F stood for fire and not the usual four-lettered expletive when a chimney blaze started at the 800-year-old country pile of the famous swearing Fulford family outside Dunsford late last night.

The Fulfords - whose television antics and colourful language are known to millions of TV viewers - dealt with their very own off-screen domestic drama when their chimney over-heated just after 10pm.

They alerted fire chiefs who despatched three appliances from Moretonhampstead, Chagford and Exeter to tackle the blaze at Great Fulford House which the family has occupied since 1190.

The aerial platform ladder appliance was drafted in to help tackle the flames from the chimney which extended over four storeys.

Firefighters’ assault on the blazing structure continued into the early hours of this morning with a fire spokesman declaring that crews were making ‘steady progress’ at 1.30am.

Thermal imaging camera equipment was used to locate any lingering fire hot-spots.

A crew returned at first light to make sure all was well at the oft-filmed abode.

A spokesman said the historic property suffered no structural damage.

All the problems were confined to the chimney.