The Great Escaper (2023)

Michael Caine as Bernard Jordan stands on a boat, saluting the camera. On the deck above him is the ships crew, also saluting. Caine wears a navy blazer with war medals, green cardigan, blue shirt and green striped tie.

Michael Caine in The Great Escaper (2023) © Pathe

Director: Oliver Parker
Writer:
William Ivory
Starring:
Michael Caine, Glenda Jackson
Production Company:
Ecosse Films, BBC Films, Filmgate Films, Ingenious, Pathe UK
Kent Locations Used:
Port of Dover, Abbot’s Cliff

Inspired by true events, The Great Escaper (2023) chronicles the story of WWII veteran Bernard Jordan, who masterminded a ‘great escape’ from his care home in order to attend the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings in France.

Written by BAFTA-nominee William Ivory (Made in Dagenham, Truckers) and directed by BAFTA-nominee Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn (2011), St. Trinian’s), the film stars Michael Caine (Children of Men (2006), King of Thieves (2018)) as Bernard Jordan and Glenda Jackson (Elizabeth R (1971), Women in Love) as his wife Irene in her last role.

Scenes were filmed at the Port of Dover cruise terminal, where Bernard boards a ferry to France. Filming also took place on the P&O Ferry ‘Spirit of Dover’. Abbot’s Cliff also features briefly in the film; in an early scene as Bernard is driving to the Port and later in a flashback of young Irene (Laura Marcus) watching fighter jets fly over.

The Port of Dover is the busiest passenger port in Europe and includes a freight terminal, two cruise terminals, a yachting marina, harbour wall, lighthouses and seafront promenade. Recent productions to have filmed there include After Love (2021), Season 1 of The Rook (2019), and Next of Kin (2018).

Situated between Folkestone and Dover, Abbot’s Cliff comprises of a WWII sound mirror and isolated single-track lane on top of white cliffs. Back to Life (2019-2021), King Lear (2018) and King of Thieves (2018) also filmed here.

The Great Escaper (2023) was released in UK cinemas on Friday 6th October 2023.

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


Elizabeth R (1971)

Elizabeth R in costume and make up looking away from the camera

Elizabeth R © BBC

Starring: Glenda Jackson, Ronald Hines, Stephen Murray, Rachel Kempson, Robert Hardy, John Shrapnel
Production Company: BBC, Masterpiece
Kent Locations Used: Penshurst Place, Chiddingstone, St. John The Baptist Church, Penshurst

Elizabeth R (1971) is a six part BBC drama is about the life and tumultuous reign of Elizabeth I, including her rise to the throne, quest for a suitor and the challenges she faces with the threat of the Spanish Armada.

Starring in the lead role of Queen Elizabeth is Glenda Jackson (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Women in Love) supported by Ronald Hines (Young Winston, Not in Front of the Children), Stephen Murray (The Nun’s Story, The Magnet), Rachel Kempson (Out of Africa, Tom Jones), Robert Hardy (Sense and Sensibility, Little Dorrit) and John Shrapnel (Gladiator, Troy).

The series won five Emmy Awards, including Drama Series, New Series, Achievement in Costume Design and Glenda Jackson scooped the Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role prize, as well as Outstanding Single Performance for the episode “The Shadow In The Sun”.

The production filmed at Penshurst Place which doubled as the Queen’s castle grounds and featured in a variety of

Elizabeth R at Penshurst Place walking towards the stone building, two other women in costume follow behind

Screenshot of Elizabeth R ladies walking through the grounds of Penshurst Place

scenes in episode one and two. St. John The Baptist church in Penshurst also featured in episode 2 for the scenes where Lord Robert Dudley  waits at the church for Queen Elizabeth.

Nearby Chiddingstone village also features in the first two episodes of the series, for the scenes where Queen Elizabeth celebrates her rise to the throne.

Penshurst Place is set in 2,500 acres and boasts limestone exteriors as well as the 14th century house with medieval interiors, beautiful gardens and parkland. Penshurst Place is a popular film location, having been used for productions such as The Hollow Crown – Henry V (2012), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) and The Princess Bride (1987).

Chiddingstone is a one-street Tudor village with its properties boasting half-timbered sides, gables and stone-hung red-tiled roofs. The village is owned by the National Trust to ensure its preservation and has previously been used for productions such as A Room With A View (1986).

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

Elizabeth R (1971) was first broadcast on BBC2 from Wednesday 17th February to Wednesday 24th March 1971 and is now available to buy on DVD.

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