Creator: Tony McNamara Starring: Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox, Gwilym Lee, Sacha Dhawan Production Company: Thruline Entertainment, Echo Lake Entertainment, Lewellen Pictures, MRC Television, Macgowan Films Kent Locations Used: Hever Castle, St Clere Estate, Botany Bay, Cobham Wood, The Historic Dockyard Chatham
The Great (2020-2023), a satirical comedy from American streaming company Hulu, follows the infamous rise of Prussian-born Catherine the Great as she ascends to become the longest serving female ruler in Russian history. Forced to choose between her own personal happiness and the future of an empire, she abandons a life of love and romance and vows to change a country plagued by deceit and ruin.
Series 3 sees Catherine and Peter attempt to make their marriage work after a very rocky start. But with Peter haunted by visions of his late grandfather, Peter The Great (Jason Isaacs), will he stay content as mere First Husband to Catherine the Great for long?
The fields of St Clere Estate in Sevenoaks were used to stage battle scenes in Series 1 Episodes 5 and 7. The location returned in Series 2 Episode 1 as Catherine’s army’s base camp. St Clere also reappears in Series 3 Episodes 6 and 8 as an army camp on the Russia / Sweden border and the frozen lake where one key character meets an unexpected end.
Botany Bay in Broadstairs features in a dream sequence in Series 2 Episode 10, where Catherine images Peter eating a whale on the beach.
Cobham Wood appears briefly in Series 3 Episode 6, as Catherine and Grigor ride in a carriage through the woods. The Tarred Yarn Store at The Historic Dockyard Chatham also features in Series 3 Episode 5, doubling as the interior of a town hall where Pugachev (Nicholas Hoult) incites the peasants against Catherine.
Hever Castle is an outstanding 13th century and Tudor castle with a moat, stunning Italianate gardens, a beautiful lake, as well as a mock Tudor Village. It was the original home of the Boleyn family. Productions that filmed here include Inkheart (2008) and The Third Day (2020).
St Clere Estate is set in 2800 acres of the rolling Kent countryside and offers stunning views of the North Downs. Some of the ground’s features include formal gardens, paddocks, a meadow, fields, an orangery, green houses and a temple by the lake. St Clere Estate has previously been used to film Road Games (2016) and Sky’s original series Gangs of London (2020-2022).
Cobham Wood is a vast woodland park containing an array of vegetation and landscapes. The park is home to the Darnley Mausoleum; built in the 18th Century as the final resting place for the Darnley family, it remains unused.
Creator: Julie Wassmer Starring: Kerry Godliman, Howard Charles, Sophia Del Pizzo, Frances Barber Production Company: Buccaneer Media Kent Locations Used: Whitstable, Canterbury, Faversham, Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate, Detling, Dover, Sevenoaks, Rochester
Based on the much loved series of novels ‘The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries’ by Kent resident Julie Wassmer (EastEnders, London’s Burning), Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022) is a detective series for Acorn TV. The story follows big-hearted local restaurant owner Pearl Nolan (Kerry Godliman) who sets up a local detective agency after undergoing police training in an earlier career. She is soon embroiled in her first case when she discovers the body of close friend, Vinnie. Pearl forms an unlikely partnership with DCI Mike McGuire (Howard Charles) and finds herself pulled into the dark underbelly of the picturesque town she calls home.
For both Series 1 and 2, most of the filming took place in and around Whitstable itself, including scenes filmed by the coast at Whitstable Harbour, Whitstable Beach, Whitstable Yacht Club and Tankerton Beach. In Series 1, Whitstable High Street features and local shops were filmed including Iain’s Plaice (fish and chip restaurant) and art gallery Chappell Contemporary as Houlihan’s Hardware store. Other Whitstable businesses filmed for Series 1 include the Cemetery, Football Ground, MFA Bowl and Seaview Holiday Park, which features as the trailer park where Vinnie lives. Several private residences were used for filming, including Beacon House as Pearl’s House for Series 1, the exterior of The Ness as Mike’s Flat in Series 2 Episode 2, The Warehouse Cottages for the same episode, and various private residences on Island Wall for Series 2 Eps 1 and 2. Filming took place at The Old Neptune pub, which doubled as the Pearson’s Arms for both series. Whitstable train station also features briefly in Series 2 Ep 2 as Pearl trails a suspected cheating spouse.
