Dickens Secret Lover (2008)

(L-R) David Haig as Dickens looking into the distance and Amy Shiels as Nelly looking at him

David Haig as Dickens and Amy Shiels as Nelly © Channel 4

Director: Sarah Aspinall

Writer: Jim Barton

Production Company:  Flame Television Production Ltd.

Kent Filming Locations: Charles Dickens Chalet at Eastgate House Rochester and Theatre Royal Margate.

Dickens’ Secret Lover is screening on Channel 4 as part of their Victorian Passions season, examining Charles Dickens’ private life. The programme reveals the secret life of the literary giant,  in which he abandons his wife for a long lasting affair with a very young actress.

Charles Dance presenting Dickens

Charles Dance presenting Dickens

The programme is presented by Charles Dance, an actor who was seen most recently in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House as the callous Tulkinghorn. Dance takes on the role of detective in this drama-documentary, questioning five Dickens’ experts on how the affair affected his writing and his public character of a virtuous Victorian. Key scenes are dramatised to give the viewer a more in depth understanding of Dickens (played by David Haig) and his secret life with actress Nelly, played by Amy Shiels.

Charles Dickens’ is arguably Kent’s most famous author, having lived both at Gad’s Hill in Higham and at Broadstairs in Bleak House, Kent is understandably rich in historical links to the author. Many of his novels were penned here and many of the locations used in his novels echo real life locations in Kent. For example Westgate House in the Pickwick Papers is widely reported to be based on Eastgate House in Rochester.

The programme filmed on location both at Rochester in Charles Dickens’ Chalet at Eastgate House in Rochester and the  Theatre Royal in Margate.

The Swiss Chalet, a present from a French actor to Dickens, was originally constructed in the grounds of his home at Gad’s Hill before moving to Cobham Hall in Gravesham, where the recent BBC series Bleak House was filmed. Nowadays, the Chalet can be seen in the garden at Eastgate house in Rochester.

Exterior shot of Eastgate House - red brick building with windows

Eastgate House © Medway Council

The Theatre Royal in Margate was chosen because  the crew wanted to visit locations that Dickens was passionate about. A performer himself, he frequently read his works to the public throughout the UK, and of course in Kent.

Eastgate House, situated in Rochester was formerly a large private town house. Built by Sir Peter Buck; it has now been restored and is owned by Medway Council. Productions such as Jekyll and Hyde (2015),  BBC’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) and Great Expectations (1989) have previously filmed in the Rochester area.

The Theatre Royal is situated in the heart of Margate which is a vibrant seaside resort, with complementary historic and modern architecture. Margate has welcomed other productions including The Apprentice (2015), Last Orders (2002) and Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys’ Outing (1989).

In 2012 England will celebrating the bicentenary of his birth.

Dickens’ Secret Lover will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on the 16th June 2008.

Links

For more information about the programme visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2165719/

For more information about Eastgate House and Charles Dickens Chalet in Rochester visit http://www.medway.gov.uk/leisurecultureandsport/localhistoryandarchives/museums/eastgatehouse.aspx

For more information about the Theatre Royal visit  http://www.theatreroyalmargate.co.uk/

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

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


Last Orders (2002)

Last Orders Movie Poster © Metrodome Distribution Ltd.

Last Orders Movie Poster © Metrodome Distribution Ltd.

Director: Fred Schepisi

Writer: Graham Swift (Novel) and Fred Schepisi

Starring: Michael Caine, Helen Mirren, Ray Winston, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Tom Courtenay

Production Company: Future Films, MBP, Scala Productions, Winchester Films 

Kent Locations: Rochester, the Historic War Memorial in Chatham, The Mount – Old Wives Lees near Chilham, Canterbury Cathedral, Margate

Last Orders is based on the novel of the same name by Graham Swift, and tells the story of how one man’s death affects the lives of those close to him as his best friends make a journey to pursue his final wish to have his ashes scattered at sea.

Throughout the journey, Jack’s companions share their own individual memories of him and how he made an impact on their lives. Flashbacks are used throughout the film stretching through six decades telling the story of the group of London pals as they make their heart felt journey to say goodbye to their friend.

Directed by Fred Schepisi (Six Degrees of Separation, A Cry in the Dark) and starring a host of acting talent including Michael Caine (The Italian Job, Batman Begins), Ray Winston (The Departed, The Sweeney), Bob Hoskins (Made in Dagenham, Ruby Blue), David Hemmings (The Rainbow Jacket, Gangs of New York), Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago, The Golden Compass) and Helen Mirren (Calendar Girls, The Queen).

