BBC and Netflix cemetery filming for new 'Dracula' upsets relatives of the dead

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Claes Bang as Dracula (Credit: Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films)

A new BBC and Netflix adaptation of Dracula is being shot on location in a real cemetery, upsetting relatives of those laid to rest there.

The new TV horror show - written by by Sherlock's Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and starring Claes Bang as the vampire - has been filmed at Henley Road Cemetery, in Caversham, Berkshire across several nights this week.

Local residents were informed in advance, but some of those who have relatives buried in the graveyard have learned of the production through social media, after filming had already begun.

Read more: First look: Claes Bang's new Dracula for the BBC

Gavin Rashford, whose daughter was buried there, told BBC Berkshire he found out about the filming on Facebook, and "thought it was a joke".

Rashford, whose daughter was buried at the cemetery in 2006, said the burial ground should be a "peaceful" place and that he did not want to "watch a film one night and suddenly see my daughter's last resting place on the TV."

"I just find it totally disrespectful," he added.

Alison King, who has a cousin, her cousin's baby and "several" older relatives buried there, said she was "very angry" with the filming.

Henley Road Cemetery (Credit: Reading Borough Council)

Hartswood Films, who is making the production, has said it is “very sorry” to hear some people have been upset and said no gravestones would be “identifiable” on screen.

The company said in a statement: "We'd like to assure everyone that we take filming in such a sensitive location very seriously, we have filmed cemeteries many times and all our crew knows to show proper respect to the interred, just as anyone would."

Read more: Mark Gatiss praised after tearful 'Stand Up to Cancer' video

Reading Borough Council said: “Filming at Henley Road was agreed on the basis that this is a reputable and experienced production company which is highly sensitive of the day to day operation of the cemetery. Following discussions held in advance, it was agreed that all filming would be outside of opening hours, which means there is zero impact on any visitor or any activity. People can access all graves and chapel services will go on as usual. Filming is additionally only focussed on a small area of the cemetery and only silhouettes of headstones would be used.

"It was also a requirement of the Council that the company writes to all local residents and addresses any concerns raised, which they have done.

"Along with other Berkshire councils, Reading works in partnership with Berkshire Film Office to increase access for the film industry, which in turn brings economic benefits to the town by raising its profile nationally and internationally."

The BBC and Netflix have been contacted for comment.