The Kent Events Centre was used as a studio build location in Series 1 for interiors of Pearl’s seafood restaurant.
Meanwhile, Margate in Thanet features in both series with Margate Beach and The Walpole Hotel doubling for Whitstable seaside scenes in Series 1, Dreamland and the Nayland Rock Hotel featuring in Series 2 as a theme park and The Bradford Hotel. For Series 1, production also filmed at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Canterbury Road in nearby Westgate-on-Sea. The Port of Ramsgate and Royal Harbour Marina double for the Port of Dover cruise terminal and Dover Marina in Series 1.
Dover features multiple times in Series 2, with locations such as The White Cliffs, Port of Dover, Lydden Spout Battery and Western Heights making an appearance in Episode 1, along with various nearby roads. The Citadel also appears in both series, doubling as a police station. The Citadel also features in Series 1 as a children’s home, and in Series 2 Episode 1 the location’s tunnels feature as the setting for the dramatic confrontation between Kruz Tomlin (Yaw Nimako-Asamoah) and his stepfather Leo (Oliver Walker).
Rochester High Street in Medway appears in Series 2, with local businesses Baggin’s Book Bazaar, Kiss the Bride and a former Estate Agents featuring in Episodes 2 and 3.
Interior scenes for Series 1 were filmed at the former St Martin’s Hospital in Canterbury doubling as a police station and a hospital. Other filming locations for Series 1 include a field near Faversham at Belmont Park and private residence in Herne Bay.
Beacon House is a colonial clapboard wooden turn of the century Beach House. Set above beach on a private sea road, the grounds include wild woodland gardens and views out to sea and lines of beach huts. Catastrophe Series 4 (2019) filmed at this location.
The Kent Events Centre based in Detling is the largest, most flexible conference and exhibition venue in Kent, offering 7,000 sqm of indoor space available to film productions as studio space and 200 acres of outdoor space.
The Port of Ramsgate offers 32 acres of dedicated Port Land including 3 modern Ro-Ro bridges and Water and bunker facilities on all berths. It is often used as ‘stand-in’ for the Port of Dover. Royal Harbour Marina offers 700 finger moorings set in a picturesque and historic harbour setting. Crime dramas to previously film at the Port of Ramsgate include The Tunnel: Vengeance (2017) and Baptiste (2019).
Dover houses the major port, connecting the UK with the European mainland. Dover Castle towers above the town, signalling Dover’s strategic importance in the defence of the country and the White Cliffs are one of the most recognised landmarks in Britain. Recent productions to have filmed in Dover include Pistol (2022), Rogue Agent (2022), and The Tunnel: Sabotage (2016).
The Citadel, located on Dover‘s Western Heights was constructed in the late 1700’s as a port of defence during the Napoleonic war. Most recently it has been used as a borstal, prison, and immigration detention centre up until its closure in 2015. It is now becoming popular as a filming location and has welcomed several productions over the past year – soon to broadcast.
The town of Sevenoaks has a varied landscape, featuring a bustling high street, stately homes and castles as well as beautiful countryside. Located in that countryside is the St Clere Estate, which offers stunning views of the North Downs, formal gardens, paddocks, a kitchen garden, orangery, green houses, and a temple by the lake. Built in 1630, it has some fine architectural examples of the Caroline era. It has recently played host to a variety of productions including The Great (2020-2021), Gangs of London (2020-2022) and The Third Day (2020).
