Writer: Beau Willimon Director: Josie Rourke Starring: Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie Production Company: Universal Pictures International Kent Locations Used: Penshurst Place
Historical drama Mary Queen of Scots is based on John Guy’s book ‘Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart’ and tells the story of Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan), Queen of France, who becomes widowed at 18, defies pressures to remarry and instead, returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her throne. However, when Mary’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England (Margot Robbie), fails, she is condemned to years of imprisonment before finally facing execution.
Filming took place at Penshurst Place in Sevenoaks, with lead actress Saoirse Ronan featuring in scenes set in the Baron’s Hall and the Inner Courtyard. The medieval Baron’s Hall also features at the start of the official trailer as a backdrop for Mary’s execution. The solemn procession of spectators waiting to witness Queen Mary’s execution was staged in the Inner Courtyard.
Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke), a war veteran turned private detective works and lives in his tiny office in London’s Denmark Street. In The Cuckoo’s calling, business is not great for Cormoran when Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger) is mistakenly sent to assist him with his paperwork just as super model Lula Landry (Elarica Johnson ) supposedly takes her own life by jumping from a Mayfair balcony.
Following his investigation of the Lula Landry case, The Silkworm takes up the story when Strike is tasked by Leonora Quine (Monica Dolan) to locate her husband, the notorious writer Owen Quine, who has disappeared without a trace.
The Cuckoo’s calling was adapted by Ben Richards (Outcasts, Spooks) and Tom Edge (Lovesick, The Crown) and directed by Michael Keillor. The cast is led by Tom Burke (Only God Forgives, Third Star) and Holliday Grainger (Cinderella, The Finest Hours) with support from Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones, London Irish) as Matthew Cunliffe.
The production filmed at Penshurst Place as well as in a private residence in Sevenoaks.
Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling – John Bristow (LEO BILL), Lady Bristow (SIAN PHILLIPS) – (C) Bronte Film & TV Ltd
Sevenoaks is a historic town in West Kent just outside the gates to Knole Park. It is the home of Sevenoaks School which supported the production and has one of the oldest lying foundations in England, laid down by William Sevenokes in 1432. The town has previously featured in Future Tense: The Story of H.G. Wells (2016).
Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling will screen on BBC One on Sunday August 27th & Monday 28th August at 9pm, concluding the following Sunday 3rd September.
The Silkworm will follow with two episodes on 10th and 17th September.
Career of Evil, the final, two-part instalment is due to be release in the New Year.
The Hollow Crown returns to BBC Two with a second series, The Wars of the Roses that include adaptations of three more historic plays by Shakespeare – Henry VI Part 1 & 2 and Richard III. The series is part of the BBC’s Shakespeare Season commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes, The Imitation Game) stars as Richard III and Tom Sturridge (The Boat That Rocked, Far from the Madding Crowd) plays Henry VI.
The supporting cast includes a wealth of talented actors, including Judi Dench (Philomena, Skyfall), Jeremy Irons (Eragon, The Lion King), Keeley Hawes (Doctor Who, Upstairs Downstairs), Sophie Okonedo (Doctor Who, Criminal Justice), John Mackay (Doc Martin, Casualty), Stanley Townsend (Cars, Ripper Street) and Ben Daniels (Locke, Madaline).
The second series of The Hollow Crown filmed in Kent where Leeds Castle‘s Barbican and moat to depict scenes at the Tower of London, Penshurst Placedoubled as the exterior of the Palace of Westminster’s Great Gates and Dover Castle features as The Tower of London as well as Anjou’s Palace and Joan’s Chambers in Rouen in Part 1 and a French Prison and St Alban’s Chapel and Market Place in Part 2.
Rich in history, Leeds Castle is set in 500 acres of beautiful parkland and formal gardens. The castle has opened its doors to a number of film productions over the years including Gadget Man(2014), Henry VIII(2003) and Lady Jane(1987).
Dover Castle is one of the most iconic of all the English fortresses, guarding the gateway to the realm for nine centuries. With its beautiful medieval interior, secret wartime tunnels and set overlooking the English Channel, Dover Castle is a popular film location having previously welcomed productions such as Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Into the Woods(2015) and To Kill a King(2003).
Television royalty, Sir Terry Wogan, and London Cabbie, Mason McQueen (A Cabbie Abroad), join forces to embark on the foodie’s ultimate adventure around the UK. Along the way, they check out the weird and wonderful British cuisine and look at how tastes have changed.
The 20 part series has taken its inspiration from the 1963 book, British Bouquet: An Epicurean Tour of Britain, by Samuel Chamberlain. Wogan and McQueen set off in Chamberlain’s footstep in search of the great British foods of today and exploring their social history. Sampling the foods mentioned in the book, they compare ‘then and now’ and piece together their evolution from all the knowledge preserved by the local people they meet.
Canterbury is a vibrant City which boasts a Cathedral, busy shopping areas, parks and open spaces. Nearby is the seaside town of Whitstable which has a strong arts and culture scene and offers a harbour, shingle beach and busy high street. The area has previously featured on productions such A Canterbury Tale (1944).
Tunbridge Wells is a large town situated in West Kent with a busy town centre and a period shopping area, The Pantiles, offering a fascinating variety of small specialist shops, antique shops, open-air cafés, restaurants and bars. Previous productions that have been filmed in Tunbridge Wells include Britain’s Best Bakery (2012).
