HUNDREDS of people descended on Kirkby Lonsdale to watch the filming of drama Jamaica Inn.

The town underwent a complete transformation to turn it into 1820s Cornwall, with period market stalls, horses and carriages and hundreds of tons of mud.

“It’s been such a great week for the town,” said Allan Muirhead, chair of the town council.

“It’s been fascinating to watch what’s gone on and brilliant that so many people have come to Kirkby to see it all unfold.”

Filming for the BBC adapation of the Daphne du Maurier classic began on Monday morning and has continued until 10.30pm every night this week. Market Square has been almost unrecognisable since it was turned into the Cornish town of Launceston, where parts of the book are set.

Several businesses, including Cariad Coffee Shop and Emily’s, had fake shopfronts installed, while the ground was coated in a thick layer of mud.

Josephine Green, head housekeeper at The Royal Hotel, which was turned into a ‘Customs and Excise Office’, said: “It’s been amazing, the transformation of the town. Watching it all unfold has been brilliant.

“I don’t think people realise how much work goes into something like this.”

The adaptation is expected to be shown in three hour-long episodes at Easter, with around 15 minutes worth of action to come from the Kirkby Lonsdale scenes.

Around 50 local people will also appear as extras.

Brian Coope, 61, from Kirkby Lonsdale, who was given a background part alongside wife, Karen, 49, said: “We applied to be extras and were chosen which we’re both been really excited about.

“I’ve had to grow stubble for it though – three days’ worth!”

Those who visited the Lunesdale town were also keen to catch a glimpse of the cast, including Jessica Brown-Findlay, who played Lady Sybil in Downton Abbey.

And some traders say they have seen as much as a 30 per cent in increase in business since filming began.

“All the people who have come here, including the cast and crew themselves, have needed food and drink and accommodation,” continued Mr Muirhead.

“The visitors have also been spending in cafes.

“A lot of the restaurants and hotels, and places like that, have seen an increase in trade which is great news.”

It is understood to be the first time in Cumbria’s history that the county council has allowed public roads to be closed for filming.

But location manager, Andrew Ryland, said the cast and crew were ‘delighted’ with the reception they have been given.

“We chose Kirkby Lonsdale because it looks more like Launceston in the 1820s than Launceston does now,” he said.

“Locals have been so supportive and that has made it so much easier. We’ve been delighted with the reception we’ve had here.”