The Great (2020-2023)

Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) stands on a beach with white cliffs in the background. She is wearing a historical style dress which is white with red flowers. She has a red flower in her hair.

Elle Fanning in The Great (2020-2023) © Hulu

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 series was created by Tony McNamara (The FavouriteAshby) and stars Elle Fanning (Maleficent, Mary Shelley) as Catherine the Great, Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury RoadWarm Bodies) as Peter III of Russia. Phoebe Fox (Close to the EnemyThe Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death), Gwilym Lee (Bohemian RhapsodyMidsomer Murders) and Sacha Dhawan (Iron FistThe History Boys) feature in supporting roles.

Production visited various locations in Kent for Series 1, 2 and 3.

In Series 1 Episode 8, the Italian Loggia on Hever Castle lake doubles as an Eastern European house where Peter III of Russia (Nicholas Hoult) and Catherine (Elle Fanning) meet the Swedish King Hugo (Freddie Fox) and Queen Agnes (Grace Molony). The Loggia reappears in Series 2 Episode 1 as the house in which Peter and his confidantes Grigor (Gwilym Lee) and Georgina (Charity Wakefield) hide out from Catherine’s army.

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).

One of the most popular filming locations in Kent, Botany Bay is a sandy bay set against a white cliff backdrop with a steep, sandy track for vehicle access and small portable café. Recent productions to have filmed on Botany Bay include The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021), The Baby (2022) and Sulphur and White (2020).

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.

A historic 17th Century Dockyard spanning over 80 acres, Chatham Dockyard contains over 100 buildings dating from the Georgian and Victorian periods. One of the most popular filming locations in Kent, recent productions to have filmed on the site include A Spy Among Friends (2022), Enola Holmes 2 (2022), and Series 3 of Jerk (2023).

Series 3 of The Great will be released on Lionsgate+ on Friday 14th July 2023 and the series is currently available to stream on StarzPlay and All4.

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


Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022)

Kerry Godliman as restaurant owner Pearl Nolan is centre of the image wearing a green top and blue apron. She has blonde hair and behind her is a pebble beach with boats and fishing huts

Whitstable Pearl stars Kerry Godliman as restaurant owner Pearl Nolan © Acorn TV

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.

Whitstable Pearl was adapted for screen by Norwegian filmmaker Øystein Karlsen (One Night, Dag). Kerry Godliman (After Life, Call the Midwife (2012-2020)) headlines the show as Pearl Nolan alongside Howard Charles as DCI Mike McGuire (Shadow and Bone, Liar Series 2 (2020))and Frances Barber (Cold Feet, Queens of Mystery (2019)) as Pearl’s mum Dolly.

A woman with red hair and a black hat (Frances Barber as Dolly) walks along the sea shore with a woman wearing a black coat carrying a box (Kerry Godliman as Pearl Nolan). In the distance is the shoreline with houses and a beach

Frances Barber as Pearl’s mother Dolly (left) and Kerry Godliman as Pearl Nolan © Mark Bourdillon / Acorn TV

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).

For Series 2, production also visited various locations in Sevenoaks, including a private house which doubled as Dolly’s House, Stonepitts PYO Farm and the St Clere Estate which doubles as Zelda St John’s (Stephanie Beacham) mansion.

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.

Whitstable is a 16th century thriving seaside resort in Kent. Known for its native oysters, Whitstable boasts a working fishing harbour, shingle beach and busy high street. Recent productions to film in the town include The Great Pottery Throw Down – Series 3 (2020) and The Thames: Britain’s Great River With Tony Robinson (2019).

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.

Margate is a traditional seaside town complete with sandy beach, harbour, amusement park, period housing and ultra-modern art gallery Turner Contemporary. The Walpole Hotel was built for discerning guests in 1914 and extended in 1927.  Built over 5 floors it has 42 Bedrooms, 2 flats and a newly added small museum space. Dreamland is considered to be the oldest-surviving amusement park in Great Britain, and has played host to a variety of productions, including Killing Eve (2018-2022), Two Weeks to Live (2020) and Jellyfish (2018). Located nearby, The Nayland Rock Hotel also featured in Killing Eve (2018-2022), as well as King of Thieves (2018).

