Anyone who’s ever worked on a production will know all too well the amount of planning and scheduling that goes into coordinating any show. Not only are there multiple locations involved when preparing the show, but you also have cast members travelling in from all over the country, with their transport and scheduling plans plotted around other work commitments. It’s no easy task to get everyone in the right place, at the right time every week.
Whilst all this is being prepared, Eric Chappell is frantically trying to deliver a finished script for all to review before preparations can take place. In time, Eric would aim to deliver the following week’s script as well, just to give everyone a head start on the following week’s requirements as everyone schedules were so tight.
With episodes of Rising Damp being recorded at Yorkshire Televisions Studios in Leeds, rehearsals took place in London as it seemed the most convenient place for all the actors to travel to. This was the first time the cast would read the script together.
With only a week to produce an episode, the rehearsals and filming took between three to four days to complete.
Below is an overview of the scheduling required to complete an episode, typically within seven days.
This example is taken from filming the first series, Produced and Directed by Ronnie Baxter.
In advance of the upcoming series, Ronnie Baxter received the script from Eric Chappell. At the same time, the script is also read by Duncan Wood (Head of Department). Ronnie and Eric discussed the scripts, noting anything required from the production crew.
Ronnie’s assistant, Linda Doyle, also played a key role in ensuring everything worked like clockwork, especially when Ronnie was in London for the read-through and rehearsals, Linda held everything together.
Once approved, the transmission dates are confirmed, then followed by the booking of the rehearsal room and studio times.
Apart from the regular cast, very few additional artists were required for the show. Once all the dates were confirmed, artists could be contacted for availability and contracts issued.
Budgets would also need to be provided to all the design departments involved, including costumes, sets, props etc.
Once everything is in place, the weeks production can begin.
Conference Room, 6th Floor, 29 – 30 Old Burlington Street, London W1
Pilot + Series 1 rehearsals:
St Paul’s Church Hall, Sussex Place, London W6
Series 2 – 4 read-through and rehearsals:
Sulgrave Boy’s Club 287 Goldhawk Road, London W12
Plotting the episode and completing a read through with the cast. Members of the production team (wardrobe, make-up, design, cameraman, sound technician) would also be present to note and collect any specific requirements for props etc. Once the read through was complete, they would head back to the Yorkshire Television Studios in Leeds with direction for the rest of the crew.
Monday & Tuesday.
Cast rehearsals wrap up.
A studio/technical rehearsal at Yorkshire Television Studios with lighting, sound and cameras take place at the Yorkshire Studios. All scenes acted out onsite, making sure the script is completely mapped on the show floor.
The cast travel up from London to the Studios.
Location: Yorkshire Television Studios, Leeds.
The Recording Day.
A.M. – Studio rehearsal
P.M. – Dress rehearsal takes place around 4pm.
Break for tea.
Audience arrives at 7pm
Recording begins at 7:30pm.
The cast would then return to their hotels.
The cast travel home from Leeds.
The schedule would start all over again for the next episode.
The pilot episode and Series One were recorded on Sundays, with the remainder of the Series being recorded on Friday’s.