Emma (2009)

Romola Garai in a bonnet in front of flowers

Romola Garai © BBC

Director: Jim O’ Hanlon

Writer: Sandy Welch

Starring:Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig, Rupert Evans, Robert Bathurst

Production Company: BBC

Kent Filming Locations: Chilham, Squerryes Court, Westerham.

This Autumn Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ will once again grace our screens with a four part adaptation from the BBC. The new series sees Romola Garai (Atonement) starring as the incomparable Emma Woodhouse, with Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) as her father.

Jane Austen describes Emma as ‘handsome, clever and rich’ and confessed that Emma is a heroine which no-one but her will like. Emma is determined not to marry. However, she cannot help but play matchmaker to all her friends, often with disastrous consequences. Will she ever learn to let love run its true course?

Behind the Scenes at Squerryes - lighting equipment

Behind the Scenes at Squerryes © Squerryes

Behind the Scenes at Squerryes - filming in the gardens

Behind the Scenes at Squerryes © Squerryes

Market in front of Chilham Castle

Market in front of Chilham Castle © Kent Film Office

Meat Market Stall © Kent Film Office

Meat Market Stall © Kent Film Office

Squerryes Court in Westerham with its grand Georgian rooms was the perfect location to double as the Woodhouse family home. The country house is located in 20 acres of beautiful grounds which include a spectacular garden and an 18th Century Dovecote.    Squerryes Court has been used for productions such as The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012) and The Boat That Rocked (2009).

The production also chose the beautiful village of Chilham near Ashford to feature as Highbury. Chilham village retains much of its original features, which makes it perfect for period dramas. During filming the square was closed off and all signs of modern life, from the double yellow lines to the burglar alarms, were gently erased. In its place a vibrant market was installed to capture the essence of village life in Jane Austen’s time.

Chilham village has been used for a variety of filming projects including BBC’s Emma (2009), Channel 4 comedy Chickens (2011) and Miss Marple – The Moving Finger (2005).

The series was shown on BBC One on October 2009 and is now available to buy on DVD.


For more information on filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more behind the scenes images: http://brochures.moviesite.biz/view/kent/Behind_the_scenes_images_of_Emma.html

For more information about Squerryes Court: http://www.squerryes.co.uk/

For more information about Chilham visit: http://www.enjoychilham.org.uk/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

How to Look Good Naked (2009)

Gok Wan standing in front of a black background

Gok Wan © Channel 4

The iconic show returns for a new series

Production Company: Maverick Television

Kent Filming Location: Tunbridge Wells

The popular life-style show How To Look Good Naked returns with a new presenter helping Gok Wan to rid Britain of their Body Hatred! Crowned Miss Naked Beauty in 2008, Shona Collins is charged with investigating why teenagers grow to hate their bodies. Shona works with parents, teachers and young people to petition the Government to add body confidence lessons to the school curriculum.

The series is unique in its approach: it does not encourage participants to lose weight or to undergo dramatic cosmetic surgery, but persuades contributors to love themselves for who and what they are. As a symbol of their new found self confidence and belief in their ‘body beautiful’, they bravely ‘bare all’ to the camera or the general public at the end of the programme!

During Shona’s quest to find out why Britain hates their bodies, she visits Tunbridge Wells to visit teen focused magazine Bliss.

Tunbridge Wells is a large town situated in West Kent with a busy town centre and a period shopping area, The Pantiles,  offering a fascinating variety of small specialist shops, antique shops, open-air cafés, restaurants and bars. Previous productions that have been filmed in Tunbridge Wells include Hunted Series 2 (2016), The British Animal Honours (2013) and Britain’s Best Bakery (2012).

The new series will be shown on Channel 4 on Tuesday evenings at 8pm from the 29th September 2009.


For more information about filming in Kent contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about the programme: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/how-to-look-good-naked

For more information about the programme: http://www.visittunbridgewells.com/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

Morrisons Christmas Commercial (2009)

Richard Hammond in the Morrisons Commercial - dressed as Santa surrounded by crew

Richard Hammond in the Morrisons Commercial © Michael Houghton

Kent Filming Locations: The Pantiles and Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells, Cobham Village Hall   

This Christmas, keep your eyes pealed for the 2009 Morrison’s Christmas advert hitting our screens.

The seasonal advert stars Richard Hammond (Top Gear) and fellow celebrity, Denise Van Outen, grabbing their trolleys and buying their festive foods in the large supermarket chain.

The elegant streets of The Pantiles were transformed by Santa Elves, Reindeers and a ton of fake snow bringing a touch of Christmas festivity to the town in October!

