AN eagle-eyed photographer looking to capture barn owls on camera ended up taking pictures of Hollywood actor Tom Hiddleston instead.

Lynne Sampson shared her snaps of the British actor filming for a television adaption of best-selling novel The Essex Serpent to the Gazette’s camera club.

She said: “I went out hoping for a barn owl, didn’t see one sadly, but the universe sent a nice surprise replacement instead of Tom Hiddleston.”

The Night Manager star was seen filming alongside a crew at about 7pm on Thursday in Brightlingsea, facing Alresford Creek.


Action - Tom Hiddleston with a crew in north Essex. Picture: Lynne Sampson

She said she was quite a distance away from him, but it made brightened up her week.

Lynne, from Colchester, added: “I came out hoping for some wildlife and a sunset, saw a kestrel, a buzzard, hares and Tom Hiddleston.”

Production for The Essex Serpent started in January and the Victorian series will feature the picturesque Alresford Creek as a replacement for the fictional village of Aldwinter.

Hiddleston, 40, will play the role of Will Ransome in the AppleTV+ series adaptation of Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel.

The series follows newly widowed Cora, played by Claire Danes who, having being released from an abusive marriage, relocates to the fictional village of Aldwinter, in Essex, intrigued by a superstition a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.


Drama - the actor in Brightlingsea filming for the Victoria drama Picture: Lynne Sampson

Cora is immediately enthralled and convinced what the villagers think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species.

Will is the leader of the small rural community in the series, which will be directed by The Selfish Giant filmmaker Clio Barnard.

Both Danes and Hiddleston have recently been spotted filming across locations in north Essex for the show.

They have been sighted acting out scenes for the period drama in Mersea Island and Maldon.

The production crews completely transformed The Hythe in Maldon to look like a period accurate quay at the end of March.

Photographers based themselves near the set to take close-up pictures of the actors.

Hiddleston was also seen walking through smoke sporting fake blood on his cheek during a dramatic scene being filmed in Tollesbury last week.

He will be out of the county this weekend as he will be among the presenters at the Bafta film awards.

The main ceremony on Sunday will be largely virtual but most presenters will appear in person at the Royal Albert Hall.