Henry VIII (1979)

image of a man and women dressed in tudor costumes stood next to each other in front of a pillar

Henry VIII screenshot © BBC

Director: Kevin Billington

Writer: William Shakespeare (play),

Stars: John Stride, Timothy West, Ronald Pickup, Claire Bloom, Julian Glover, Jeremy Kemp, Peter Vaughan

Henry VIII dvd cover- images of two tutor men on a black background. Henry VIII written in white underneath

Henry VIII dvd cover © BBC

Production Company: BBC, Time-Life Television Productions

Kent Locations Used: Hever Castle, Leeds Castle, Penshurst Place

Henry VIII is a BBC television film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s original play which provides a dramatized account of the events surrounding the divorce of Henry VIII from his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.

Originally broadcast in February 1979; the film was produced as part of BBC Shakespeare (1978-85), a series of Shakespeare plays adapted for television.

The film was directed by Kevin Billington (Outside Edge, The Good Soldier) with John Stride (Macbeth, The Omen) playing Henry VIII alongside Timothy West (Crime and Punishment, Eastenders), Ronald Pickup (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Chronicles of Narnia), Claire Bloom (The King’s Speech, Clash of the Titans), Julian Glover (For Your Eyes Only, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Jeremy Kemp (Z-Cars, Space: 1999) and Peter Vaughan (Porridge, Game of Thrones).

The entire film was shot on location at Hever Castle, Leeds Castle and Penshurst Place, which all have an association with the historical figures within the play.

Leeds Castle doubles as Henry VIII’s palace. Both interiors and exteriors are used to create a sense of real grandeur.

Penshurst Place was used for a number of scenes, including Katherine of Aragon’s residence, a council chamber at Westminster. Baron’s Hall was used as a hall in Blackfriars when it announced that Henry and Katherine shall split. One of the halls is used to double as a room in York Place where Cardinal Wolsey holds a ball; this is where Henry VIII and Anne Bullen first meet.

The timber-clad section of Hever Castle is used to double as streets in Westminster where two gentlemen meet to discuss the royal divorce.

Leeds Castle is set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland and formal gardens and has been used in various productions, including the ITV version of Henry VIII (2003), Lady Jane (1987) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) .

Hever Castle is a thirteenth century castle which was once home to Anne Boleyn; it boasts formal Italian gardens and an ornamental lake. This location has also been used in various historical dramas, including Walking through History (2013), Inkheart (2008) and Anne of The Thousand Days (1969).

Penshurst Place is a Medieval and Tudor Fortified Manor set in gorgeous parkland. It is a film friendly location, having been used in notable productions such as Wolf Hall (2015), The Great Fire (2014) and Merlin (2008).

Henry VIII also features in the Kent Film Office Tudor(ish) Trail which celebrates Kent’s Tudor history and film connections.

This film was originally broadcasted on 25th February 1979, and is available to purchase on DVD.

 

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map. 


Anne of The Thousand Days (1969)

Anne standing by the fountain at Penshurst Place, Penshurst place can be seen in the background

Anne by the fountain at Penshurst Place © Universal Pictures

Oscar winning epic film depicting the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII.

Director: Charles Jarrott

Writers:  Maxwell Anderson (Play), Bridget Boland (Screenplay writer), John Hale (Screenplay writer), Richard Sokolove (adaptation)

Starring: Richard Burton, Geneviève Bujold, Anthony Quayle, John Colicos, Irene Papas

Production Company: Hal Wallis Productions

Kent Filming Locations:  Hever CastlePenshurst Place

Geneviève Bujold as Anne walking down steps on a garden path, her hand is raised

Geneviève Bujold as Anne © Universal Pictures

Based on the Broadway play by Maxwell Anderson, Anne of the Thousand Days is an account of the rise and fall of the beautiful and ambitious Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold), second wife of the tyrannical Henry VIII (Richard Burton).

The film was nominated for 10 Oscars in 1970, including best picture and won best costume design.  It also won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress and Best Director.

Hever Castle was an obvious choice for Anne Boleyn’s home, as it was her real-life home. It was used for the scenes where King Henry VIII (Richard Burton) visits the Boleyn household to pursue Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold).

The stunning Kentish scenery of both Hever Castle and Penshurst Place bought this Oscar winning tale to life with Hever Castle being an obvious choice to double as Anne Boleyn’s home, as it was her real-life home and was used for the scenes where King Henry VIII (Richard Burton) visits the Boleyn household to pursue Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold). Hever Castle is now a visitor attraction and includes many 16th century Tudor portraits, furniture and tapestries. The castle also displays two prayer books, signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn.  The castle has been used for other film projects such as Inkheart, (2008) The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) and Lady Jane (1987).

Exteriors of Penshurst Place were used to double as the King’s court and the stunning formal Tudor gardens were used for the scenes where King Henry VIII (Richard Burton) is shooting targets when Anne Boleyn (Genevieve Bujold) joins him as well as  where she announces her pregnancy. The Gardens, arranged into “garden rooms” each with a different style and character are also open to visitors between March and November. Penshurst Place has been seen on screen in projects such as The Hollow Crown – Henry V (2012) and  Merlin (2008).

Anne of The Thousand Days also features in the Kent Film Office Tudor(ish) Trail which celebrates Kent’s Tudor history and film connections.

Anne of the Thousand Days was released in 1969 and is now available to buy on DVD.

For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.