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Ralph Fiennes cycling scene in Netflix drama The Dig shot by student from Elmswell

A key scene in Suffolk-shot Netflix hit The Dig was filmed by a university student - and he found Ralph Fiennes the ‘model professional’.

Coddenham-based Bickers Action, a production company which specialises in filming moving vehicles, captured the James Bond actor as he cycled in early scenes.

Fiennes plays Basil Brown, a real-life excavator who uncovers Anglo Saxon treasure buried in Sutton Hoo on the eve of the Second World War.

Max and Paul Bickers
Max and Paul Bickers

Nottingham Trent University student Max Bikers, 21, works part-time at his family’s firm and was on his summer break when he worked on The Dig.

He said: “I was the precision driver for the camera tracking vehicle, the shots I worked on were filmed over in Woodbridge(which include the cycling shots) so very local to where our company is based near Ipswich.

“This was back in September 2019, when I had only been working as a precision driver in the industry for around two years. It was great for me to be a part of such an amazing film and to work with an actor such as Ralph Fiennes.”

The camera tracking decive used by Bickers action
The camera tracking decive used by Bickers action

For 45 years, the company has been involved in leading blockbusters, including the Harry Potter franchise, Matt Damon’s Bourne series, and Mission Impossible films. The gentler drama of The Dig was a change of pace, but company managing director Paul Bickers said it was nice to work on a project close to their home in Elmswell.

“It is a really nice film, and being so close to us is lovely,” the 53-year-old said. “It is unusual to be in Suffolk but we were doing a Burberry advert in the Lowestoftarea around the same time.”

Max was the sole member of the company on set. He is the third generation Bicker to work in the company which was founded by Paul’s father Dave in 1976.

Paul said Max has been a ‘bit spoilt’ by his family’s connections to A-listers.

Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil BrownPicture by PA Photo/Netflix/Larry Horricks.
Carey Mulligan as Edith Pretty and Ralph Fiennes as Basil BrownPicture by PA Photo/Netflix/Larry Horricks.

“He has grown up with it and has a motorbike background,” said Paul. “All of us like a bit of pressure to thrive under.”

The scenes Bickers worked on were shot over three or four days near Edith Petty’s real life home in Sutton Hoo, although the dig itself was shot in Surrey.

Basil Brown was for years a caretaker at The Culford School near Bury St Edmunds, which Max attended. The family have no personal connections to the man himself, but are friends with author Charlie Haylock - who was Ralph Fiennes’ voice coach for the role.

The Dig received a warm reception from critics but an enthusiastic response from Netflix watchers - with the film topping ‘most watched’ rankings in the UK. Paul said it was the first major film the company he worked on that was released straight to the on-demand service without a cinema run.

“It was the first film that we were waiting to see in our front room,” Paul said. “It would have been nicer to see it in the cinema but that is the way things are going.”

And how was Ralph Fiennes to work with?

“(Max said he was) very professional,” said Paul. “Some of the more famous actors are often the friendlier ones. He was very professional in his approach on set.”

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk

Read more: All the latest news from Bury St Edmunds