The Calverley Grounds were also made over with a blanket of fake snow, a fun fair and ice rink proving Tunbridge Wells to be the perfect location for creating this winter wonderland.

This is Morrisons’ second visit to the town as they also filmed the 2007 Christmas advert in Tunbridge Wells. Their decision to return to the beautiful town once again, bought delight to the locals who gathered in their hundreds for a glimpse of the action and the guest stars.


Cobham Village Hall covered in snow

Cobham Village Hall covered in snow © Kent Film Office


Richard Hammond filming at The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells - with a shopping trolley surrounded by people

Richard Hammond filming at The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells © Michael Houghton



Children walking in the snow in Cobham

Children in Cobham © Kent Film Office


Filming at Calverley Grounds, a snowy park and ice rink with people skating

Filming at Calverley Grounds © Kent Film Office

The crew also visited Cobham Village Hall to film scenes for the advert where they covered the hall with a coat of snow.


For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For behind the scenes images:  http://brochures.moviesite.biz/view/kent/Behind_the_scenes_of_Morrisons_Christmas_Commercial_2009.html

For more information about Tunbridge Wells: http://www.visittunbridgewells.com/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

The Man Behind the Masquerade (2009)

Kit Williams holiding the Golden Hare sculpture

Kit Williams and the Golden Hare © BBC and Thane Bruckland

Documentary reuniting Kent born artist Kit Williams with the Golden Hare

Production Company: BBC
In 1979, Kit William’s children’s book ‘Masquerade’ was published. The meticulously illustrated book gave clues to the whereabouts of an object hidden by Kit. This was supposed to be a great treasure in the shape of a jewel encrusted Golden Hare.. It was hidden in a plain ceramic sculpture, also depicting a hare.

The release of the book triggered a publicity storm that saw people digging up gardens and land all over Britain in their quest to find the priceless hare. Consequently, the book was a huge success and the Golden Hare was eventually found in the summer of 1982 by Ken Thomas. The Hare was later sold at auction for £31,900.

Kit was vilified by his fellow artists who felt that his credibility had been tarnished by the hunt for the hare. The BBC Four programme looks at the effect of the book on Kit Williams and his career and includes interviews with the elusive artist, as well as reuniting him with the Golden Hare for the first time in 30 years.

Kit Williams was brought up in Kent and re-visited the county and the locations that inspired him during filming. When Kit lived in Whitstable, he wrote messages on pieces of driftwood before sending them out to sea, a scene dramatised in Littlestone, at the edge the Romney Marsh, another landscape that inspired the young artist. The beautiful church St Thomas A Beckett at Fairfield, as well as Walland Marsh feature in the programme. The Marsh Tableaux were recreated on the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve near Canterbury.

The programme will be aired on BBC Four on Wednesday 2nd December 2009 at 9pm.


For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about the programme visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p5wpv

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

Ken Russell returns to Herne Bay

Image of Ken Russell

Ken Russell returns to Herne Bay

45 years after the filming of ‘French Dressing’, Ken Russell returns to Herne Bay

Oscar winning director Ken Russell returned to Herne Bay, 45 years after he filmed his first feature film ‘French Dressing’ there.

The organisers of the annual Herne Bay Festival chose French Dressing as this years Screen on the Green Feature Film. The Guest of Honour himself introduced the film to the crowd who had turned out to see the controversial director in the flesh.

Filmed in black and white, French Dressing is a comedy set in the fictional town of Gormleigh by the Sea. Amusing Antics ensue when two residents, Jim and Henry, come up with a plan to revamp their town with a guest appearance at the town’s festival from the sexy French film star, Francois Fayol.

Surprisingly the actress accepts their invitation, but things go slightly awry when the damp British weather and endless problems cause Francois to leave before the grand opening of the local naturist beach!

In an interview with Kent TV, Ken Russell cited Herne Bay as having a ‘unique quality’, which enticed the producers to locate the filming in the town. The lovely seaside resort Herne Bay features prominently throughout the film with the opening titles showing the famous long pier, which, sadly, has long since perished.


Time Team Special Dover Castle (2009)

The Kings Bedroom - a chair next to a table with a chess set on it and a four poster bed in the background

The Kings Bedroom © Channel 4

Production Company: Picture House Television Company, The Channel 4 Television Corporation, Videotext Communications

Kent Locations: Dover Castle

Since it was built by Henry II in 1180, Dover Castle has towered over Kent’s iconic White Cliffs defending our shores. The truth, however, is, that the castle was initially built as a calling card for the newly formed British nation rather than a defensive fort. For 12th Century standards, the castle was a grand extravagance, furnished with opulent tapestries and fittings.