Creators: Gareth Evans, Matt Flannery Starring: Narges Rashidi, Joe Cole, Lucian Msamati, Paapa Essiedu, Sope Dirisu Production Company: Pulse Films Kent Locations Used: St Clere Estate near Sevenoaks, Dartford
Gangs of London (2020-2022) tells the story of a city torn apart by power struggles, and the sudden vacuum that arises when Finn Wallace, the head of London’s most notorious crime family, played by Colm Meaney (Tolkien (2019)), is assassinated. Season 2 picks up one year after the death of Sean Wallace (Joe Cole), head of the Wallace Organisation, an event which forces rival gangs and sworn enemies to join together to fight against a new order.
During filming of Season 1, production visited St Clere Estate in Sevenoaks to stage a Traveller site, and the Dartford Marshes featured as the landing spot for a drug delivery by a group of Turkish gang members. A short driving scene was also filmed on Pilgrim’s Way in Dartford.
Production revisited the Dartford Marshes for Series 2, where they filmed a weapons shipment arriving on the shore of the River Thames in Episode 7, and a dramatic fight scene in Episode 8 between Elliot (Sope Dirisu) and Sean (Joe Cole) that decides who will take over London.
Dartford has a rich industrial heritage and boasts one of the largest shopping centres in Europe: Bluewater. The Dartford Marshes border the River Thames, and the area is a popular film location with recent productions to film here including The Corrupted (2019) and Trigger Point (2022).
Season 1 of Gangs of London was released on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Thursday 23rd April 2020.
Season 2 of Gangs of Londonwill be available to stream on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV from Thursday 20th October 2022.
To mark H.G. Wells’ 150th birthday, Future Tense: The Story of H.G. Wells, presented by Dominic Sandbrook, discovers how a sleepy corner of the country inspired some of the most fantastic ideas in science fiction.
Folkestone is a seaside town with an elegant clifftop promenade, a lower coastal park, a fishing harbour and Victorian cliff-top lifts. The area has featured in a wide range of productions including The Tunnel: Sabotage(2016), Lifeline (2012) and Is Anybody There? (2009).
Set across 2,800 acres of the rolling Kent countryside, St Clere Estate offers stunning views of the North Downs. The house itself was built in 1630 and has some fine architectural examples of the Caroline era. St Clere Estate has been previously featured on screen in Road Games(2016) and The Mirror Crack’d(1980).
Future Tense: The Story of H.G. Wells will air on Friday 16th September 2016 at 19.30 on BBC One South East can be found wherever you are in the country: Sky Channel 963, FreeSat 959, Freeview 858.
The Mirror Crack’d is a detective drama based on an Agatha Christie novel of the same name. In this instalment of the Miss Marple Franchise, a visiting Hollywood production has come to the town of St Mary Mead. The story focuses on the life of Marina Rudd (Elizabeth Taylor), a veteran actress competing for the spotlight with a younger actress, Lola (Kim Novak), in an upcoming production. When a local resident is poisoned at a grand reception, it is thought that Marina herself was the intended victim.
Angela Lansbury (Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Murder She Wrote, Beauty and the Beast) stars as Miss Jane Marple alongside Elizabeth Taylor (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Cleopatra), Tony Curtis(Some Like it Hot), Rock Hudson(Dynasty, McMilan & Wife, Pillow Talk), Geraldine Chaplin (Remember my Name, Doctor Zhivago)Edward Fox (Gandi, Never Say Never Again) and Kim Novak (The Great Bank Robbery, Falcon Crest).
St Clere Estate, Heaverham in the Sevenoaks District of Kent is a private, family run country estate that today prides itself on being an ideal location for filming and photography, due to its period architecture and beautiful grounds. In this episode, it was perfect of the setting for Gossington Hall, the grand home of the Rudds.
Ye Olde George Inn and a Bridge on Church Street in Shoreham are both noticeable in the production, doubling as part of the village of St Mary Mead. Shoreham is a picturesque village near Sevenoaks, famous for its traditional pubs and annual May Day duck race.
The village of Smarden and St Michaels Church are also used to double as the village of St Mary Mead. The Thatched House in Smarden was used as Miss Marple’s cottage. Smarden is located in the Ashford district of Kent, and the traditional thatched houses and village shops made it a perfect filming location.
The Mirror Crack’d was first released in February 1980 and is now available to buy on DVD.