Saturday, 12 December 2009

Stephen Fry's Kingdom props for auction

From bundles of fake £50 notes to the sign which once hung above The Startled Duck pub, costumes, props and memorabilia seen in the hit Sunday night TV drama Kingdom are set to go under the hammer at a Norfolk auction room later this month.

Two auctions at Watton Sale Rooms will see hundreds of lots from the axed ITV show sold to the highest bidder.

Despite rumours earlier this year that a fourth series was in the offing, the show, which was filmed in Norfolk, was cancelled in October and now production company Parallel films is selling off a warehouse full of Kingdom goodies.

In the first sale, which will take place next Tuesday, furniture, outside props and set décor will go under the hammer and then a week later, on December 22, costumes, signs and other memorabilia will be auctioned off.

Auctioneer Stephen Roberts said: “There are thousands of items.

“There is furniture, signs, including road signs for Market Shipborough, Fakenheath and the A147, and no end of stuff that is in boxes including the boxed up possessions of each character.”

In one of the desks staff at the saleroom found a framed photo of Celia Imrie, who played Gloria, and the boy who played her son.

“When you look at the amount of things it makes you realise the attention to detail that went into making the series,” added Mr Roberts.

The memorabilia will be auctioned off along with other items which have come into the sale rooms and though many of the Kingdom pieces only have value as bits of furniture others, such as The Startled Duck sign, could fetch considerably more if serious collectors enter the bidding.

Mr Roberts continued: “It is impossible to say what things will go for.

“It is like everything else that comes up at auction - it is worth what somebody is prepared to pay for it.

“If we have some people who are fans then things will make money.”

Star items in the auction are expected to include Peter Kingdom's desk, the Startled Duck sign and the wooden duck which sat on the pub bar.

There could also be stiff competition for some of the Market Shipborough road signs.

During its three season run Kingdom regularly attracted upwards of five million viewers who were eager to catch up with the latest mysteries and exploits of the Norfolk solicitor and his eccentric family, strange clients and hapless colleagues.

The show has also been screened in America, Australia and in several other European countries.

As well as Stephen Fry, who played Peter Kingdom, the show also starred Celia Imrie as Gloria Millington, Tony Slattery as Sidney Snell and Karl Davies as Lyle Anderson.

For Norfolk champion Mr Fry, who has a home near Swaffham, starring in Kingdom was a dream job.

He was the one who broke the news of the show's cancellation on his Twitter micro-blog back in October.

At the time he said: “Our masters at ITV have decided there shan't be a fourth series of the television drama Kingdom.

“I am sorry because it was such a pleasure making them in my beloved Norfolk.

“The cast of local people who cheerfully subjected themselves to the indignities of a background artist's day will all be missed and their memories cherished.”

ITV later confirmed the move. In a statement it said: “Kingdom has performed well for us over the last three years but we will not be developing any further episodes.

“As has always been the case we are constantly looking at ways to refresh the mix of drama on ITV1 to ensure that we get the balance right between both old and new titles.”

The first auction takes place on December 15 at Watton Sale Rooms, off Norwich Road, and begins at 10am. The second will take place on December 22. Items will be available for view the day before. For more information call 01953 885676.

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