Not limited to pet tortoises – Bevin Community Gardens gets a boost thanks to the magic of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot

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Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench have been filming a TV movie adaptation of Esio Trot in Islington’s Bevin Court housing estate.

In the story, Mr Hoppy convinces Mrs Silver that his magic spell is making her pet tortoise grow. In real life, an allocation of the filming fees will help the gardens around Bevin Court grow a little better.

Julia Barclay, the treasurer for the gardens, explained, “there are lots of ongoing improvements we have planned – I can see the donation being spent on a lot of new bulbs and plants actually.

“It all helps. After several local prizes for the past three years, this year for the first time, we’ve been chosen to help represent Islington for the London in Bloom judging this month. We’re really excited about that.”

Ms Barclay and her gardening community enjoyed hosting the Esio Trot team for a week, finding the process of film making fascinating to watch. Copies of the book were given away at a residents’ meeting. And a copy signed by the stars acted as a prize in the Amwell Street fete. An additional sum from the fees will be spent on new security lighting at the estate.

Ms Barclay adds, “I found it really interesting to see all the behind-the-scenes activity. You don’t realise there is quite so much work that goes into making a film. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how Bevin Court translates on to the screen in Roald Dahl’s story.”

The TV adaptation has been written by Richard Curtis and Paul Mayhew-Archer, and is scheduled to screen over Christmas. The title comes from the spell, starting “Esio Trot, Esio Trot,” which is supposed to help Mrs Silver’s tortoise grow.

Proving to be the perfect location for the story, Bevin Court is a modernist Grade II* listed council estate in Islington, designed by the renowned Berthold Lubetkin and built in 1954.