BBC and Netflix cemetery filming 'totally disrespectful'

Image caption Dracula is believed to be the reason crews are filming at Henley Road Cemetery

Relatives of people buried in a cemetery say the filming of a new BBC and Netflix drama in its grounds is "totally disrespectful".

Hartswood Films started the first of three nights shooting at Henley Road Cemetery, in Caversham, on Tuesday.

Cranes and lights are being used as crews film a new series of Dracula.

Gavin Rashford, whose daughter was buried there, said the place should be "peaceful". The film company said it was "sorry" people are upset.

Commissioned by BBC One, Dracula - written by Sherlock's Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat - is being produced by Hartswood Films and is a co-production between the BBC and Netflix.

'A joke'

Mr Rashford, whose daughter was buried at the cemetery in 2006, said he did not want to "watch a film one night and suddenly see my daughter's last resting place on the TV", but Hartswood said no gravestones would be "identifiable" in the drama.

Mr Rashford found out about the filming on Facebook, and "thought it was a joke".

"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.

Image caption Residents living near Henley Road Cemetery in Caversham were notified of the filming

Hartswood Films, who sent a letter notifying neighbouring residents to the Caversham cemetery, said it was "very sorry" to hear some people had been upset.

"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," the company added.

In its letter to residents, the production company said large cranes and lights would be used on site and offered to "black out" windows if there was any "disturbance".

Filming took place from Tuesday evening until 04:00 BST on Wednesday, but will run from 20:00 to 05:00 for the next two nights.

Reading Borough Council, who granted permission to use the site, said all filming was outside of opening hours so there was "zero impact on any visitor or any activity".

It added: "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."

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