Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Not the shrinking cap Grandpa!

Where is Sunnysands? Want to know where that wonderful, whimsical series Grandpa in my Pocket is filmed? Then the third in my occasional series of posts about CBeebies locations (following Old Jack's Boat and Baby Jake) will reveal all...

The first thing to reveal is that it isn't one place, but three. Four, if you include the studio. The original Jason Mason house (called Sea Horse Cottage in real life) is on the seafront at Aldeburgh in Suffolk and - like Old Jack's cottage in Staithes - seems at present to be a holiday let! That'd inspire the kids, surely? That, and the fact that it's a stone's throw from the beach!

Even better (if you've got half-a-million pounds to spare) - it's for sale. Yes, for a mere £495,000 this one-bedroomed semi on Crabbe Street could be yours. It's on the market with Jennie Jones. She's an Estate Agent.

Recovered yet?

Me neither. So let's wander a little further up the delightful Suffolk coast to Southwold. This was - and still is - the main backdrop for the exterior shots in the series, unmistakable with frequent views of the lighthouse (where Mr Mentor the Inventor lives) and pier, home to Miss Smiley's cafe.

Southwold is a gem, with ridiculously, crisp golden sandy beach and wonderfully colourful beach huts. I'd imagine the properties there are equally expensive, but the lighthouse isn't for sale.

Further up the coast - a lot further - and into the next county and we arrive at the current 'home' of the Masons, plus their shrinking Grandpa - Cley Mill, on the north Norfolk coast.

This is a real windmill (though no longer operational) and I have actually stayed there - it was (and still is) one of the most original B&Bs in the area. Cley (pronounced 'Cly') is an attractive Norfolk coastal village and boasts one of the best stocked delicatessens in the district as well as a delightful knapped-flint parish church.

The Mill itself no stranger to hosting TV and film crews, having featured in MGM's 1949 film 'Conspirator' with Elizabeth Taylor as well as being the scene of many of Ruth Rendell's Mysteries. It dates from the early 18th century and has uninterrupted sea views and stands adjacent to the reed beds and salt marshes that make the area one of the most important wildlife habitats in Britain.

I'm beginning to sound like an Estate Agent.

So, to end, one more Cley Mill telly fact. In the days, not that long ago, when BBC TVs continuity idents involved a large hot air balloon decorated like planet earth, Cley and the famous Mill featured on one of the sequences.

Not only that, the Mill sails (which have been fixed for almost a century, ever since the Mill was converted to accommodation in the 1920s) were actually seen once again to be to be rotating.

That's the magic of television!

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