A “new” restaurant unexpectedly materialised on Penarth Esplanade today – along with the familiar fleet of lighting and location vehicles from the BBC TV “Casualty” unit.
The new restaurant is called “The Sailor’s Reach“ – yet to figure in the Michelkin Guide – looks, in all but name, uncannily similar to the popular Fig Tree Restaurant .
However anyone attempting to book a table in the new establishment today was likely to be disappointed – it was “fully-booked” until 18:00 this evening for shooting the latest episode of the medical soap opera
But them at 18:00 when the location crew reach the end of their 12-hour shifts, the TV trucks and silently steal away …. and the Sailor’s Reach resumes real life as “The Fig Tree”.
Set out on the – somewhat chilly – terrace were several tables appetisingly laid with white wine and olives and just waiting for their Casualty actors / customers to start drifting in.
Hungry crew trying to stave off pangs of hunger had to call in at the unit’s own sandwich bar – where the could collect plates of sarnies from insulated containers – insulated to keep them cold (a refinement which was hardly necessary in today’s grim weather).
A battery of powerful HMI lights made it all look rather sunnier that it really was and a line of patio heaters was going full blast to keep the cast warm enough not to shiver through their lines.
The last time there was as much filming activity, and as few available parking spaces, was in the summer when Judi Dench and Eddie Izzard were making a pre-war spy movie there.
For that production – in the height of a hot mid-summer – they brought artificial rain to the Esplanade . …Today however, there was no need for that – there was plenty of the real thing around .