Castle in spotlight as film’s release nears

Highland dancers at Duns Castle with the NBC  Today Show hosts.
Highland dancers at Duns Castle with the NBC Today Show hosts.

Duns Castle has found itself centre stage in the lead-up to the long-awaited release of the new Walt Disney film Beauty and the Beast, opening at cinemas worldwide tomorrow.

More than a million people have entered a competition to promote the movie, a live-action remake of a story already a hit for Disney in animated form in 1991, to win a five-night stay at Duns Castle.

One of the NBC presenters, Al Roker is filmed getting close to Scottish wildlife

One of the NBC presenters, Al Roker is filmed getting close to Scottish wildlife

Entrants are asked to send in photos of themselves dressed up and acting out a scene from their favourite Disney film.

As they wait to see the new film – directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor and Luke Evans – viewers of NBC’s Today Show in America got a taste of castle life this week when the programme, broadcast across America, was filmed live from Duns Castle on Monday and Tuesday.

Castle residents Aline and Alick Hay hosted the vist, showing NBC presenters Sheinelle Jones, Keir Simmons and Al Roker around the 14th century castle and 1,200-acre estate and introducing them to “different things that involved Scottish culture”.

The 50-strong television crew spent several days in Duns, and were introduced to Highland dancers from across Scotland, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Duns Pipe Band, as well as seeing horses, ponies, sheep and falcons, and trying their hand at Highland games and archery.

NBC viewers in America were treated to music by Duns Pipe Band when the Today Show was presented from Duns Castle.

NBC viewers in America were treated to music by Duns Pipe Band when the Today Show was presented from Duns Castle.

The Beauty and the Beast competition prize of staying at Duns Castle has caught the imagination of the world’s press, and Aileen and Alick have had a busy week, with a string of international journalists also making their way to Duns this week.

Duns Castle is on the HomeAway holiday rental company, website and it was HomeAway that teamed up with Disney to celebrate the release of the £130m film, an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s 1756 rewrite of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s 1740 fairy tale, by giving one lucky winner and 20 of his or her chosen guests the change to live a real-life fairy tale.

There is still time to enter the competition as it doesn’t close until the end of March.

An American morning programme theToday Show was filmed live this week from Duns Castlewith hosts Sheinelle Jones and Keir Simmons in prime position in front of the castle.

An American morning programme theToday Show was filmed live this week from Duns Castlewith hosts Sheinelle Jones and Keir Simmons in prime position in front of the castle.

Emma Watson in Disneys Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson in Disneys Beauty and the Beast