Murder on the Home Front is a new two part ITV drama set in London during the Blitz and is loosely based on the memoirs of Molly Lefebure, a secretary to Home Office Pathologist Keith Simpson. It documents the different crimes committed in London at the time by individuals who used the distractions and devastation of the war to conceal their actionsr.
Murder on the Home Front features many familiar faces, including Patrick Kennedy (Boardwalk Empire, Parade’s End) and Tamzin Merchant (Jane Eyre, The Tudors) as well as James Fleet (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Vicar of Dibley) and Emerald Fennell (Any Human Heart, Anna Karenina).
BBC drama Call The Midwife is set in East London during the 1950s and is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. It follows a newly qualified midwife who works alongside midwives and nuns at a nursing convent, where they face many medical problems and struggles in a very deprived area of London. After a smash hit first series earlier this year, it returns for the Christmas special and second series.
Featuring many familiar faces including Jessica Raine (The Woman in Black, Robin Hood)Pam Ferris (The Darling Buds of May, Little Dorrit), Miranda Hart (Miranda), and Vanessa Redgrave (Nip/Tuck, The Whistleblower), the opening episode of the first series attracted over 10 million viewers and is set for a second series.
A brand new ITV drama for 2013, Mr Selfridge is based on the novel ‘Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge’ by Lindy Woodhead and tells the true story of American Harry Gordon Selfridge who transformed the world of retail after opening the first ever Selfridges store in London in 1909.
The 10-part series is set in a time when women began to explore a new sense of personal freedom, something Harry Selfridge sets out to capitalize on when opening a lavish department store on London’s famous Oxford Street, attempting to ‘make shopping as thrilling as sex’.
Jeremy Piven (Entourage, RocknRolla, Old School), with a supporting cast of familiar faces, including Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street), Frances O’Connor (A.I. Artificial Intelligence) and Aisling Loftus (The Borrowers).
The TV adaption was written by award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Little Dorrit) and produced by Chrissy Skinns (Secret Diary of a Call Girl).
The production came to the Historic Dockyard Chatham to film the exteriors of Selfridges Oxford Street store. Frances O’Connor, who plays Rose Selfridge, said: “The exterior set is down at Chatham in Kent and just looks like the outside of Selfridge’s. Then if you step a couple of feet one way you’re in the water of the docks. That’s the magic of filming. It really does look amazing.”
‘The Poison Tree’ is an atmospheric and psychological TV drama based on the popular book of the same name by Erin Kelly. The two 60 minute episodes tell the tale of Karen Clarke (MyAnna Buring), who has been waiting twelve long years for the release of her partner Rex (Matthew Goode), from prison.
With her partner now free, Karen is looking forward to settling down as a normal family with their daughter, Alice (Hebe Johnson). However, Karen starts to receive phone calls and anonymous text messages and she realises that her family are being watched. Despite her best efforts to keep their past a secret, someone knows the truth about what she and Rex did twelve years ago. How far will Karen go to protect her family?
‘The Poison Tree’ was written by Emilia di Girolamo, lead writer/Co-producer of Law & Order UK seasons 5 and 6 and directed by Marek Losey who previously made his debut feature film ‘The Hide’, which was also filmed in Kent.
Filming took place on the Dungeness Estate, which has a rich and diversified history with film and television. The BBC filmed episodes of Dr Whoduring the 1970’s and the 1998 film ‘I Want You’staring Rachel Weisz and Alessandro Nivola, which was set in and around Dungeness.
In an interview with Broadcast magazine in December 2012, writer of the TV adaption Emilia di Girolamo said: “First we decided to change the setting. Relocating the story to Dungeness gave us an immensely powerful and evocative landscape to work with. Abandoning the traditional dimly lit world of the thriller for the bleached out, desert-like exteriors, the power station. Brooding in the distance, gave a real sense of there being nowhere to hide for Karen, upping the dramatic tension.”
The Poison Tree was shown in December 2012 on ITV 1 and is now available to buy on DVD.
Sam Hunter is a spy who works for an elite private intelligence firm and during her latest mission escapes an attempted assassination. Realising someone has set her up and not knowing who to trust, Sam tries to find out who wants her dead.
This original, eight-part BBC spy drama is from the makers of Spooks and features Melissa George (Grey’s Anatomy) as Sam Hunter. She is supported by a cast of familiar faces including Adam Raynor (Mistresses) who plays Sam’s colleague and romantic interest, Stephen Dillane (Game Of Thrones), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost), Lex Shrapnel (Captain America: The First Avenger), and Morven Christie (Twenty Twelve).
In March this year, the Hunted crew came to Scotney Castle film various stunt and fight scenes in both the country house and oasts.Scotney Castle is a National Trust property which boasts a spectacular Victorian country mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens and woodland, as well as a fairytale inspired castle ruin complete with a moat set in the beautiful Tunbridge Wells countryside.
