Clair Challenor-Chadwick, MD of Cause UK has been in negotiations with Songs of Praise this year to film in Malton on 25th November for public broadcast on Sunday 7th December. Clair has been working in partnership with Selina Scott since Christmas 2012 on raising awareness of Charles Dickens links to Malton, a sleepy Yorkshire town and the origins of Dickens inspiration for his most famous book ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The project is achieving front page news in Malton already!
Call to Showcase Malton’s links to Charles Dickens
by Karen Darley Malton Gazette
MALTON’S shops and businesses are being urged to showcase the town and capitalise on its links with Charles Dickens to attract more visitors.
Television presenter Selina Scott has helped to negotiate a focus on Malton as part of the launch of a new-look Songs of Praise programme, highlighting the connections to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Producers will spend a day filming next month and want the town to get on board by helping to create a Victorian-style atmosphere.
Selina will give Aled a guided tour of Malton, visiting various religious locations that are linked to the book including St Leonard’s Church in Malton, and St Mary’s Priory in Old Malton, where Charles Smithson is buried.
They will then visit The Talbot Hotel, to see the book itself and share a drink of Smoking Bishop, a Dickensian delicacy, with television chef James Martin and traditional gingerbread from Malton Cookery School.
Clair Challenor-Chadwick, who helped coordinate the purchase of a rare signed copy of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol last year, said they were looking for local choirs to take part in the programme, which will be filmed on Tuesday, November 25, and were also encouraging shop owners to dress their windows in a Dickensian style and take part in filming.
“It’s fantastic that weeks of negotiation with the Songs of Praise team has paid off,” she added.
“This will be a great showcase for Malton to show off its Christmas spirit and no doubt a boost to the visitor economy”.
Last year Selina criticised local businesses for failing to take up the opportunity to recreate a Dickensian festival in the town, similar to those held in the 1980s.
However, Selina said she was delighted Songs of Praise would broadcasting from Malton this December and hoped it would now lead to a regular seasonal event.
“Malton was incredibly lucky to buy a rare edition of A Christmas Carol at auction in New York two years ago. Inscribed by the author to his friend Elizabeth Smithson devastated with grief at the death of her husband, Charles it confirmed the close family ties with Dickens and the knowledge passed direct from Dickens to the family that one of the most iconic books in the English language was in fact based on the town.
Selina said: ” What an absolute gift to Malton. A gift other communities would die for.”
“It is now up to the people of Malton to continue the work of Clair and Stephen Joll from Scagglethorpe whom I would both like to thank for their incredible efforts in bringing the book and the national media to Malton.
Selina said she hoped that each year A Christmas Carol would continue to be the centrepiece of Malton.
“The town has been handed a treasure. What could be more joyful than to stage a traditional Yorkshire Christmas, with Dickensian food and local choirs singing carols, acting as a magnet for visitors from around the world,” she added.
” Malton and Songs of Praise – made for each other this Christmas.”
Anyone who would like more information or is interested in getting involved with the programme should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, please visit the project website www.dickensgifttoyorkshire.com