Outnumbered actress Samantha Bond stars in short movie filmed in St Albans

James Bond, Outnumbered and Downton Abbey actress Samantha Bond with producer from seahorse films Ka

James Bond, Outnumbered and Downton Abbey actress Samantha Bond with producer from seahorse films Karen Newman on location during filming in St.Albans' Abbey Theatre. - Credit: Archant

St Albans has become the sole location of a short film which stars the BBC’s Outnumbered actress Samantha Bond.

A 45-strong team of crew and cast descended upon the Abbey Theatre at Westminster Lodge on Tuesday (13), to shoot scenes for the independent film Lady M which explores the issue of gender discrimination in TV, film and theatre.

Samantha, who is known for playing Angela in Outnumbered and Miss Moneypenny in several James Bond films, will take on the role of Lady M - a middle-aged actress who cannot get a part in a Shakespeare play because she is deemed too old. She will be joined by Eleanor Bron, who is known for her role of Lady Wexmire in Black Beauty and will play Edith.

Samantha said that she had decided to take on the main role as she found the concept to be an “absolute charming idea” that “makes a point”.

She continued: “There are bits in there that are very moving and it’s sort of presenting an argument that I feel very passionately about, which is the invisibility of the middle-aged woman, particularly in television and theatre.

“It’s beautifully written and it’s a charming story which is also making a point that I constantly bang on about in the press.”

The short movie is being filmed in various parts of St Albans, including London Road, Ashley Road and Chequer Street and features members of the St Albans theatre group, the Company of Ten, as extras. The Herts Advertiser also got a glimpse of the limelight as our photographer and myself were invited to step in as extras in one of the final scenes of the film.

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The narrative was written by actress Melissa Knatchbull who felt that she, “was not alone when people say actresses of a certain age stop getting mainstream jobs because of their age”.

The film project has been funded by the Artists Studio Company (ASC), of which Melissa is a part, along with Karen Newman who is producing the film.

Melissa said: “I found that my narrative is more about women who couldn’t do things that they wanted.

“I think women do feel unrepresented and very invisible; the trajectory of the character is from invisibility to real visibility and she get’s what she wants and I think that’s what all actresses want.”

“I met a woman quite recently who actually worked from home and refused to go out because nobody knew how old she was and her voice sounds very young.

“She said, “I don’t want anyone to know how old I am because I will be fired if they find out”.

“You hear these stories all the time and so that was the concept.”

The film crew, which also includes director of photography, James Friend, who has worked on the popular series Game of Thrones, are set to finish filming their last scenes on a hired bus in London Road today (15).

The 15-minute movie will be sent to a number of film festivals with hopes of winning an Oscar or a Bafta and will hopefully be picked up by a TV channel.

Samantha added: “It’s a completely different world; this is a small budget short but what’s been great is everyone has thrown their energy into it.”