The new Hogwarts? Cheshire pile Arley Hall to star in Disney adventure Evermoor


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The Independent Culture

JK Rowling’s Hogwarts changed the reputation of its film location, Alnwick Castle, and Downton Abbey made Highclere Castle into a hot tourist destination. Now the fortunes of the Jacobethan pile that is Arley Hall are set to be transformed by a global Disney production.

The stately home in the Cheshire countryside is the location for Evermoor, a mystery adventure in which teenager Tara Bailey is uprooted from her urban American habitat and dumped into the weird world of Olde England.

The storyline contains all the classic ingredients of a young American’s idea of spooky Britain; the manor houses, the magic and the “creepy moors”.

Living amid the ancient surroundings of her Great Aunt Bridget’s magnificent red sandstone house (in real life the family seat of Viscount Ashbrook), Tara discovers a woman called Esmeralda sewing a tapestry with supernatural powers. And she encounters a “devastatingly good-looking” but, of course, “über-mysterious” local boy called Cameron. Evermoor is the first long-form live action series that Disney has made in the UK and will be shown on the Disney Channel in 160 countries from this autumn.

The series is being made with Lime Pictures, the Liverpool-based independent production company which makes Hollyoaks for Channel 4 and was founded by the Brookside creator Phil Redmond. Filming begins in the spring, with casting already under way.

The British co-creators of Evermoor, Diane Whitley and Tim Compton, both worked on the BBC’s Grange Hill and went on to write for House of Anubis, the Nickelodeon show set in an ancient English boarding school.

Evermoor will begin as a four-part series that will be shown in some markets as a single feature film.