Parade’s End is based on Ford Madox Ford’s novels written between 1924 and 1928, with the screenplay adapted by renowned English playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard. The costume drama features a stellar cast and is set in the midst of the First World War with a love triangle threatening to question everything lead character Christopher Tietjens stands for.
Shown in five parts, at the centre is English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Warhorse, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) who enters a turbulent relationship with socialite Sylvia played by Rebecca Hall(Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town, The Awakening). After Sylvia falls pregnant, Christopher decides to follow his morals and marry her, even though he is uncertain if the child is his.
The couple have a rocky relationship but Christopher vows to stay faithful to his wife, however when he meets strong willed suffragette Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens – X-Men Origins: Wolverine) he finds himself falling in love with her. With his morals questioned, will he follow his heart, or stay with his wife?
Dorton House is a school in Sevenoaks run by The Royal London Institute for the Blind and caters for pupils with visual impairments. The Grade-II listed building saw its dining room transformed into a gentleman’s club, with the library serving as the Cabinet War Office and the Wedgewood Room as the bedroom of Valentine Wannop.
Dungeness and St Mary’s Bay also briefly feature in the programme, in scenes with a girl cycling past. Dungeness is a unique expanse of shingle beach with cottages and lighthouses and is a popular filming location having previously welcomed Doctor Who, Countrywise Kitchen and photo shoots for Vogue and Harrods Magazine. St Mary’s Bay is a delightful coastal village between Dymchurch and south to Littlestone and this is its big screen debut.
Parade’s End was shown from Friday 24th August 2012 at 21:00 on BBC Two and is now available to buy on DVD.
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) produced The Hollow Crown, four film adaptations of Shakespeare’s best-loved history plays; Richard II, Henry IV (Part I & 2) and Henry V screening on BBC this summer as part of the Shakespeare Unlocked Season.
The Hollow Crown series star many familiar faces including Ben Whishaw(Criminal Justice) as Richard II, James Purefoy (Solomon Kane) as Thomas Mowbray, Rory Kinnear(Quantum of Solace) as Henry Bolingbroke and Tom Hiddleston(Thor, Warhorse) as Henry V.
Henry V is directed by Thea Sharrock (Me Before You, Call the Midwife) and along Tom Hiddleston stars Geraldine Chaplin (The Impossible, Talk to Her), Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hot Fuzz), Richard Griffiths (Sleepy Hollow, Harry Potter series) and John Hurt(V for Vendetta, Alien).
Featuring as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare season for the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, Henry V is the final film of the series and charts Henry V campaign against France and their leader Herald Montjoy.
Kent features strongly in Henry V: No Surrender, as the Battle of Agincourt was staged in the grounds of Squerryes Court, where Henry V leads his soldiers to battle. The crew also visited Penshurst Place, with the exterior doubling for The Palace of Westminster and the interior of the Baron’s Hall as the French Palace where Herald Montjoy resided.
It is not the first time Squerryes Court has been on the screen, the location was used for Emma Wooshouse’s home in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s famous novel Emma (2009), The Boat that Rocked(2009) and Foyle’s War – The German Woman(2002). The estate is popular with productions as it boasts a grand 17th Century manor house with 20 acres of grounds.
True Love has many familiar faces including David Tenant (Doctor Who) Billie Piper (Secret Diary of a Call Girl), Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous), Vicky McClure (This is England), Lacey Turner (Eastenders), Ashley Walters (Inside Men), Jamie Winstone (Kidulthood), and David Morrissey (The Other Boleyn Girl).
The series explores love in the modern day and the many different dilemmas and situations along the way. Each story has links with the previous, either through connecting story lines or character connections and all have plenty of drama, heartbreak passion and some surprising outcomes.
The five stories that take place during the week-long serial include a married man whose life is turned upside down due to the reappearance of his first love, a school teacher who is drawn to a female pupil, a married woman who takes revenge on her cheating husband by starting an affair, a father unable to connect with his baby and a divorcee on a desperate search for new love.
In 2011, Kent welcomed the crew and stars of True Love. The production based it self inMargate, the director Savage’s home town, and used many Thanet locations including Margate Beach and promenade,Margate High Street, train station, various hotels and bars and even Thanet District Council Offices. They also used the Turner Contemporary, as well as nearby Westgate-On-Sea, Cliftonville, Pegwell Bay, Botany BayandBroadstairs.
Thanet has an astonishing 9 Blue Flag beaches and is a very popular filming location, due to its beautiful bustling seaside towns. It previously welcomed many TV and film productions, including Hancock and Joan (2008), Last Orders (2002) and a McDonald’s Happy Meal Commercial.
It is also home to the Turner Contemporary art gallery, adjacent to Margate harbour, which was built to contribute to the regeneration of the town and is fast becoming a highlight of the British visual arts scene. It also hosted the first public screening of the opening episode of True Love on 29th March 2012.