Armada: 12 Days to Save England is three part docudrama focusing on Queen Elizabeth I and the attack of the Spanish Armada during the summer of 1588, when England was the closest it’s ever been to being conquered.
The show combines CGI and dramatic reconstruction with discussions from leading historians. The show hopes to bring a unique insight to the dramatic historical event, when King Philip II of Spain ordered the invasion of England. The programme benefits from historical analysis of previously unseen letters written by Spanish commanders regarding their military decisions on board the ships.
For four days in December 2014, the production team visited Penshurst Place,which they described as the ‘perfect location,’ to film in a variety of rooms, including The Crypt, Sunderland Room and the Italian Gardens. These areas were used as Queen Elizabeth’s bedchamber, as well as King Philip’s office, bedroom and chapel. In addition, a prison cell was set up at the location.
This January, BBC Two airs new British drama Wolf Hall, charting the meteoric rise of Thomas Cromwell in the Tudor Court, from his lowly start as a blacksmith’s son to becoming Henry VIII’s closest advisor.
The six part series is based on Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies and the screenplay was written by Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Frank).
BAFTA-winning Peter Kosminsky (Britz, The Promise) directs the miniseries which boasts a host of acting talent, such as Mark Rylance (Britz, Hamlet), Damian Lewis (Homeland, Romeo and Juliet), Claire Foy (Season of the Witch, Crossbones), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Game of Thrones) and Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest).
In May 2014, the production team visited Penshurst Place to film at a variety of rooms to double for York Place and Whitehall. In July 2014, the production returned to Kent, this time filming at Dover Castle which doubled as The Tower of London for the execution of Anne Boleyn scenes.
The Great Fire is a new four part ITV drama inspired by the historical events of 1666, where the capital was devastated by fire.
Set against the decadent backdrop of King Charles II’s Court, the drama focuses on the circumstances which led to the catastrophic fire. It looks at Thomas Farriner’s family life at the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started the King’s extravagant lifestyle, and diarist Samuel Pepys, whose recordings chronicled the turbulent Regency period.
The series was written by British journalist and novelist Tom Bradby and stars a host of acting talent including Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch, Cranford), Rose Leslie(Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey), Charles Dance(Game of Thrones, Alien 3), Jack Huston(American Hustle, Boardwalk Empire) and Daniel Mays (Mr Biggs, Public Enemies).
Cobham Hall is a private school near to Gravesend located in 150 acres of Grade II listed parkland and has a stunning ball room, library, cobbled courtyards, formal gardens, classrooms as well as sports facilities, including a swimming pool. Cobham Hall has been used as a film location by Wild Child (2008) and Bleak House (2005).
Don’t miss The Great Fire which starts on Thursday 16th October 2014 at 21:00 on ITV1.
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.
Merlin was filmed mostly in a studio with Penshurst Place one of only three locations chosen to film on location where the production company Shine visited the unique Baron’s Hall with it’s awe-inspiring height and courtly atmosphere.
Chislehurst Cavesfeatures in episode 3, series one for underground scenes where Arthur and Merlin battle the water beast.
The screen adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s best selling novel The Other Boleyn Girl is a dramatic story of love, passion and ambition set in the cut-throat court of Henry VIII. Mary (Scarlett Johansson), considered the more beautiful sister, gains the young king’s (Eric Bana) attention and, though married, becomes his mistress. When it becomes politically adventageous, Mary is cast aside for her dazzling young sister Anne (Natalie Portman) and can only watch as Anne’s ruthless pursuit of the crown propels her towards her doom.
The Boleyn family had extensive connections with Kent; the family lived in Hever Castle while Henry VIII adored Knole. With this connection in mind, filming took place at three fantastic locations across Kent.
Filming in Kent began atKnole in Sevenoaks, a grand house set in a deer park that Henry VIII was so impressed with; he demanded that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer give it to him. In the film, Knolewas the setting for many of the film’s London night scenes and the inner courtyard doubles for the entrance of Whitehall Palace where the grand arrivals and departures were staged.
Production then moved to Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, which was also once owned by Henry VIII and where the unspoiled estate and gardens still bring the Tudor era to life. The Baron’s Hall was transformed into the interiors of Whitehall Palace to film the scenes of Henry’s extravagant feast. The Tudor Gardens were also used for the scene where Anne (Natalie Portman) and the King (Eric Bana) talk about their relationship.
As England’s oldest fortress at the shortest sea crossing to Continental Europe, Dover Castle was a vital strategic centre in the Tudor era and able to provide the ideal setting for the final and climatic scenes in The Other Boleyn Girl. Dover Castle was transformed into the Tower of London for the execution scenes of George Boleyn (Jim Sturgess) and Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman).
To celebrate the cinematic release and the locations that were used in the film, the Kent Film Office and Kent Tourism Alliance in association with Universal, National Trust, English Heritage, Penshurst Place, Hever Castle and the Heart of Kent released a movie map in 2011 to highlight the Kent locations to the world! You can download your own The Other Boleyn Girl movie map and to find out more about the Kent Campaign at: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/austens-in-kent/
The Other Boleyn Girl features in the Kent Film Office Tudor(ish) Trail, released in May 2016, celebrating Kent’s Tudor history and film connections.
The film was released on 7th March 2008 and is now available on DVD.