Historic hall to host Austen adaptation

Brian Dooks DR Who's former assistant Billie Piper is to star in a remake of Mansfield Park to be filmed at Newby Hall in North Yorkshire.

Company Pictures will film at the historic house near Ripon for most of September for a two-hour drama to

be shown on ITV during 2007. Newby Hall featured in BBC television's Heirs and Graces. The home of Mr and Mrs Richard Compton, it is a late 17th century house which was built under the guidance of Sir Christopher Wren. Much of its interior was designed by Robert Adam.

Its administrator, Stuart Gill, said: "Newby Hall is proud to be associated with the this prestigious production. The Robert Adam interiors and decoration are exactly right for the period and will make a stunning backdrop to the Jane Austen novel."

To allow the filming to take place, the house will be closed to the public from September 5 until October 1.

The gardens will remain open during the filming and will close as normal on October 1.

Fifty staff from Company Pictures, one of the UK's largest film and television drama production companies, have moved into one of Newby Hall's Stable Office units. The cast and crew are staying in local hotels, guesthouses and rented properties.

Company Pictures, which was established in 1998, has had numerous successes including The Lakes by Jimmy McGovern and won the South Bank Show's Best Drama Award for Elizabeth I.

It was named Best Independent Production Company at the 2005 Broadcast Awards and won the European Producers of the Year Award at Monte Carlo in 2004.

After leaving Dr Who series, Billie Piper, 23, played the feisty Victorian heroine Sally Lockhart in the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman's Lockhart mysteries.