Westgate-on-Sea is a charming Victorian town, steeped in Heritage with quaint shops and two fantastic blue flag beaches. Margate is popular as a film locations with recent productions including Two Weeks to Live (2020), Pandemonium (2020) and Top Boy (2019-2022).

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).

Rochester is a city with the feel of a medieval market town, including a cathedral, castle ruin and unspoilt high street by the River Medway. Other productions to have filmed in Rochester include Unforgotten (2021), Jekyll and Hyde (2015) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012).

Herne Bay is a coastal resort popular for filming along the Kent coast. Kate & Koji (2020-2022) is a recent production to film here. Faversham is a beautiful historic market town set on Faversham Creek. TV productions to film in the area include Hetty Feather Series 1 – 6 (2015 – 2020) and Celebrity Antiques Road Show – Series 8 (2018).

St Martin’s Hospital is a large building on the outskirts of busy Canterbury town centre. It has hosted filming for crime drama The Tunnel: Sabotage (2016) and The Tunnel: Vengeance (2017).

Series 1 of Whitstable Pearl was released on Acorn TV on Monday 24th May 2021.

Whitstable Pearl Series 2 will be released as a box set on Acorn TV on Monday 28th November 2022.

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


Gangs of London (2020-2022)

Production poster showing the London skyline and four actors in suits above it in the rainy clouds. Sky Original Gangs of London written in white

Gangs of London (2019-2022) © Sky UK Limited

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.

This Sky original series by Pulse Films is about the inner workings of the largest criminal organisation in London and was created by visionary, award-winning filmmaker Gareth Evans (The Raid, Apostle) and his creative partner Matt Flannery. The lead cast includes Narges Rashidi (Under the Shadow, The Allegation) as Lale, Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders, The Ipcress File) as Sean Wallace, Lucian Msamati (His Dark Materials, The Good Liar) as Ed Dumani, Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You, Men) as Alexander Dumani and Sope Dirisu (Humans (2016), The Halcyon (2017)) as Elliot Finch.

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.

St Clere Estate is set in 2,800 acres of rolling Kent countryside and offers stunning views of the North Downs. The estate features formal gardens, a meadow, ploughed fields, an orangery and a temple by the lake. Previous productions to film at St Clere Estate include The Great (2020), The Third Day (2020) and Road Games (2016).

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 London will be available to stream on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV from Thursday 20th October 2022.

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


Future Tense: The Story of H.G. Wells (2016)

Time machine at The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Time machine at The Historic Dockyard Chatham © BBC South East

Production Company: BBC South East

Kent Locations Used: Sandgate, Folkestone, The Historic Dockyard Chatham, St Clere Estate, Sevenoaks

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.

The BBC South East production team filmed at Sandgate beach and Wells House in Folkestone, The Historic Dockyard Chatham which is doubles as The Time Machine Workshop and St Clere Estate in Sevenoaks. They also filmed in East Sussex, Surrey and London.

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).

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a 17th century dockyard set over 80 acres, containing over 100 buildings dating from the Georgian and Victorian Periods. It has been used extensively for filming, appearing in productions such as Rustom (2016), Partners in Crime (2015) and The World is Not Enough (1999).

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.

 

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

 


The Mirror Crack’d (1980)

Angela Lansbury, Rock Hudson and Edward Fox stood having a conversation in front of a window with beige curtains

Angela Lansbury, Rock Hudson and Edward Fox © Columbia-Warner Distributors

Starring: Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Geraldine Chaplin, Edward Fox and Kim Novak

Production Company: G.W. Films, EMI Films

Kent Locations used: St Clere Estate, Smarden, Shoreham

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.

 

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