We are getting used to seeing film crews popping up in beautiful locations shooting popular shows like Doc Martin and Poldark. As a result of this and of course the sapphire seas, sandy beaches and scrumptious cream teas tourism in the county is growing year on year. However one group of the foreign nationals is arriving in droves because of a TV series few British people have heard of.
A quarter of a million German tourists visit Cornwall each year making up 40% of our overseas visitors and many of them are seeking out the world of the writer Rosamunde Pilcher. The Cornish born author wrote short stories and 28 romance novels before retiring in 2000. These stories many set in Cornwall have now been made into a TV series which attracts 7 million viewers in Germany where Pilcher has become a household name.
Born in Lelant, Pilcher spent much of her early life exploring the coves and beaches around her local area. Her school days were spent in Penzance and despite moving away when she married Pilcher never lost her love of Cornwall, descriptions of the places of her childhood fill the pages of her books.
Now in her 90s Rosamunde Pilcher has retired from writing and the public eye but her son Robin, himself a author, spoke to My Cornwall about the popularity of his mother’s work.
“It was always said that Germany and England were very close at the beginning of the 19th century because the same royal family oversaw them, so there was an enormous amount in common with the culture and their values.” says Robin “There’s a sense of nostalgia as far as the German tourists are concerned. They see this visually beautiful place with lovely, ethereal plots . . . they would like to associate with it.”
Like Daphne Du Maurier and Winston Graham Rosamunde Pilcher’s name has become part of the culture of Cornwall and each year German tourists are flocking to find the wild and iconic sights that they recognise from her stories. Although her books are considered romance they are filled with relatable characters that appeal to a wide audience.
“I never class them as romantic novels because I think it is slightly degrading of what they are, which is actually a remarkable insight into family life and relationships. These are not just relationships between men and women but grandmothers and grandsons, uncles and aunts. She builds extremely good ”