May 9, 2021
Last Updated on January 25, 2023
The Magpie Murders is a Sunday Times bestseller crime thriller written by Anthony Horowitz. The Magpie Murders is currently being adapted for television by Eleventh Hour films for Britbox and will be premiered around the world in 2022, including on the popular PBS networking in the USA.
Anthony Horowitz has written with passion and affection for Suffolk for many years, and continues to celebrate this historic county on his own blog and in the articles he contributes to The Telegraph newspaper.
Suffolk has been notably increasing in popularity as a filming location for both television and film in recent years. In January Netflix premiered ‘The Dig’, a film starring Ipswich-born actor Ralph Fiennes. The Dig showcased the beautiful Suffolk countryside, a theme also celebrated extensively in the incredibly successful BBC series ‘The Detectorists’ (despite the fact the story was set in Essex).
But it’s the buildings that feature in these films and television programmes that connect Whitworth to their stories. As historic building consultants, we are naturally drawn to historic buildings, and we are proud to have worked on several of the properties featured on screen.
The Magpie Murders will feature River House, a historic building that we have been involved with for several years. This quintessentially English manor house, in the picturesque Suffolk village of Kersey, has a fascinating story of its own.
River House in Kersey has been unoccupied for around thirty years. This Grade II listed Elizabethan house is an iconic Suffolk building that has graced television and cinema screens many times before.
The first episode of the BBC series ‘Lovejoy’ (starring Ian McShane) featured the building, and the ford in front of it, in a scene that set up the long-running semi-romance between Lovejoy and Lady Jane. As an aside, ‘Lovejoy’ is a fascinating record of a great number of historic Suffolk buildings, and is well worth hunting down for any fans of the rich tapestry of Suffolk’s architectural heritage.
River House will be one of several historic Kersey buildings to be featured in The Magpie Murders, and the series will also include the village pub. The Kersey Bell has been temporarily renamed ‘The Queen’s Arms’.
Here at Whitworth we are working with Historic England to plan restorations to River House. There are several unique features that need to be given special consideration during the project, not least of which are a number of full-size Elizabethan wall paintings.
We understand that during the filming of The Magpie Murders River House will be mostly shown from the outside, although some scenes are likely to be filmed inside this great house.
While there might not (yet) be an Oscar category for ‘best restoration of a historic building’ we look forward to seeing a property we have been involved in enjoying a starring role.