Dickens Secret Lover (2008)

David Haig and Amy Shiels in period costumes. David looking up to the ceiling and Amy is behind looking at him

David Haig as Dickens and Amy Shiels as Nelly © Channel 4

Director: Sarah Aspinall

Writer: Jim Barton

Production Company:  Flame Television Production Ltd.

Kent Filming Locations: Charles Dickens Chalet at Eastgate House Rochester and Theatre Royal Margate.

Dickens’ Secret Lover is screening on Channel 4 as part of their Victorian Passions season, examining Charles Dickens’ private life. The programme reveals the secret life of the literary giant,  in which he abandons his wife for a long lasting affair with a very young actress.

Charles Dance sat on a chair facing the camera. Colourful curtains are behind him.

Charles Dance presenting Dickens

The programme is presented by Charles Dance, an actor who was seen most recently in the BBC adaptation of Bleak House as the callous Tulkinghorn. Dance takes on the role of detective in this drama-documentary, questioning five Dickens’ experts on how the affair affected his writing and his public character of a virtuous Victorian. Key scenes are dramatised to give the viewer a more in depth understanding of Dickens (played by David Haig) and his secret life with actress Nelly, played by Amy Shiels.

Charles Dickens’ is arguably Kent’s most famous author, having lived both at Gad’s Hill in Higham and at Broadstairs in Bleak House, Kent is understandably rich in historical links to the author. Many of his novels were penned here and many of the locations used in his novels echo real life locations in Kent. For example Westgate House in the Pickwick Papers is widely reported to be based on Eastgate House in Rochester.

The programme filmed on location both at Rochester in Charles Dickens’ Chalet at Eastgate House in Rochester and the  Theatre Royal in Margate.

The Swiss Chalet, a present from a French actor to Dickens, was originally constructed in the grounds of his home at Gad’s Hill before moving to Cobham Hall in Gravesham, where the recent BBC series Bleak House was filmed. Nowadays, the Chalet can be seen in the garden at Eastgate house in Rochester.

Exterior shot of Eastgate House - red brick building with black windows

Eastgate House © Medway Council

The Theatre Royal in Margate was chosen because  the crew wanted to visit locations that Dickens was passionate about. A performer himself, he frequently read his works to the public throughout the UK, and of course in Kent.

Eastgate House, situated in Rochester was formerly a large private town house. Built by Sir Peter Buck; it has now been restored and is owned by Medway Council. Productions such as Jekyll and Hyde (2015),  BBC’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) and Great Expectations (1989) have previously filmed in the Rochester area.

The Theatre Royal is situated in the heart of Margate which is a vibrant seaside resort, with complementary historic and modern architecture. Margate has welcomed other productions including The Apprentice (2015), Last Orders (2002) and Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys’ Outing (1989).

In 2012 England will celebrating the bicentenary of his birth.

Dickens’ Secret Lover will be shown on Channel 4 at 9pm on the 16th June 2008.

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


Dani’s House (2008)

Dani Harmer standing in front of a green and blue wall with a window, staring into the camera.

Dani Harmer in Dani’s House © BBC

Directors: Dex McCarthy, Jeremy Wooding 

Writers: Paul Rose, Emma Ko, Holly Lyons, Kay Stonham, Joe Williams 

Kent Filming Locations: Secret Location in the Maidstone Area

An aspiring actress, Dani is forever left to look after her irritating younger brother Max (Sebastian Applewhite), his side-kick Ben (James Ghandi) and the new baby. Trapped in the house Dani and her friends Toby (Harry Culverhouse) and Sam (Klariza Clayton) imagine that they are part of an elaborate television show called Dani’s House.

Unbeknown to the children, their make-believe show has attracted a rather unique audience:Zang and Zark, a couple of aliens, who display a remarkable resemblance to Dani and Toby!

The series plays host to many guest stars including Lil Chris, Matt Di Angelo and Kent’s own Shaun Williamson and was filmed entirely in Kent at a secret location near Maidstone.