Rochester was used as a stop off during the friend’s journey and you can see them drive over Rochester Bridge and also walk down the high street. Rochester is a historic City that boasts an impressive cathedral and castle and has many links with Charles Dickens. Previous productions to have filmed in the area include Long Lost Family (2012), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012)and Veer (2009).

The Historic War Memorial in Chatham features in film for the scenes where the men stop off and reminisce about their time at war. Nearby, The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a popular location having been used for productions such as Dom Hemingway (2013) Call The Midwife (2012-2013) and Children of Men (2006).

The Mount in Old Wives Lees was also one of the stop offs on the groups journey and is used for the flashback scenes of how Jack met his wife Amy. Neighboring village to Chilham, has a remarkable fifteenth century square of black and white timbered buildings and has been used for a variety of filming projects including Top Gear (2011), Channel 4 comedy Chickens (2011)and Miss Marple – The Moving Finger (2005).

Canterbury Cathedral was used within the film as the characters make a stop to the grounds and look around the Cathedral. Canterbury is a vibrant City with parks and open spaces, shopping areas and neighbouring quaint, traditional towns. Previous productions that have shot in Canterbury include Goodbye To Canterbury (2013), Songs of Praise (2011) and A Canterbury Tale (1944).

Margate features in the final scenes of the film where the men scatter Jack’s ashes from the harbor arm. Margate is a delightful seaside town with a sandy beach, harbour, arcades, and period housing. The Old Town has lots to offer including galleries, quirky shops and trendy cafes. Margate is a popular location having previously welcomed productions such as Mary Queen of the High Street (2013), BBC One’s improvised drama True Love (2012), The Apprentice (2009).

Last Orders was released in UK cinemas in January 2002 and is now available to buy on DVD.

Links:

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

For more information about the film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0253200/

For more information about Canterbury: http://www.canterbury.co.uk/

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

For more information about Chatham and Rochester: http://www.visitmedway.org/

For more information about Margate: http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/destinations/margate/10537?microSiteId=210

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


The Bill (2000)

The Bill Poster

The Bill Poster © ITV

Creator: Geoff McQueen

Starring: Graham Cole, Trudie Goodwin, Jeff Stewart, Russell Boulter, Tony O’Callaghan, Peter Ellis, Lisa Geoghan, Mark Wingett

Production Company: Thames Television

Kent Locations: Allhallows, Rochester

The Bill is an ITV police drama about the trials and tribulations faced by the officers working at Sun Hill Police Station in the fictional East London area of Canley.

Created by Geoff McQueen (Big Deal, Stay Lucky, Bureau Kruislaan), The Bill ran from 1984 – 2010 and won a number of awards including a BAFTA.

Throughout the years, the series starred Graham Cole (Doctor Who, Sooty), Trudie Goodwin (Emmerdale, Heartbeat), Jeff Stewart (Crossroads, The Mr. Men Show), Russell Boulter (Casualty, Isaac), Tony O’Callaghan (EastEnders, The Coven), Peter Ellis (Emmerdale, Acorn Antiques), Lisa Geoghan (Desmond’s, Honeymoon) and Mark Wingett (Snow White and the Huntsman, Far from the Madding Crowd).

The Bill Chardonnay

The Bill Chardonnay © Mike & Jacky Davies

The production visited Kent in 2000, to film a high speed car chase on Ratcliffe Highway in Allhallows Marshes and local residents were presented with their very own bottle of ‘The Bill Chardonnay’ as a thank you from the team.

Allhallows is a village set on the Hoo Peninsula in Medway with a church, creek, farmland and caravan park. The Medway area has featured on screen in productions including Jekyll and Hyde (2015), Great British Railway Journeys (2014) and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011).

The Bill aired on ITV between 1984 and 2010.

Links:

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

For more information about the programme: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084987/

For more information about Medway: http://www.visitmedway.org/

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

 

 


The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1993)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood movieposter 1993

The Mystery of Edwin Drood movieposter 1993 © A&E Home Video

Directed By: Timothy Forder

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) and Timothy Forder (Adaptation)

Starring:  Robert Powell, Gareth Arnold, Gemma Craven & Michelle Evans.

