Oscars hope for ‘The King’s Speech’ filmed in Burnley

STARS: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter at Queen's Street Mill during the filming of The King's Speech (S)

STARS: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter at Queen's Street Mill during the filming of The King's Speech (S)

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“THE King’s Speech” – hotly tipped for Oscar success after sweeping the board at the Baftas – is helping a Burnley “star” gain global exposure.

The hit film, starring A-list stars Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter, also boasts a special extra in the form of Queen Street Mill, Briercliffe, which was used for some of the scenes.

Now the film has scooped seven Baftas including Best Film and Best Actor for Firth, and has received 12 nominations for the prestigious Academy Awards, more than any other this year.

And Queen Street Mill’s weaving technician Margaret Nowak has revealed how its famous old steam engine “Peace” may have helped Colin Firth pull off his outstanding performance as the stuttering Prince Albert, Duke of York, who was to become King George VI.

Margaret said: “When they were filming the scenes at the mill, the film’s director Tom Hooper insisted the engine, with all its deafening noise, be started up.

“We thought this was curious but only realised later this was to rack up the pressure on Colin Firth to make his character’s attempt at battling the stutter more realistic.

“Watching the film there is no impression at all of the vibration and noise from the engine so it must have been to get the best out of the actor.

“We’re really thrilled to be associated with such a prestigious film. It’s great it’s won so many Baftas and now fingers crossed for the Oscars.

“When we first heard they wanted to film at the mill we were a bit blase and thought we’d seen it all before because there have been a few television series filmed here.

“It was only when we were told Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter were starring we realised it was a big deal.”

Margaret and the mill’s weaving supervisor Conrad Varley also appeared as extras on the film during the one day of filming at the mill.

“Peace” was originally used to power the mill’s weaving shed and will be up and running again for the public on March 1st.