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. 


The Mill on the Floss (1997)

The Mill on the Floss poster- montage of three different characters from the film, a man in a top hat, a women with her arm on her hip in front and then a man on a white horse in front. The Mill on the Floss is written in blue

The Mill on the Floss poster © BBC

Director: Graham Theakston

Writer: Hugh Stoddart (Screenplay) & George Eliot (Novel)

Starring: Emily Watson, Cheryl Campbell, James Frain, Bernard Hill, Joanna David, Ifan Meredith

Production Company: BBC, Canal+ Carnival Film & Television, UGC DA International

Kent Locations: The Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Mill on the Floss is a 1997 BBC adaptation of the George Eliot classic of the same name which is about a young woman’s struggle for freedom and love in conventional Victorian society.

The story follows intelligent, free spirited Maggie Tulliver (Emily Watson), whose father forbids her to see her childhood friend Philip Wakem (James Frain) after his family takes away their beloved mill on the river Floss. What will Maggie do when torn by devotion to her family and her true love?

The adaption is written by Hugh Stoddart (To the Lighthouse, Remembrance, We Think the World of You), directed by Graham Theakston (The Politician’s Wife, The Bill, Sherlock) and starring Emily Watson (War Horse, Red Dragon, Everest), Cheryl Campbell (Doctor Foster, Chariots of Fire, Casualty), James Frain (TRON: Legacy, The Lone Ranger, The Tunnel), Bernard Hill (Wolf Hall, Titanic, The Scorpion King), Joanna David (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, The Soul Keeper, Cotton Mary) and Ifan Meredith (Warriors, Metroland, Titanic, The Grand).

The Mill on the Floss screenshot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham - a man on a horse and carriage with building behind him

The Mill on the Floss screenshot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham © BBC

The Mill on the Floss screenshot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham - a man walking along a street with a horse and carriage behind him

The Mill on the Floss screenshot at The Historic Dockyard Chatham © BBC

The row of period houses at The Historic Dockyard Chatham features in The Mill on the Floss as the exterior for Wakem Solicitor’s, with another area providing the exterior for Guest and Co.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a popular film location boasting over 100 buildings and 80 acres of filming space including Georgian and Victorian buildings, a submarine, dry dock, cobbled streets and industrial buildings. The Historic Dockyard Chatham has previously been used in productions such as Jekyll and Hyde (2015), Great Expectations (2012) and The World is Not Enough (1999).

The Mill on the Floss was shown on New Year’s Day 1997 and is now available on DVD.

 

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