HISTORIC Kildwick Hall has had a chequered past and is now once again a private house, after being a hotel and a restaurant. But in 1967 it was the ideal location for the filming of Wuthering Heights, starring Ian 'Lovejoy' McShane as the tempestuous Heathcliff. Lesley Tate reports.

KILDWICK was the scene of much activity almost exactly 50 years ago, when BBC television crews turned up to film a new version of the classic Emily Bronte novel, Wuthering Heights. The BBC mini series, which went out later in the same year - 1967, starred Ian McShane as Heathcliff and Angela Scoular, as Cathy. Blackburn born McShane, then just 25, was to go on and star in many other television productions and films, including playing Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but is still probably best known in the UK as antiques dealer, Lovejoy. Scoular, was just 22 years old, and had already appeared in another BBC adaptation, of Dickens' David Copperfield. She was also to become one of the small number of actors to appear in two James Bond films - she was Buttercup in Casino Royale, and Ruby in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Scoular, who suffered from depression and anorexia nervosa, attempted suicide in 1992, and died in 2011 after ingesting acid drain cleaner and pouring it on her body.

Wuthering Heights went out in four, 45 minute parts, and also featured Anne Stallybrass and Drew Henley as Edgar Linton. Other parts were played by Angela Douglas, William Marlowe, John Garrie and Michael Wennick.

IN 1967, Kildwick Hall was a hotel and it was used for exterior shots of Thrushcross Grange - which in the story was the home of the Linton family. It was not the first time the building had been used for an adaptation of Wuthering Heights - it had also been earlier used for a silent version.

Kildwick Hall had a further connection with the Bronte sisters - it was once the home of the Currer family, from where it is believed Charlotte Bronte took her pen name, Currer Bell, under which she wrote her novel, Jane Eyre. Charlotte was also employed as a governess at nearby Stone Gappe, Lothersdale.

The Craven Herald reported that those involved in the filming were staying at Burnley, and that filming started early - at 7am, so actors could attend makeup and be fitted into their period costumes.

It was also an exciting time for children from Haworth County Primary School who spent one day as extras. They too were required to be fitted out in costumes suited to the late 18th century. Another extra was three and a half month old Timothy Rutherford - the twin son of the owner of the hotel, a Mr J C Rutherford.

Filming took about two weeks, following a week of rehearsals, while inside shots took place in BBC studios. There was however, other filming in the area - on Haworth Moor, and at St Mary le Gill Church, Barnoldswick, where the marriage scene between Cathy and Edgar Linton took place. It seems filming however fell victim to the Yorkshire summer, and a scene where the young Linton was filmed returning home to Thrushcross Grange, was carried out in a heavy downpour. For the filming of the horse drawn carriage and pair through Kildwick, all vehicles were stopped to allow it to wind its way along the narrow road to the entrance to the grange.

There have been many adaptations of Wuthering Heights, including a 1939 Hollywood version, starring Laurence Oliver and Merle Oberon, and a Monty Python sketch with Cathy and Heathcliff signalling their cries to each other in semaphore.