Production Company: First Standard Media

Kent Locations Used: Rochester Cathedral, Rochester

Famed as Dickens’ unfinished novel, the acclaimed author died in 1870 leaving the ending of the book a mystery forever.  Although both story and film are named for Edwin Drood, the narrative focuses on Drood’s uncle, choirmaster John Jasper, who is in love with his pupil Rosa Bud. Miss Bud is Edwin Drood’s fiancé, but she has also caught the eye of the hot tempered Neville Landless who arrives with his sister Helena. Landless and Drood take an instant dislike to one another just before Drood disappears under mysterious circumstances.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood was scheduled to be published in twelve monthly instalments, each costing one shilling. However Dickens’ died after the publication of the sixth instalment, leaving the story approximately half complete.

Much of the film is set in the fictional city of “Cloisterham”. Dickens was inspired by Rochester when writing many of his novels, including The Mystery of Edwin Drood, so it was only fitting for Director Timothy Forder to shoot the film in the great city itself.

Familiar Rochester sites will include Rochester Cathedral which doubled as Cloisterham Cathedral as well as Rochester Castle, which can be seen in the background of many shots. A row of Edwardian houses near the Cathedral called Minor Canon Row also appears in the film as Cloisterham streets. Famous actress Dame Sybil Thorndike lived at number 2 Minor Canon Row after growing up in Rochester City. Her final TV appearance was 6 years before her death in The Great Inimitable Mr Dickens, a story of the life of the author starring Anthony Hopkins.

Rochester Cathedral is of special significance regarding Charles Dickens. The author expressed a wish to be buried opposite the west front in the Castle moat which then formed part of the graveyard of St Nicholas Church. The spot is marked with a commemorative plaque and Dickens’s ghost is said to haunt the area. Inside the Cathedral, to the right of the Presbytery, by the magnificent Chapter room door, is another brass plaque memorial to Dickens. At 3pm on the last Sunday of the Summer during the Dickens festival held in early June each year, a garland of scarlet geraniums (his favourite flowers) are laid here during a service commemorating his life.

The city of Rochester is the home to many locations that feature in the classic Dickens novels. Chertsey’s Gate on Rochester High Street was the inspiration for Mr Jasper’s home in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Topes Restaurant for the house of Mr Tope, the verger in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, where the character of Mr Datchery also stayed when visiting “Cloisterham”.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood also features in the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail which lauched in 2012: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/dickens-movie-trail/ 

The film was released in cinemas in 1993 and is now available to buy on DVD.

Links

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

For more information about the Kent Film Office Dickens Trail: http://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/dickens-movie-trail/

For more information about the City of Rochester: http://www.visitmedway.org/destinations/rochester

For more information about Rochester Cathedral: http://www.rochestercathedral.org/

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


Great Expectations (1989)

 

Great Expectations Movieposter 1989

Great Expectations Movieposter 1989 © Buena Vista Television

Director: Kevin Connor

Writers: Charles Dickens (Novel)

Starring: Kim Thompson, Jean Simmons, Anthony Calf & Anthony Hopkins

Production Company: Harlech Television (HTV), Primetime Television Ltd., Tesauro Television, Walt Disney Television

Kent Locations Used: Harty Church, Rochester, Chatham, Upnor village

With a future as a blacksmith before him, Pip is invited to the home of the lonely spinster, Miss Havisham, abandoned on the day of her wedding. Encouraging her adopted daughter Estella to break the young boy’s heart, Pip is sent there for her own entertainment. The young boy’s fortunes change when an unknown and generous person pays for Pip to travel to London and begin a new life as a gentleman.

Starring Kim Thompson (Emmerdale Farm, 1408) as Estella, Jean Simmons (Spartacus) as the haunting Miss Havisham, Anthony Calf (New Tricks) as Pip and Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Thor) as Abel Magwitch, this Disney adaptation of the Dickens classic features many Kent locations.

Filming took place at Harty Church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent: young Orphan Phillip (Pip) Pirrup, on a visit to the graves of his parents, meets the sinister escaped convict Abel Magwitch.  The church has part-Norman origins and is visited by both tourists and historians from around the world.

The crew also came to Upnor village to film, which provides the home of Herbert Pockets’ fiancée Clara’s house. Locals to the area will notice the Upnor Lighthouse as Pip docks in the village.

Another Kentish church, St James’ church in Cooling, which is situated on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula, inspired Dickens so much, he used the location for the dramatic scene where Pip meets prisoner Magwitch.

Links

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

For more information about Harty Church: http://www.hartychurch.org.uk/index2.html

For more information about Medway: http://www.visitmedway.org/

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