My Week With Marilyn producer starts shoot on First World War feature, commissioned by the BBC, co-written by Ian Hislop and starring Ben Chaplin, Michael Palin and Emilia Fox.

Trademark Films has begun principal photography on feature film The Wipers Times, based on the true story of how one man turned the horrors of the First World War into black comedy.

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It wills star Ben Chaplin alongside Monty Python comedian Michael Palin, Sightseers’ Steve Oram, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Emilia Fox.

The feature has been funded by the BBC, Northern Ireland Screen Fund (supported by Invest NI and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund), Goldcrest Films and Content Media.

It is due for delivery in June and although it was not specifically commissioned for the Centenery, it may form part of BBC2’s commemorative programming.

It will shoot in various Northern Ireland locations for four weeks until March 17, starting at the Ballywalter Park Estate in County Down before moving into trenches that have been built on the land and the Ballyclare Paper Mill.

Trademark, the UK production company that made My Week With Marilyn and co-produced First World War drama Parade’s End, has ambitions for the feature to be released theatrically internationally.

Content Media will begin sales at the Toronto Film Festival in September and will also take it to the AFM in November.  

Director is Andy de Emmony (West is West), producer is David Parfitt and executive producers are Ivan Mactaggart and Martin Davidson, who commissioned it for the BBC.

It was co-written by Ian Hislop - best known as the editor of satirical magazine Private Eye and a captain on long-running BBC panel show Have I Got News for You - and Nick Newman.

The film stars Chaplin as Captain Fred Roberts, who discovered a printing press in the ruins of Ypres, Belgium in 1916. Roberts used the press to publish a satirical magazine called The Wipers Times – ‘Wipers’ being army slang for Ypres.

Produced under enemy fire, the subversive magazine proved popular with the troops on the Western Front and Roberts went on to win the Military Cross for gallantry.