Benedict Cumberbatch filming at Shingle Street - where badgers have caused road to collapse
PUBLISHED: 16:21 26 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:00 26 April 2017
A family of badgers have been blamed for causing a sink hole on the only road into a lonely Suffolk hamlet where superstar actor Benedict Cumberbatch is filming a new BBC TV drama.
But the lovable creatures have failed to stop Benedict’s work – with the film crew just having to be a bit more careful about manoeuvring their trucks in and out of Shingle Street.
The star of Sherlock and Parade’s End is understood to be at the hamlet filming for a TV dramatisation of Ian McEwan’s award-winning novel The Child in Time.
Today the action centred on three cottages, with security staff ensuring that residents and visitors to the area did not get too close.
However, the badgers threatened to put a stop to the filming when they caused part of the Shingle Street road to collapse near Hollesley.
Highways officials said because of the fragile state of the road, heavy vehicles would not be able to use it until tomorrow, when a “micro bridge” is due to be installed.
A spokeswoman for SunnyMarch TV, the production company working with Pinewood Television on The Child in Time for the BBC, said: “The local council have been very supportive and informative about access to Shingle Street while the hole in the road, potentially a badger sett, is being investigated.
“We are enormously grateful to the local community and the council for their efforts in fixing this problem.”
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “The road is not closed, however only vehicles less than 2.5 metres in width can pass.
“We are currently working with Natural England to find a solution to repair the road, as badgers are a protected species and a micro-bridge has been ordered to be constructed over the sinkhole. This will enable all vehicles to get in and out of Shingle Street.
“We have also worked hard to keep residents informed of the situation and kept them updated throughout.”
In The Child In Time, Benedict Cumberbatch, joint founder of SunnyMarch, plays Stephen Lewis, a successful children’s book author whose daughter suddenly goes missing. The one-off drama is also starring Kelly Macdonald and Saskia Reeves.
Adrian Hinchliffe, Suffolk Badger Coordinator for Wonders of Wildlife, said: “Badgers will often build their sett close to tree roots and embankments for their stable structure, so building underneath a road is ideal for the ceiling of their sett.
“The issue is that badgers give birth in January and February, so the sink hole may have collapsed into one of the chambers potentially housing the cubs.
“The main priority is to protect the badgers whilst making sure that the road is safe.”
Badger setts can reach 20 metres, housing up to five badgers who can give birth to three cubs on average.