

“We thought David Tennant wouldn’t speak to us but he talked about Doctor Who and other stuff he has done. I don’t get starstruck often but it’s not every day you are set opposite a Time Lord. He said he was not much of a football fan but he’s from Paisley and said he looks out for St Mirren’s scores.”

Brunton Park is easily distinguishable as the home of Carlisle United, carrying a huge Carlisle United sign across the roof of the Warwick Road end and the club’s name on the seats of the Story Homes stand.

But set designers did not have to work too hard to transform the 18,000 capacity ground, the use of which netted the club an unnamed location fee from the BBC, into the world-famous Old Trafford, albeit in its 1950s form.

Mr Hall added: “We were contacted by the production company’s location manager and whether it’s a backhanded compliment I don’t know, but he said Brunton Park was like Old Trafford in the 1950s.

“They came en-masse on Friday and filmed scenes from both before and after the Munich Air Disaster through the eyes of Bobby Charlton, and the process of trying to persuade him to get back into football.

“It amazed us how they did it. They basically green-screened everything and they are going to CGI it. That will allow them to replicate the background of Old Trafford with the wooden seats and barriers in place.

“There was a couple of wooden boards put up and some pathway put onto the pitch but they didn’t have to do much to the ground at all.”

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