Maidstone is the county town of Kent which has the River Medway running through it and boasts many parks, shopping areas, bars and restaurants and sports facilities. Nearby is lovely rural villages, and attractions such as Leeds Castle. The Maidstone area has been used for filming such as Rustom (2016) and  Couples Come Dine With Me(2014).

Dani’s House was shown on BBC One at 4.35 on Friday afternoons from February 2008.

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


Tittybangbang Series 3 (2007)

 

The Italian Maid with a feather duster standing in an open doorway with fields behind

The Italian Maid © Pett Television

Production Company: Pett Productions

Kent LocationsMaidstone Studios

This popular sketch show, produced by Pett Productions, is back for its third series.  The show has an almost entirely female cast led by Lucy Montgomery and Debbie Chazen and is partially written by Bob Mortimer. Some of the more well known characters include Italian Maid, a shy exhibitionist and Magwash who provides local villagers with long and obscure tales.

The pilot of the show almost doubled BBC Three’s average audience share and obtained the highest audience for a new comedy aired on the channel. The programme is also available on broadband allowing internet viewers to catch previews of the show and catch up on past episodes they missed.

Magwash holding a beer tanker next to a pub counter smiling at the camera

Magwash © Pett Television

Pett Productions was set up by Kent resident Bob Mortimer, Vic Reeves and Lisa Clark in 2001. The company is based at Maidstone Studios and filming takes place mainly in and around Kent.

Tittybangbang returns to BBC3 on Sunday 11th November 2007.

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


Little Britain, Season 1 (2003)

Little Britain Characters stood on top of a cartoon map of the UK that is coloured like the United Kingdom flag. Little Britain is written to the left.

Little Britain Poster © BBC

Writers: David Walliams, Matt Lucas

Starring: Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Tom Baker, Paul Putner, Anthony Head, Charu Bala Chokshi

Production Company: BBC, Little Britain Productions

Kent Locations Used: Herne Bay

Little Britain is a character-comedy sketch show from creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas, both of whom also star in the show. Exploring a variety of unusual and amusing characters residing across the British Isles, the first season of Little Britain was partly filmed in Herne Bay.

Heading the show as numerous characters are David Walliams (Big School, Come Fly With Me) and Matt Lucas (Bridesmaids, Come Fly With Me), also featuring other famous faces like Tom Baker (Doctor Who, Monarch of the Glen) as the narrator, Paul Putner (Kidulthood, The Peter Serafinowicz Show), Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin) and Charu Bala Chokshi (Gandhi, A Fish Called Wanda) as supporting characters.

Herne Bay promenade and clock tower. Beach and sea can be seen to the right

Little Britain screenshot at Herne Bay

A number of different locations in Herne Bay appear in Season 1 of Little Britain as the home of cross dresser Emily Howard. The interior and exterior of the Bun Penny, the once well-known pub on Herne Bay’s seafront, features in episode one, while the clock tower appears in both episode three and episode eight. Other locations used include Central Parade and Central Avenue. Some of the Lou and Andy sketches are also filmed at Herne Bay.

Herne Bay is a traditional seaside town located on the Kent coast, with interesting Victorian architecture and a splendid seafront boasting glorious beaches. The town is a popular location, with previous productions such as Boomers (2014) and Big Bad World (2013)  choosing to film there.

Little Britain ran for three more seasons and is available to buy on DVD.

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


French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice (1996)

French and Saunders - Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks - actors dressed in period costume with the homeowners visible in the mirror

French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks © BBC

Written and starring: Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders

Production Company: BBC

Kent Locations: Finchcocks

French and Saunders is a BBC sketch comedy series written by and starring comic duo Dawn French (The Wrong Mans, Let Them Eat Cake, The Vicar of Dibley) and Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, Coraline, Shrek 2).

The show aired for seven series between 1987 and 2007 and became a fan favourite with its hilarious sketches including many film & TV spoofs with special guest stars and musical video parodies.

