The Amazing Mr Blunden (2021)

Simon Callow, as Mr Blunden, stands in the centre of the frame. Either side of him, peering over some large decorative ornaments, are two children Jamie, played by Jason Rennie, on the left, and Lucy, played by Tsion Habte, on the right. They are inside of a historic looking room with dark orange walls. On either side are windows covered by lace net curtains, and large drawn open grey curtains. Jamie has short curly black hair and wears a black unzipped hoodie with a red t-shirt. Only Lucy’s head is visible, and she has long curly black hair. Mr Blunden has receding white hair and a full grey beard. He wears a long brown woollen coat, with a brown waistcoat underneath and a large red woollen scarf wrapped around his neck. All three characters look nervously off-screen.

The Amazing Mr Blunden © Sky

Writer: Mark Gatiss
Director: Mark Gatiss
Starring: Simon Callow, Tamsin Greig, Mark Gatiss, Tsion Habte, Jason Rennie, India Fowler, Xavier Wilkins
Production Company: Adorable Media
Kent Locations Used: Finchcocks

Based on the 1972 family film of the same name, The Amazing Mr Blunden (2021) tells the story of modern teenagers Lucy and Jamie, whose encounter with a mysterious old man called Mr Blunden leads to them becoming caretakers of an old country home. They soon discover that the home is haunted by the spirits of two young children, Sara and Georgie, and with the help of Mr Blunden, the two teens must travel back in time to save the children’s lives.

Written and directed by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Doctor Who), The Amazing Mr Blunden stars renowned actor Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral, A Room with a View (1985)) as Mr. Blunden, Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Friday Night Dinner) as Mrs. Wickens and Mark Gatiss as Mr. Wickens, as well as newcomers Tsion Habte (Liar (2017-2020), Sex Education (2021)) as Lucy, Jason Rennie as Jamie, India Fowler (Safe) as Sara and Xavier Wilkins as Georgie.

The production team visited Kent for their shoot, using Finchcocks in Goudhurst as Langley Park, the house the two teenagers are tasked with looking after. Built in 1725, Finchcocks is a fine early Georgian Manor set in 13 acres of parkland and gardens, with extensive views over the Kentish landscape. It is noted for its brickwork, with a dramatic baroque front elevation. For many years, the Manor played host to a Musical Museum, which housed around 115 period keyboard instruments, many of which have featured in TV and film themselves. Now operating as both a family home and a piano workshop retreat, Finchcocks has previously been used as the setting for a Pride and Prejudice sketch in the BBC show French and Saunders (1996).

The Amazing Mr Blunden aired on Sky and NowTV on Friday 24th December 2021.

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

Adventure in the Hopfields (1954)

Mandy Miller as Jenny Quin stands looking up at a large wooden windmill in the middle of a field. Next to her is a sign reading ‘Danger. Keep off. This structure is unsafe’.

Mandy Miller as Jenny Quin in Adventure in the Hopfields (1954) © Roger Proudlock Productions

Director: John Guillermin
Writer: John Cresswell, Nora Lavin, Molly Thorp
Starring: Mandy Miller, Harold Lang, Mona Washbourne, Melvyn Hayes, Léon Garcia
Production Company: Roger Proudlock Productions
Kent Locations Used: Goudhurst – Triggs Farm, Nutley Windmill, Goudhurst Railway Station

Based on the 1952 novel ‘The Hop Dog’, Adventure in the Hopfields (1954) is a British children’s film about a young girl called Jenny Quin who accidently breaks her mother’s favourite ornament and, in order to raise money to replace it, runs away to the country to go hop-picking.

Directed by John Guillermin (The Towering Inferno, Death on the Nile) and adapted for the screen by John Cresswell (Yield to the Night, Port Afrique), Adventure in the Hopfields stars Mandy Miller (Compact, Child in the House) as Jenny Quin, Harold Lang (Gary Halliday, The Quatermass Xperiment) as Sam Hines, Mona Washbourne (My Fair Lady, Stevie) as Mrs McBain, Melvyn Hayes (The Dreamstone, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum) as Ned Reilly in one of his earliest roles, and Léon Garcia as his brother Pat Reilly.

Triggs Farm in Goudhurst was the main setting for the film, doubling as Longrope Camp where the hop-pickers stay, as well as the hopfields, orchard, and Barden train station. Goudhurst High Street also features in a scene where Sam and Jenny go shopping for a replacement ornament, as well as St Mary the Virgin church featuring in a scene where Laura McBain (June Rodney) gets married. The now derelict Goudhurst Railway Station and Nutley Windmill also feature throughout the film.

Goudhurst is a village in Kent about 12 miles south of Maidstone. It stands on a crossroads (A262 & B2079), where there is a large village pond. Hop-picking has an extensive history in Goudhurst and was an annual event in the village up until the 1950s. The village is home to Finchcocks, a Georgian manor which features in The Amazing Mr Blunden (2021) and a French and Saunders (1996) Pride and Prejudice sketch.

In 2002, a copy of the film was rediscovered in Chicago, USA and the film was subsequently screened in Goudhurst Village Hall for the first time in almost 50 years on Friday 8th March 2002.

Adventure in the Hopfields (1954) was released in 1954. It is currently available to watch for free on BFI Player.

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