Carpets fit for a king

FIT FOR A KING: Mill Carpet owners Andy Jennings and Adrian Benson are former Whitcliffe Mount School pupils.
FIT FOR A KING: Mill Carpet owners Andy Jennings and Adrian Benson are former Whitcliffe Mount School pupils.

OSCAR nominated Hollywood film The King’s Speech has received the red carpet treatment thanks to two former Whitcliffe Mount pupils.

Cousins Andy Jennings, 36, and Adrian Benson, 34, of Low Moor, own Mill Carpets in Bradford, and were approached by the film’s production company Speaking Film Productions, when they were looking for props and flooring for The King’s Speech, which was partly shot at Odsal Stadium and Elland Road.

The pair, who have showrooms in Queensbury and Bingley, were royally thrilled to be able to provide the majestic red carpet for interior scenes at a mocked-up ‘Westminster Abbey’.

They dispatched a fitting team to Ely Cathedral in Cambridge in December 2009 to fit 600m of red carpet and were rewarded with a special thanks in the film’s closing credits.

The film has received great critical acclaim and this week was nominated for 12 Academy Awards including best film and best actor for Colin Firth.

The film centres on the struggle of King George VI to overcome difficulties with public speaking, with the help of a therapist Lionel Logue.

Adrian, who travelled down to Ely with the fitting team, said: “We’ve fitted for the catering industry, for schools and hundreds of homes but we’ve never fitted carpet for Hollywood royalty before.

“Everyone on the production team was really professional. There were strict deadlines to meet and we worked with them to turn things around quickly.

“It meant working in Ely Cathedral throughout the night and we heard a few funny noises – things going bump in the night – as we fitted the carpet.

“Overall we had a ball with the production team who were great fun to work with. It’s been fantastic seeing our carpet up on the big screen with stars like Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush walking across it. It’s also great to get a mention in the credits at the end.”

Russ Petcher, music critic for the Guardian, was also involved with the production as an extra.

He was even standing next to Helena Bonham Carter, but sadly did not make the final cut.

“I went to see the film on the day it was released and I had a rough idea of where I would be standing in the shot,” he said.

“The second day of filming we had really heavy snow falling, which might be why the shot was cut.

“But I remember everything from the scene, I just hope that it’s on the DVD release.”