Series 5 episode 6, features the sketch “Behind the Scenes: A Classic in the Making” which is a satire about the filming of period TV dramas, in particular Pride and Prejudice and was filmed at Finchcocks in Kent.

A man on a horse riding towards a county house

French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks © BBC

French and Saunders - Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks - actors dressed in period costume with the homeowners in shot

French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks © BBC

French and Saunders - Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks - actors dressed in period costume wwalking through the garden with the homeowners in shot

French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks © BBC

French and Saunders - Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks - actors dressed in period costume with the homeowners in shot

French and Saunders – Pride and Prejudice screenshot at Finchcocks © BBC

Finchcocks is an early Georgian Manor in the Tunbridge Wells district of Kent and boasts a beautiful garden with extensive views over hop gardens and farmland, as well as being the home to an impressive collection of early instruments. The area has previously featured in Terry and Mason’s Great Food Trip (2015) and Hunted (2012).

The Kent episode of French and Saunders aired in 1996 and is now available to buy on DVD.

 

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


Covington Cross (1992)

Covington Cross characters standing in front of the castle facing the camera

Covington Cross © Gil Grant Productions/Reeves Entertainment Group/Thames Television

Creator/writer: Gil Grant

Starring: Nigel Terry, Cherie Lunghi, James Faulkner, Jonathan Firth, Tim Killick, Glenn Quinn, Ione Skye

Production Company: Gil Grant Productions, Reeves Entertainment Group, Thames Television

Kent Locations: Penshurst Place, Allington Castle 

Covington Cross is a medieval soap about the day to day concerns and struggles of the Grey family, headed up by widower, Sir Thomas Grey (Nigel Terry).

Although 13 episodes of Covington Cross were made, only seven were broadcast in America and the UK.

The series was created and written by Gil Grant (NCIS, 24, Army Wives) and stars Nigel Terry (Excalibur, Troy, Caravaggio), Cherie Lunghi (The Mission, Unforgotten, Secret Diary of a Call Girl), James Faulkner (Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Bank Job, X-Men: First Class), Jonathan Firth (Luther, Far from the Madding Crowd Far from the Madding Crowd, Pompeii: The Last Day), Tim Killick (Without a Clue, Erik the Viking, Little Claus and Big Claus Little Claus and Big Claus), Glenn Quinn (Roseanne, Angel, At Any Cost) and Ione Skye (Four Rooms, Wayne’s World, River’s Edge).

Covington Cross written in white with a picture of a castle at sunset behind

Covington Cross screenshot © Gil Grant Productions/Reeves Entertainment Group/Thames Television

The production chose Allington Castle to double as Covington Cross, the home of Sir Thomas Grey and Penshurst Place where the exterior features as the Convent in episode 2 and the Barron’s Hall as King Edward’s palace interior.

Allington Castle is set on the banks of the River Medway in 42 acres, near the town of Maidstone and features a moat, lakes and extensive gardens. The castle is now a private residence and has previously featured on productions such as  The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood (1984) and Bernard Matthews and Mars commercials.

Penshurst Place is a Medieval and Tudor style manor house set in gorgeous parkland in West Kent. The location offers formal Elizabethan gardens, state rooms and Gardens, an adventure playground and maze. Penshurst Place has previously been chosen as a film location by Wolf Hall (2015), The Great Fire (2014) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008).

Covington Cross aired in 1992.

 

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


Darling Buds of May (1991 – 1993)

Catherine Zeta Jones as Mariette standing in front of a table of food with Oast House in the background © ITV

Catherine Zeta Jones as Mariette with Oast House in the background

 

Director : David Giles, Robert Tronson, Rodney Bennett, Steve Goldie

Writer: H. E Bates, Paul Wheeler, Stephen Bill

Production Company: Excelsior, Yorkshire Television

Kent Filming Locations: Pluckley, Folkestone,

Set in Kent in the 1950’s Darling Buds of May was filmed on location in Pluckley and Folkestone. The programme focused on the Larkin family who appeared to have the ideal family life living off the land.