In 2008, English Heritage undertook the mammoth task to transform the castle’s interior to reflect Henry II’s time. Over 150 craftsmen, historians and designers came together to design an authentic 12th Century feel.  Over £2 million pounds was allocated to the project,  which went towards authentically designed furnishings as well as the creation of historical scenarios using light and sound effects.

Aerial view of Dover Castle © Channel 4

Aerial view of Dover Castle © Channel 4

Time Team were invited to observe the transformation and record the tower before it officially opened to the public. In this one off programme, Tony Robinson meets with the experts involved in the restoration, providing viewers with exclusive access to this exciting project.

Dover Castle is one of the most iconic of all the English fortresses and boasts a beautiful medieval interior, secret wartime tunnels and set overlooking the English Channel, Dover Castle is a popular film location having previously welcomed productions such as The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016),  Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and To Kill a King (2003).

Time Team Special ” Dover Castle will be shown on Channel 4 at 8pm on the 19th December 2009.


For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk

For more information about the programme visit: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/time-team-specials

For more information about Dover Castle visit: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dover-castle/

MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/moviemap-live-2/

STOLEN YOUTH Brings Success to Leon Chambers

Leon Chambers at the Canary Wharf Film Festival

Leon Chambers at the Canary Wharf Film Festival © Third Light Films

Leon Chambers has directed five short films to date through his production company Third Light Films, which is based in West Kent. Their award winning short, Stolen Youth, focuses on a destructive young lad who wrecks havoc on a small village whilst its residents are enjoying their Sunday lunch. In a twist of fate the boy discovers a startling secret that changes everything.

The cast includes the debut of Perry Spencer as the young lad and Simon Poland who was recently seen in Children of Men and United 93.

Being shot on a small budget it made sense to make it as local as possible, so the film was shot entirely on location in the village of Marden. Even the local pub landlord makes an appearance. To enhance the dark nature of the film subject, Leon and Tim Sidell the Director of Photography decided to make the film in the winter months.

The vast majority of the scenes were filmed on one long take making editing the film a challenge for Leon. However, he soon embraced the style and the final outcome has been welcomed at festivals across the world including Raindance and the California Independent Film Festival.

On Sunday 8th February “Stolen Youth” picked up another award! It won Best Foreign Film at the Canada International Film Festival in Vancouver. Which brings the film to three wins, one nomination, and twenty-six Official Selections!

The Kent Film Office would like to extend its congratulations to Leon and Third Light Films and wishes them much success in the future.



On Ice – receiving Best Film Award

On Ice – receiving Best Film Award © Beeping Bush

A gala event was held at Margate’s Theatre Royal to celebrate the entries of this year’s 2 Days Later Short Horror films competition.

The contest was open to all film makers and required them to produce a short horror film in 48 hours featuring 3 items from a list supplied by the organisers of the event, Beeping Bush.

This year 37 films were screened at the event, with seventeen entries coming from Kent and the rest from all over the UK and even as far as Switzerland.

The panel of judges included screen writer James Moran, whose writing credits include Severance, Spooks Code 9 and Dr Who, Jo Nolan, Chief Executive of Screen South and Mike Shaw, Founder and Editor-in Chief of The Void entertainment website.

12 prizes were awarded by the judges including ‘Best Short Film’, which was given to the Northfleet based film makers of On Ice and ‘Best SFX’ which was awarded to Canterbury based Nicolas Silk for his animated film Life. Additionally two prizes were presented to films voted most popular by the audience.

The co-director of the event, Mick Etherton from Beeping Bush, said ‘The filmmakers really got into the ‘spirit’ of the event. The audience experienced a very diverse and innovative programme this year. We had everything from Zombies slaying Vikings, to Hammer House homage of The Spanish Inquisition, set in the jagged rocks of Switzerland, and spoken in Latin! Physiological thriller chases and comedy killer Ukulele players, to haunting computer animations that had them all cowering in the aisles with fright and laughter!  Over 300 people came along to taste the atmosphere and take a fright!’

Sponsored by Thanet District Council, Kent County Council and Screen South, the festival has been running for 6 years and has received over 175 entries made especially for the competition. Last year’s winner of ‘Best Film’, The Soldier by Shaun Roberts-Smith has just been released cinematically at Showcase Cinemas.


