Bill Bailey among the deer at Petworth Park

John, Charlotte and Bill CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-141108-124810001
John, Charlotte and Bill CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-141108-124810001

WITH its sweeping lawns, stately manor and diverse offering of wildlife, Petworth House and Park is a stunning backdrop for a filming location.

Comedian and keen wildlife photographer Bill Bailey and zoologist and natural history presenter Dr Charlotte Uhlenbroek joined John Craven and the crew of BBC’s Countryfile to film at the estate, to select the best 12 pictures from this year’s Countryfile Photographic competition.

The theme is ‘Animal Magic’ so Petworth – with its close ties to art and nature – was an obvious choice of location.

Jo Lee, media and marketing co-ordinator for the property said: “We were delighted when Countryfile approached us with this exciting opportunity and really enjoyed organising an action-packed day for the crew.”

Filming began with head keeper, David Whitby accompanying John Craven on an early morning deer watch. August is an excellent time for this as the deer’s antlers have almost achieved full growth and are richly covered in velvet.

Sitting comfortably in the Marble Hall, John, Bill and Charlotte then embarked on the difficult task of whittling down the final 3,000 photographic entries to just 12.

These pictures will feature in the Countryfile Calendar for 2015, which will be sold in aid of BBC Children in Need. The show will air on Sunday, August 31 at 8pm on BBC 1.