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The Mercy

It is not every day that mega movie stars, like Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, visit small seaside towns in Devon.

Therefore, when most of the filming for “The Mercy”, the Donald Crowhurst film, took place in the resort of Teignmouth in early June 2015, the excitement (dare we say it) that ensued would have to be labelled as an understatement amongst the locals and holidaymakers watching the filming from the seafront.

“The Mercy” has recently been announced as set to be released in October 2017. Directed by James Marsh, the movie tells the adventurous story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst’s unsuccessful attempt to complete the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968, and the turmoil he went through in order to cover up his failure.

Film fixer locations for “The Mercy” also included Dorset, Essex and Malta. However, as Donald Crowhurst actually set sail from Teignmouth, here are a few facts about the seaside town to celebrate its glory as a filming location.

  • Many residents of Teignmouth appear in the film as extras, dressed in 1960s attire.
  • One of these extras was late Teignmouth councillor, Geoff Bladon, who plays Crowhurst’s father, Councillor Arthur Bladon.
  • During filming, it was reported that Colin Firth was taken to hospital for a hip dislocation.
  • “Teignmouth Electron” was the actual name of the 40-foot trimaran that Crowhurst built himself for the Golden Globe Trip, the boat was found empty and adrift on 10th July 1969.
  • Crowhurst departed from Teignmouth on the last permitted day of departure, 31st October 1968.
  • The current Teignmouth mayor, Paul Burgess, said: “This is great news- it has been a long wait, but now we are all looking forward to seeing the finished result. Teignmouth council at the time persuaded him to start the race from here for the publicity it would bring.” (Dawlish Gazette)
  • After Crowhurst’s empty boat had been discovered, Teignmouth council did consider exhibiting the boat and sharing the profits with Crowhurst’s wife and children.
  • At one stage, when it was believed that Crowhurst was in the lead, Teignmouth was preparing to welcome him back as a hero, with live TV coverage.
  • Teignmouth pier features in the film and was constructed between 1865 and 1867. It is called the ‘Grand Pier’ and houses numerous arcades. It is still very traditional and old-fashioned looking.
  • Crowhurst’s failed adventure actually had an impact on Teignmouth’s shipbuilding industry. The last derelict shipbuilding yard in Teignmouth was bought by Morgan Giles in 1921, but this business failed following Crowhurst’s round-the-world attempt.

Teignmouth will receive worldwide publicity from the film, however, has also shone in the public light recently, named as one of the world’s best destinations by The Guardian.

Therefore, unlike Crowhurst’s pursuits and the title of the film, taken from the rambling poems found in Crowhurst’s logs: “It is finished- IT IS THE MERCY”, Teignmouth, as an up-and-coming, worldwide filming and holiday location, is anything but finished.

In fact, it is set to thrive as spectators will have the opportunity to see the beautiful coastline of the South West Coast of Devon, from Teignmouth, to Exmouth and Torbay.

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