Pop and Ma sat by the River with a picnic smiling at the camera

Pop and Ma by the River © ITV

Catherine Zeta Jones as Mariette with Oast House in the background © ITV

Catherine Zeta Jones as Mariette with Oast House in the background

Buss Farm Oast being worked on before filming- scaffolding with crew on surround it

Buss Farm Oast being worked on before filming © Roger Holmes

Behind the scenes on Folkestone seafront- cast and crew stood on the beach with filming equipment

Behind the scenes on Folkestone seafront © Shepway District Council

Amazingly, ‘Pop’ Larkin (David Jason) has managed to avoid the tax man. In the first six episodes, tax inspector Cedric (Philip Franks) comes to the farm to collect debts and ends up abandoning his career to live the dream of country living and marry ‘Pop’s’ daughter, Mariette (Catherine Zeta Jones). The programme has long been accredited with launching Catherine Zeta Jones’ career.

The series was hugely successful and achieved high viewing figures throughout its run. The effects are still felt in the lovely village of Pluckley, Kent which still welcomes those seeking a glimpse of the ‘perfick’ life.

For many, Darling Buds of May reflects the dream Kentish Life, involving living in an Oast House and enjoying the countryside that Kent has to offer with family and friends. It is perhaps this, which made the series so popular.

Pluckley to this day remains a sleepy countryside village but it is not only famous for its Darling Buds of May appearances, it is also renowned for its more ghostly inhabitants. Pluckley has earned the title of the most haunted village in Britain. It is said that 12 to 16 ghosts inhabit the village and every year on Halloween tourists inundate the village to see if they too can have a supernatural experience. The village however remains unspoilt and picturesque, reminding visitors of its Kentish beauty as depicted in the series.

The series aired between 1991 and 1993 and is now available to buy on DVD.

 

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


Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys’ Outing (1989)

Only Fools and Horses cast walking in a row towards the camera- metal globe behind them

Only Fools and Horses The Jolly Boys’ Outing © BBC

Director: Tony Dow

Writer: John Sullivan

Starring: David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Buster Merryfield, Paul Barber, John Challis, Sue Holderness, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Kenneth MacDonald, Gwyneth Strong, Tessa Peake-Jones.

Production Company: BBC

Kent Locations: Margate, Dreamland, Broadstairs, Herne Bay

The Jolly Boys’ Outing is the 1989 Christmas Special of the popular BBC series Only Fools and Horses and sees the Trotter brothers go on their annual coach trip to Margate with the Nag’s Head regulars. However, the trip doesn’t go to plan and forces the gang to stay overnight where Del bumps into his old flame Raquel.

Renowned British comedy Only Fools and Horses is about the Trotter brothers who live in Peckham, South London and the highs and lows they face trying to get rich. The sitcom was created and written by John Sullivan (The Two Ronnies, Roger Roger) and ran from 1981 – 2003, becoming one of the most loved sitcoms.

The Jolly Boys’ Outing episode was directed by Tony Dow (Babylon 5, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show) and stars David Jason (Open All Hours, The Darling Buds of May) as Derek ‘Del Boy’ Trotter and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Goodnight Sweetheart, Rock & Chips) as Rodney Trotter and Buster Merryfield (Shroud for a Nightingale, Strangers and Brothers) as Uncle Albert.

The supporting cast also boasts many familiar face including Roger Lloyd-Pack (The Vicar of Dibley, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Tessa Peake-Jones (Marchlands, Holby City) and Paul Barber (The Full Monty, Coronation Street).

Margate was the main destination in the episode where the boys visit theme park Dreamland. The former Broadstairs Police Station also features in the episode as well as the now closed Roman Galley Pub in Herne Bay which was used for the pitstop location where the gang stop off on their journey to Margate.

