Canterbury Tales (2003)

Canterbury Tales DVD cover- montage of images from the film, with canterbury tales written in black above

Canterbury Tales DVD cover © BBC

Starring: Julie Walters, James Nesbitt, Billie Piper, John Simm, Keeley Hawes, Dennis Waterman

Production Company: Ziji Productions, BBC

Kent Locations: Rochester Castle, Cathedral, Chertsey Gate, the High Street and Esplanade, River Medway, Stangate Creek, Gravesend

Canterbury Tales is a BBC adaptation of a handful of Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century stories of the same name which are still set along the traditional Pilgrims’ route to Canterbury, but in the 21st century.

The stories include themes such as love, adultery, jealousy and revenge.

The six single dramas feature an all-star cast including Julie Walters (Mamma Mia!, Calendar Girls Billy Elliot), James Nesbitt (The Missing, Murphy’s Law, Cold Feet), Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Penny Dreadful), John Simm (Human Traffic, Life on Mars, The Village), Keeley Hawes (Death at a Funeral, The Bank Job, The Avengers) and Dennis Waterman (New Tricks, The Sweeney, Back in Business).

Rochester is the principal setting for The Pardoner’s Tale with the castle, Cathedral, Chertsey Gate, the High Street, Esplanade and various streets, pubs and restaurants featuring.

The river scenes in The Man of Laws’ Tale were filmed on the River Medway and The Medway Estuary.

Gravesend is the setting in The Seacaptain’s Tale where old waterfront warehouses, the pier and Town Pier Square feature.

Rochester is a historic city set on the River Medway offering a Medieval Cathedral and castle and cobbled streets with shops, pubs and restaurants. Rochester has previously featured in productions such as Jekyll and Hyde (2015), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) and Great Expectations (1989).

The River Medway starts in Sussex and runs through Tonbridge, Maidstone and Medway before flowing into the Thames Estuary near Sheerness. Stangate Creek is part of the River Medway and has been used as a film location by productions such as Mr Turner (2014), Great Expectations (2012) and The Long Memory (1953).

On the south bank of the River Thames, Gravesend has a cast iron pier, promenade and high street as well as international links at the nearby Ebbsfleet International station. The area has previously been used as a film location in productions such as The Interceptor (2015) and Age of Heroes (2011).

The Canterbury Tales aired in 2003 and is now available for DVD purchase.

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

 


Great Expectations (1999)

Joe Gargery (Clive Russell ) with Young Pip (Gabriel Thomson) in his shoulders walking through a field, soldiers are walking either side of them

Joe Gargery (Clive Russell ) and Young Pip (Gabriel Thomson) © BBC

Directed By: Julian Jarrold

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Tony Marchant (Adaptation)

Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Charlotte Rampling, Justine Waddell, Clive Russell

Production Company: BBC, WGBH

Kent Locations Used: Sheerness Docks, Kingswear Castle Paddlesteamer, Chatham Docks & River Medway

Surrounded by memorabilia from her ill-fated wedding, Ms Havisham invites local orphan Pip to her home to amuse her as she encourages her spiteful daughter Estella to break his heart. Pip’s future as a blacksmith is forever changed when an unknown sponsor pays for him to become a gentleman.

Starring Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) as Pip, Charlotte Rampling (The Duchess) as Miss Havisham and Justine Waddell (Killing Bono) as Estella, this is the first BBC adaptation of the classic Dickens tale and was originally aired in 1999.

Young Pip (Gabriel Thompson) and Young Biddy (Laura Aikman) sat on the grass talking to each other, wicker baskets are behind them

Young Pip (Gabriel Thompson) and Young Biddy (Laura Aikman) in Great Expectations 1999 © BBC

Filmed in a variety of Kent Locations, the BBC brought Great Expectations back to the county where it was originally conceived by Dickens.  Herbert Pocket’s bride to be, Clara, provides a refuge for reformed convict Abel Magwitch at Sheerness Docks where exterior shots of her house were filmed. Pip and Herbert Pocket arrange to meet Magwitch and help his escape at Chatham Docks, where slip 8 was used for the scene and exterior shots of the prison hulk ships.

