GENTLY does it for an old school building which will star in the next series of a primetime BBC police drama.

Cast and crew from the show Inspector George Gently are about to set up camp in the former Tudhoe Grange School, in Spennymoor, County Durham.

The lower school site, on Durham Road, will be transformed into the set of a 1960s police station from which Insp Gently and sidekick Det Sgt John Bacchaus, played by Martin Shaw and Lee Ingelby, work.

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The building will also be the BBC’s production base while it makes four 90-minute episodes for the seventh series.

Filming at locations across the region starts next month and is expected to continue until around the end of June.

The series, which regularly pulls in about seven million viewers, will air later in 2013.

The show’s publicist, Deborah Goodman, said: “Period-wise the school really works for us.

“It has a great frontage to put our sixties police cars out front and the interior is great, we can make the police station sets work and have enough room for the production team to have its offices there.

“It has made a huge difference to the series to film it where it is supposed to be set, in and around Northumberland.”

Lessons moved out of the 100-year-old building in September when Tudhoe Grange and Spennymoor Schools were replaced by Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College.

Agnes Armstrong, chair of governors at Whitworth Park and a board member of Spennymoor Learning Community Trust, is delighted with the BBC’s decision.

She said: “Its long term future hasn’t been decided but we’re very pleased it is being put to use in the interim.

“To have people in the building is good for security and it will generate an income that will go into school funds for the education and welfare of our children.”

Durham County Councillor for Tudhoe Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, added: “It is good to keep production in County Durham, in the past several firms from cars to catering have benefited and while in the area the crew will spend locally.

“It is also a bit of excitement for the area, people will enjoy seeing their town and old school on the television and there may be opportunities to get involved like crowd scenes.”