Kent Excellence in Business Awards 2009 Launch

Graham Webb on a podium delivering a speech at the KEiBA launch

Graham Webb at the KEiBA launch © KEiBA Kent Messenger

The KEiBA launch at Leeds Castle

 The Kent Excellence in Business Awards 2009 was launched at an event held at Leeds Castle. The evening was hosted by Graham We

Tanya Oliver Head Judge for the Best Business from the Creative Industries Category

Tanya Oliver Head Judge for the Best Business from the Creative Industries Category © KEiBA Kent Messenger

bb the Chair of Judges and was attended by members of the business community from across Kent.

Affectionately known as the KEiBA’s, the awards are staged and produced by Kent County Council in partnership with the Kent Messenger.

They are designed to raise the profile of Kent based organisations, giving companies an excellent PR opportunity to profile themselves to Kent and the wider business community.

There are 11 categories for businesses of all kinds to enter, including ‘Employer of the Year’, ‘Customer Service and Commitment Award’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Business Community of Kent Award’.

The Kent Film Office are sponsoring the ‘Best Business from the Creative Industries’ award and are looking for organisations working within the creative industry field in Kent, this includes new media, marketing and PR, advertising and design, TV and Film Production, print design or commercial photography commissioned for business to apply.

The awards are open for all Kent based businesses to apply for and they are free of charge to enter. Finalists will be chosen and invited to a gala dinner event to be held at Leeds Castle on the 2nd July.

To enter the awards or to find out more please visit http://www.keiba.co.uk/

BBC Documentary Film Maker Launches AniMaidstone 2009

Kim Hopkins standing on a beach

Kim Hopkins © UCA

Kim Hopkins launches AniMaidst

Kim has worked with One Planet Pictures for BBC World on ‘Women in the Front Line’ and ‘Nurses on the Front Line’. Her talk about her work inspired students with her accounts of working with hard to reach and challenging communities.

The AniMaidstone festival will explore the wider use of contemporary animation as a part of documentary film making in relation to addressing social issues.  During February and March groups of students, lead by industry professionals,  will work with individuals and groups from Maidstone’s local community to produce animated documentaries which will deal with issues around local identity, their circumstances or interest, and their social environment.

The resulting films will then be screened as part of the AniMaidstone Festival which will run on the 7 April from 10.30 – 17.00 at the Maidstone Studios. Films produced by participating professionals and local film makers will be screened alongside the community films to audience made up of community members and industry professionals.

Part of the festival will be aimed at professional animators and documentary film makers with a day long seminar. Renowned animators and film makers from across Europe will deliver talks that challenge and inspire its audience. Included will be presentations and discussions on how these disciplines can address social issues, an example of which is “Persepolis” & “Waltz with Bashir” both of which have been recently nominated in the Animation category for both a Bafta and an Oscar.

The Seminar Programme

The Seminar programme will feature presentations and debate on using documentary film-making and contemporary animation to address social issues, film making in challenging environments, contemporary and documentary animation trends and funding and distribution. The presentations will be interspersed with screenings and networking opportunities.

The seminar will take place at The Maidstone Studios between 10:30 and 17:00 on the 7th April.

Speakers include :-

Kim Hopkins is a documentary film maker and director with wide experience in foreign shoots and challenging environments. Kim has worked for the

BBC World on ‘Women in the Front Line’ and ‘Nurses on the Front Line’

Professor Paul Wells is the Director of Animation at The Animation Academy. He has made a Channel Four documentary called Cartoons Kick Ass and three BBC programmes on British Animation, as well as an educational video on Special Effects for the British Film Institute.

Arnoud Rijken, is a Dutch producer at animation production house Il Luster

Alvaro Barbosa is a sound and image course coordinator at Universidade Catolica, Porto Portugal.

AniMaidstone festival screenings

Leading up to the event, Animation Arts students are producing 5 documentary films, in which they are interviewing local “hard to reach” communities. These will be mixed media films which document a sense of place and identity. Following the seminar you will have the opportunity to attend the AniMaidstone festival screenings at the Hazlett theatre where the student’s films along with films from our seminar speakers and local film makers will be shown. Following the screenings join us for celebratory drinks to close the festival.

The AniMaidstone festival’s partners include the University for the Creative Arts at Maidstone, Maidstone Housing Trust, Kent County Council ” Backing Kent Business, Maidstone Borough Council’s Arts Development Department and MediaTree.

For more information and to book your place for evening screenings at the Hazlett theatre contact Denise Harmer on dharmer@ucreative.ac.uk or ring on 01622 620116.