MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Given that the global housing market is doing really badly, it may seem unlikely that a rundown cottage could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars.
ALEX COHEN, host:
But Sleddale Hall is no ordinary shack. It played a key role in the British cult film "Withnail and I."
(Soundbite of movie "Withnail and I")
Unidentified Man #1: Would you like a drink?
Unidentified Man #2: We want the finest wines available to humanity.
Unidentified Man #1: A thermostat. What have you done to them?
Unidentified Man #2: I haven't touched them.
Unidentified Man #1: And why has my head gone numb?
Unidentified Man #2: We want them here, and we want them now.
BRAND: That comedy starred Richard E. Grant as Withnail, an unemployed actor living in London.
COHEN: Withnail decides to get away from it all by going to his Uncle Monty's countryside cottage. Sleddale Hall was where they filmed those cottage scenes, and it's been a tourist attraction for fans of the film ever since. The dilapidated property will be auctioned next month, and there are some potential big-name buyers. I spoke earlier with Paul Mooney, director of the London-based real estate company, Savills. He told me that Sleddale Hall is a bit off the beaten path.
Mr. PAUL MOONEY (Director, Savills): It's up in Cambria, which is right up in the north of England, beautiful area, the Lake District. And the nearest town is called Penwith.
COHEN: When the movie was filmed there in the '80s, what kind of state was it in at that point?
Mr. MOONEY: I think it was probably very much in the same sort of state that it is now because it hasn't been lived in for about, sort of, 25 years. So, when you see the property you'll see that it needs plenty of loving care and attention to bring it back to its former glory.
COHEN: Why are they selling it?
Mr. MOONEY: I think they've decided now it's, kind of, time to realize the asset and get some money in. So, you know, we've had loads and loads of interest in it, as you pointed out, from quite a few famous people, and it's going to be very interesting to see who sort of turns up on the day.
COHEN: And who are some of the celebrities potentially interested?
Mr. MOONEY: Well, I mean, I haven't spoken to them myself. But in the paper over here it was quoted that Kate Moss is interested, and her boyfriend who's (unintelligible) over here. Plus a few other people who are, sort of, keeping their - sort of a low profile I think.
COHEN: Many fans of the film are protesting. They say they want it to remain open to the public.
Mr. MOONEY: Mm.
COHEN: Do you think they might be able to pool together enough money to buy it?
Mr. MOONEY: Who knows? I mean, you know, it's an interesting concept. And I think it has no planning as a house at the moment. So, whoever buys it is going to apply for planning permission to do anything with it. So, you know, I think that whoever buys it, you know, I think that they'll probably have to keep some sort of open door policy to the devotees because it's really is a site of pilgrimage. There's lots of graffiti on the walls inside. And when I say graffiti I don't mean, you know, rude stuff, I mean, sort of, quotes from the film.
COHEN: Tributes to the film.
Mr. MOONEY: Yeah, exactly. They've done this, it's a little guest book that somebody's put there and you kind of write your name in and there's lot of beer cans hanging around, (unintelligible) cans and empty beer cans. I think people just, sort of, trek up there and put a fire on in the old, sort of, grate there, and just kind of reminisce about the film.
COHEN: Paul Mooney of the British real estate company, Savills. Thank you.
Mr. MOONEY: Thank you very much.
COHEN: Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Cohen.
BRAND: And I'm Madeleine Brand.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.