Visitors to Bradford on Avon on Monday got more than they bargained for when the town played host to a major BBC drama.

A production crew was filming scenes for the adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall at the Tithe Barn and on the river.

Olivier Award-winning stage actor Mark Rylance, who plays Henry VIII’s advisor Thomas Cromwell, was among the cast shooting scenes inside the Tithe Barn, which was closed off to the public.

He will star opposite Emmy and Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis, who plays Henry.

Bafta-winning director Peter Kosminsky is directing the flagship drama that charts the meteoric rise of Cromwell in the Tudor court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith’s son to Henry VIII’s closest advisor.

Sue Bourne, of Frome, was having lunch with her family at The Lock Inn when she stumbled across the numerous horses and extras in historical costumes.

“I will definitely watch it on television. I love period dramas,” she said.

“It is very exciting because I am halfway through reading the book. It is the first historical novel I have read and Hilary Mantel is a brilliant writer.

“When you read a book you create the pictures in your head, so it will be nice to see it on TV afterwards.”

Bradford on Avon resident Chris Blake was walking his border terrier Bertie around Barton Farm.

He said: “I didn’t know it was being filmed. There were lots of lorries and people.

“Bradford on Avon is a lovely town and this makes use of its history. It is a lovely setting, with the back drop of the town, and it is nice to see the barn being used.”

Mum-of-four, Stephanie Wing, from Trowbridge, was taking her children for a picnic as it was teachers’ training day.

She said: “We put ourselves in the thick of it to see what was going on. We have seen lots of crew and cast going up and down in costumes.”

The crew remained around the Tithe Barn for the day.

Bradford on Avon mayor John Potter said: “I think it is great and it will be fantastic to have Bradford on Avon on TV. Bradford on Avon will be seen by a huge number of people.”