Margate is a delightful seaside town with a sandy beach, harbour, arcades, and period housing. The area has been seen on screen before featuring in productions such as BBC One’s improvised drama True Love (2012) and feature film Last Orders (2002). 

Herne Bay boasts beaches and seafront gardens as well as many shops and eateries, amusement arcades and a windmill. Productions that have chosen to film in the area include Got To Dance (2012) and Things I Haven’t Told You (2008). 

The Jolly Boys’ Outing episode of Only Fools and Horses was first shown on Christmas Day 1989 and is now available on DVD.

 

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


Birds of a Feather (1989-1998)

 

Birds of a Feather cast members stood in front of a door having a conversation at a desk

Birds of a Feather – Dorien Green (Lesley Joseph), Sharon Theodopolopodos (Pauline Quirke) and Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson) © BBC

Director: Nick Wood

Starring: Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson, Leslie Joseph, Alun Lewis, Peter Polycarpou

Production Company: Alomo Productions, SelecTV

Kent Locations used: Maidstone Prison

Birds of a Feather is a comedy series about two sisters, Sharon and Tracey Stubbs who move in together after both their husbands end up in jail following an armed robbery attempt.

Sharon has been struggling and her husband’s crime isn’t a surprise whereas Tracey has been living her dream life in Chigwell and is shell-shocked to find her beloved husband is a criminal.

The sisters must get used to their enforced new circumstances and deal with their husbands being in jail as well as their sex-mad neighbour Dorien Green.

Birds of a Feather was created by Laurence Marks (Goodnight Sweetheart, The Last Laugh), and stars Pauline Quirke (Broadchurch, Emmerdale), Linda Robson (Casualty, Crossroads), Leslie Joseph (Night & Day, Rumble), Alun Lewis (Emmerdale, Lexx), and Peter Polycarpou (Evita, EastEnders).

The long running BBC franchise finished after nine series in 1998. However, in 2013 it was revived with a tenth series for ITV, and an eleventh series has been commissioned.

HM Maidstone Prison was used to film the exterior prison scenes throughout the original series.

Maidstone lies on the River Medway and is the county town of Kent offering shopping areas and parks. It is close to many tourist attractions, such as Kent Life and Leeds Castle  The Maidstone Studios has hosted filming for TV productions such as  Take Me Out. 

Birds of A Feather was shown on the BBC between 1989-1998 and is now available to buy on DVD.

 

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


Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Series One (1973)

Michele Dotrice as Betty and Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer standing in front of a train on the platform

Michele Dotrice as Betty and Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer © BBC

 

Director: Michael Mills

Writer: Raymond Allen

Starring: Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice

Production Company: BBC

Kent Locations used: Herne Bay

Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is a BBC sitcom following the accident-prone Frank Spencer (Michele Dotrice) and his ill-fated attempts to hold down a job and look after his family.

There were three series and four Christmas Specials which ran between 1973 and 1978. The show was created and written by Raymond Allen and starred Michael Crawford (The Phantom of the Opera, Hello Dolly!) as Frank Spencer and Michele Dotrice (Death in Paradise, Inside No.9) as his long-suffering wife, Betty.

Herne Bay was used as a location for two episodes of the programme’s first series. The High Street and William Street featured in the very first episode, The Job Interview, where Frank (Michael Crawford) arrives at a shop for a job interview.

The Railway Station and the Carlton Hotel feature in the episode four, Have a Break, Take a Husband ,for scenes on Frank (Michael Crawford) and Betty’s (Michele Dotrice) ill-fated second honeymoon.

Herne Bay is located on the Kent coast and boasts a delightful beach with a bandstand and seafront gardens as well as many shops and eateries, amusement arcades and a windmill. Other productions which have filmed in Herne Bay include Boomers (2014), Little Britain, Series One (2003) and Only Fools and Horses, the Jolly Boys’ Outing (1989).

The first series was originally broadcast between 15th February – 29th March 1973, and is now available to purchase on DVD.

 

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