The dramatic scene where Magwitch attempts to escape is well known to fans of the Dickens classic. The local Paddle steamer, “Kingswear Castle”, was used for the scenes and the production company used Stangate Creek on the River Medway for shots of the ship on the Thames Estuary. The Kingswear Castle also features in the 1998 BBC adaptation of Dickens last novel, Our Mutual Friend, starring Anna Friel and Paul McGann.

Dickens’ features Kent locations in many of his novels. The city of Rochester, which holds annual Dickens celebrations each year, can be recognised in many of the author’s novels such as The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield. The Kent Film Office celebrates Dickens history with the county including Tv and film adaptions in The Dickens Trail.

Great Expectations was shown on BBC in 1999 and is now available to buy on DVD.

 

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

 


Our Mutual Friend (1998)

Eugene Wrayburn (Paul McGann) and Mortimer Lightwood (Dominic Mafham) standing behind a wooden deck, wooden boats that are upside down can be seen behind them

Eugene Wrayburn (Paul McGann) and Mortimer Lightwood (Dominic Mafham) © BBC

Directed by: Julian Farino

Produced By: Caroline Wearing

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Sandy Welch (Adaptation)

Starring: Keeley Hawes, Paul McGann, Anna Friel, David Morrissey & Steven Mackintosh

Production Company: BBC

Kent Locations Used: The Historic Dockyard Chatham, River Medway

Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dickens’ last complete novel. It was written in 1864-1865 when he was at the height of his fame having recently published A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. The main theme of the novel is money and the effect that it can have on personal values and relationships.  At it’s very core is the love triangle between repressed schoolteacher Bradley Headstone (David Morrissey Thorne: Sleepyhead), his rival Eugene Wrayburn (Paul McGann New Tricks)and their shared love interest Lizzie Hexam (Keeley Hawes Upstairs Downstairs).

When  John Harmon, a young man whose inheritance is dependent on his marrying a woman he has never met, is found dead in the Thames, his fortune is passed onto the Boffin family who take both Harmon’s would-be bride Bella Wilfer (Anna Friel Pushing Daisies) and mysterious secretary Rokesmith (Steven Mackintosh Camelot) into their home. Meanwhile, Lizzie Hexam’s father is accused of Harmon’s murder and she is relentlessly pursued by her two suitors.

close up of Lizzie Hexam wearing a hood with a lantern behind her

Lizzie Hexam (Keeley Hawes) © BBC

Filmed at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, the location was used for the bleak side streets surrounding the workhouse. Charles Dickens’ father worked as a Naval Pay Officer at the Dockyard and it was here that Dickens developed a love of the sea, accompanying his father as a young boy. Later, these childhood adventures were a source of inspiration for novels such as Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend.

The Kingswear Castle Paddlesteamer that is based at The Historic Dockyard Chatham was also used for filming the scene where Bella Wilfer and the Boffin family go for a day out.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham dates back to the 17th century and contains over 100 buildings from the Georgian and Victorian periods. The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a popular film location that has previously featured on screen in Suffragette (2015) and Les Miserables (2013).

Dickens has a rich history with Kent and the Kent Film Office celebrates Dickens history with the county including TV and film adaptions in The Dickens Trail which launched in 2012.

Our Mutual Friend aired on the BBC in March 1998 and is now available on DVD.

 

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


Doctor Who – Inferno (1970)

Jon Pertwee as Dr Who in a suit in an office with a brick wall

Jon Pertwee as Dr Who © BBC

Director: Douglas Camfield

Starring: Jon Pertwee, Caroline John, Nicholas Courtney, Olaf Pooley, Christopher Benjamin

Production Company: BBC

Kent locations used: Kingsnorth Industrial Estate, Medway

Inferno is a seven part story of popular sci-fi show, Doctor Who, starring Jon Pertwee. Inferno, is a science project aimed at exploiting a new power source underneath the earth’s crust. While the Doctor is fixing his TARDIS, he is thrown in to a parallel universe, where his misgivings of Inferno are confirmed when he sees how it has almost completely destroyed the alternate earth.

Kingsnorth Powerstation next to a road

Kingsnorth Powerstation screenshot © BBC

Jon Pertwee (Worzel Gummidge, Jackanory) stars as the third Doctor alongside Caroline John (Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, P.R.O.B.E), Nicholas Courtney (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Downtime), Olaf Pooley (The Master, Star Trek: Voyager) and Christopher Benjamin (Pride and Prejudice, Angel).