True Love will air every night on BBC One at 22.25pm from Sunday 17th – Thursday 21st June 2012.
A new two part drama from the BBC aims to solve The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Dickens’ final and incomplete novel has been subject to many adaptations over the years, with various endings that guessed at what the great author intended. In the style of a psychological thriller penned by Gwyneth Hughes (Five Days, Miss Austen Regrets), this latest BBC adaptation focusses on choirmaster John Jasper’s (Matthew Rhys-Brothers and Sisters) obsession with his student, 17 year old Rosa Bud (Tamzin Merchant-Jane Eyre).
Rather than resolve his frustrated ambition and leave the stifling environment of his home city, Cloisterham, Jasper resorts to taking opium. As the drug slowly fractures his mind, he develops a murderous hatred for his nephew, Rosa’s love interest, Edwin Drood (Freddie Fox- Worried about the Boy).
A darker and more gripping adaptation than previously seen, the series is part of the BBC’s Dickens celebrations of the bicentenary of his birth in 2012. Another BBC project is the new adaptation of Great Expectations.
Earlier in 2011, the production crew and cast arrived in Rochester to film scenes for the drama. Eastgate House, an Elizabethan mansion on Rochester High Street features in both the unfinished novel and the BBC adaptation. Formerly The Dickens Centre when it housed a Dickensian exhibition, it is now undergoing a £5M development programme which includes the restoration of the writer’s Swiss Chalet, a gift from lifelong friend John Forster for Dickens’ home at Gad’s Hill Place in Higham, where he worked also on his last and unfinished novel.
The misty marsh scenes at Riverside Country Park, which is in Medway and is a beautiful country park set over 100 hectares. There are many various habitats within the park, including mudflats, salt marsh, ponds and grassland, which provide a haven for wildlife.
Eastgate House was a the model for Westgate House in Pickwick Papers (1836) as well as the nuns’ house “a seminary for young ladies” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).
The site of Rochester Cathedral was also used in the production. Featuring in both the novel and the 1993 adaptation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood starring Robert Powell, the location has strong links to Dickens. A memorial plaque can be found inside the Cathedral commemorating Dickens and a annual memorial service is held there during the Dickens Festival.
As the author’s spiritual home and the location for many of his stories, Rochester was the ideal place to film the drama. Some of his most famous characters lived in or visited the city, from Mr Micawber in David Copperfield, to Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, when Dickens found inspiration for “Satis House” at Restoration House in Rochester.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood was shown on Tuesday 10 January 2012 9.00-10.00pm on BBC TWO and is now available to buy on DVD.
This three part mini-series based on Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations has been adapted by writer, Sarah Phelps (Oliver Twist, Dickensian). The story centers on orphan Pip (Douglas Booth) and his transformation to becoming a gentlemen when a mysterious benefactor leaves him a large sum of money.
This BBC production was directed by Brian Kirk(Luther, Game of Thrones) and stars Douglas Booth (Noah, Jupiter Ascending), Ray Winstone (The Departed, Snow White and the Huntsman), Gillian Anderson (The X Files, Hannibal) and David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot, The Bank Job).
This adaption forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Dickens as we move into 2012 and the bicentenary of his birth. The most recent version of the novel to have been shot by the BBC was in 1999 and starred Ioan Gruffudd as Pip and Charlottte Rampling as Miss Havisham. This version aims to capture the romance whilst giving it a thrilling edge.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it tells of young orphan Phillip Pirrip (Pip) who lives with his sister and her husband, the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery. Local spinster Miss Havisham requests his company at her home where she entertains herself by encouraging her adopted daughter Estella to be cruel to the young boy. As he grows up, Pip’s circumstances change after the visit from Mr Jaggers who brings news that an unknown benefactor has left a substantial fortune on the condition that the boy is educated as a gentleman. Consequently, Pip travels to London where he lodges with Herbert Pocket, a boy from his youth and it is there that Pip finally learns the truth about his benefactor.
The filming for this adaption took place near Fairfield, at the isolated St Thomas Becket Church, which is situated on Romney Marsh. This iconic location was the ideal setting for the opening scenes, where Pip visits his parent’s graves and instantly the theme is set in a melancholy manner. Dickens found inspiration for this scene from another Kentish Church, St James’ at Cooling, on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula.
An interesting piece of trivia for Dickens fans of Dickens is the fact that the role of Herbert Pocket, Pip’s friend in London, is played by none other than Charles Dickens’s great, great, great grandson Harry Lloyd, who also featured in a remake of David Copperfield starring a young Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Filming took place near Fairfield, at the isolated St Thomas A Becket Church. Situated on Romney Marsh, it was the perfect setting for the bleak opening scenes of the novel where Pip visits the graves of his parents. Another Kentish church, St James’ at Cooling on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula , inspired Dickens to write this dramatic scene which also introduces Pip’s nemesis, prisoner Magwitch.