Martin Clunes, Paul McGann, Hermione Norris enjoy the sights of Southwold while filming ITV drama
HIS antics as the ever-grumpy Doc Martin provided a shot in the arm to Cornwall's tourism industry.
But now businesses in Southwold are hopeful that a new ITV drama starring Martin Clunes will entice a new wave of holidaymakers to visit north Suffolk this summer.
Filming for the murder mystery A Mother's Son began last week in Southwold and Walberswick, where the former Men Behaving Badly star was joined by Paul McGann and Hermione Norris.
The two-part drama tells the story of a middle class family whose world begins to fall apart when a teenage girl is found murdered in woodland.
The shots of Southwold and Walberswick will be used to create the fictional Suffolk seaside town of East Lee where Ms Norris runs a delicatessen and Mr Clunes' character works as a solicitor.
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The producer, Colin Wratten, heaped praise on people and businesses in Southwold for assisting the filming.
He said: 'What we loved about Southwold was the terrain, the lovely big skies and wonderful reedbed locations. We filmed along the beach and at the harbour as well.
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'Hermione Norris' ex-husband David, played by Paul McGann, is a boatbuilder so we did shots of the boatyard. We managed to film all the locations we needed in north Suffolk.
'Everybody was very welcoming in the town and the accommodation made things so much easier for us. But we had to be well organised. We chose this week because we didn't want to be in the town with the Jubilee celebrations fast approaching.
'All the bunting started going up and the chamber of commerce were helpful in letting us take some of it down while shooting. We found everybody incredibly accommodating.'
Tourism leaders in Cornwall reported a huge surge in public interest, including from America, when Doc Martin, which is filmed in Port Isaac, began to be screened.
Amanda Bond, brand manager at the county's tourism body VisitSuffolk said: 'Screen tourism is an important economic driver for tourism and a great way to showcase the county of Suffolk. Hopefully it will inspire people to experience the screened places first-hand, whilst sampling all that is great about the county.'
Richard Ashwell, proprietor of the Blyth Hotel, Southwold, said it was an honour to have some of the stars staying at the hotel.
He said: 'It got a bit of buzz going in the town, which is always good for Southwold. It helps the economy and it is great for the hotel and the restaurant as well.'
Liz Cobbold, head of marketing for Adnams shops and hotels, said they were pleased to have some of the actors and crew at The Swan Hotel. She said: 'Southwold's always been quite well known for its silent celebrities, so we're not strangers to seeing famous faces.
'The filming helps get a new audience because it captures the town's special character which the TV programme will bring to life.'