The production visited Kingsnorth Industrial Estate in Medway which featured as the setting for the Inferno project. This estate used to be a large oil refinery known as Berry Wiggins and Co Ltd. and is now an Industrial Estate to many businesses.

Medway is a group of towns set along the River Medway, steeped in history, particularly with Charles Dickens connections. Productions which have previously filmed in the area include London Spy (2015), Les Misérables (2013) and Sherlock Holmes (2009).

Doctor Who – Inferno was shown in 1970 and is now available to purchase on DVD.

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

 


Half A Sixpence (1967)

a car driving along a road outside the Pantiles, people are walking along the side of the road

Screenshot from Half a Sixpence at The Pantiles © Paramount Pictures

Director: George Sidney

Stars: Tommy Steele, Julia Foster, Cyril Ritchard

Production Company: Ameran Films

Kent Locations Used: The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Aylesford

Based on the novel, Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul by H.G. Wells, Half a Sixpence is a musical based on the themes of wealth and class. The film follows a draper’s assistant, Arthur Kipps (Tommy Steele), who falls in love with a chambermaid named Ann (Julia Foster). When Kipps inherits a fortune, he is torn between two worlds.

Golden Globe winning director George Sidney (Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, Annie Get Your Gun) directs the film which stars Tommy Steele (The Flintstones, Finian’s Rainbow, Quincy’s Quest) , Julia Foster (Dad’s Army, Alfie, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) and Cyril Ritchard (The Hobbit, Peter Pan, Blackmail).

The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells is the set for Shalfords Emporium in the film, where Kipps apprenticed and the town of Aylesford was the setting of Kipps’ childhood home.

Situated in West Kent, Tunbridge Wells is a large town 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 Terry and Mason’s Great Food Trip (2015).

A shot of Aylesford Bridge, with the river and village in the background

Screenshot from Half a Sixpence of Aylesford Bridge © Paramount Pictures

Aylesford is a picturesque village located on the banks of the River Medway complete with a Norman Church and Victorian houses, pubs and open spaces.

The film was released on 21 December 1967 and is available to purchase on DVD.

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

 


The Long Memory (1953)

 

The Long Memory film poster- a man and women hugging, the man is faced away from the camera. The Long Memory written in yellow

The Long Memory film poster © General Film Distributors (GFD)

Director: Robert Hamer

Starring: John Mills, John McCallum, Elizabeth Sellars

Production Company: J. Arthur Rank Organisation, Europa, British Film-Makers

Kent Locations Used: Gravesend, Stangate Creek

The Long Memory is a black and white 1953 film based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Howard Clewes. The crime thriller is about Philip Davidson (John Mills) who is wrongfully convicted for murder and given parole after 12 years. Will Philip choose revenge upon the witnesses who lied during the trial, or give himself a fresh start?

Directed by Robert Hamer (Kind Hearts and Coronets, Dead of Night, Father Brown), the film stars John Mills (Gandhi, Bean, Great Expectations), John McCallum (Skippy, Boney, Attack Force Z) and Elizabeth Sellars (The Barefoot Contessa, The Chalk Garden, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England).

Queen Street and Granby Road in Gravesend feature in the film as the locations for the two Tim Pewsey residences.

black and white image of Stangate Creek, with a wooden fence in front

The Long Memory screenshot at Stangate Creek © General Film Distributors (GFD)

 Gravesend street at night with a man in a trench coat walking away from the camera down the middle

The Long Memory screenshot at Gravesend © General Film Distributors (GFD)

The marshes of the Medway Estuary around Stangate Creek and Iwade were used as the location where Phillip Davidson’s (John Mills) barge is moored.

The historic market town of Gravesend is on the south bank of the River Thames and boasts a cast iron pier, promenade and high street. The area is easily accessible with train links at the nearby Ebbsfleet International station and is close to the M25. The Gravesend area has previously welcomed film productions such as The Interceptor (2015), Babylon (2014) and Age of Heroes (2011).

Stangate Creek is part of the River Medway and has been used as a film location by productions such as Mr Turner (2014), feature film adaption Great Expectations (2012) and the BBC’s Great Expectations (1999).

The Long Memory was released in 1978 and is now available on DVD.

 

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