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What Became Of The House Of Commons Film Set?


Picture: Mark Bourdillon

I love researching old film sets and locations. In 1996 I went to the famous Granada Studios Tour in Manchester and visited the now famous House of Commons film set.


BUILD

The set was originally built for First Among Equals (1986) at the studios and from 1989 to 1999 members of the public could go inside as part of the tour. The detail of this set design was astounding. It is/was 460 sq m (5,000 sq ft). When fully erected, the set is approx 5,000 sq ft but it can be housed within a 2,500 sq ft warehouse when disassembled. Based on a steel structure, the set is made of real wood to offer a realistic representation. Seats capacity of 180 people to give a true parliamentary feel. You can see in the video below what a work of art it was/is.


USE

It was used regularly in shows such as The New Statesman (1987-1992). Granada Studios closed in 1999 and its unclear where it went from then until 2002 when scriptwriter Paul Abbott bought the set so that he could use it in his BBC drama serial 'State of Play'.


Paul, a former Granada scriptwriter, bought the set personally to save it from destruction. After the series had finished filming Abbott put the set into storage in an Oxfordshire barn.


It was then offered permanent residence at Wimbledon Studios in return for the studio having exclusive use of it.

On set: Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady

In 2011 Meryl Streep performed on the set in the movie 'The Iron Lady'.


SALE

In March 2013 following studio refurbishments at Wimbledon Studios the set and others were listed on ebay by the studio with a starting price of 99p.


The bidding reached £120,000 for this set and others. The buyer sadly did not stump up the cash so commercial auctioneers Cuttlestones were commissioned to handle the sale.


It's from here that my hunt goes cold. Do you know where the set ended up?



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