Since it was built by Henry II in 1180, Dover Castle has towered over Kent’s iconic White Cliffs defending our shores. The truth, however, is, that the castle was initially built as a calling card for the newly formed British nation rather than a defensive fort. For 12th Century standards, the castle was a grand extravagance, furnished with opulent tapestries and fittings.
In 2008, English Heritage undertook the mammoth task to transform the castle’s interior to reflect Henry II’s time. Over 150 craftsmen, historians and designers came together to design an authentic 12th Century feel. Over £2 million pounds was allocated to the project, which went towards authentically designed furnishings as well as the creation of historical scenarios using light and sound effects.
Time Team were invited to observe the transformation and record the tower before it officially opened to the public. In this one off programme, Tony Robinson meets with the experts involved in the restoration, providing viewers with exclusive access to this exciting project.
The screen adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s best selling novel The Other Boleyn Girl is a dramatic story of love, passion and ambition set in the cut-throat court of Henry VIII. Mary (Scarlett Johansson), considered the more beautiful sister, gains the young king’s (Eric Bana) attention and, though married, becomes his mistress. When it becomes politically adventageous, Mary is cast aside for her dazzling young sister Anne (Natalie Portman) and can only watch as Anne’s ruthless pursuit of the crown propels her towards her doom.
The Boleyn family had extensive connections with Kent; the family lived in Hever Castle while Henry VIII adored Knole. With this connection in mind, filming took place at three fantastic locations across Kent.
Filming in Kent began atKnole in Sevenoaks, a grand house set in a deer park that Henry VIII was so impressed with; he demanded that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer give it to him. In the film, Knolewas the setting for many of the film’s London night scenes and the inner courtyard doubles for the entrance of Whitehall Palace where the grand arrivals and departures were staged.
Production then moved to Penshurst Place near Tonbridge, which was also once owned by Henry VIII and where the unspoiled estate and gardens still bring the Tudor era to life. The Baron’s Hall was transformed into the interiors of Whitehall Palace to film the scenes of Henry’s extravagant feast. The Tudor Gardens were also used for the scene where Anne (Natalie Portman) and the King (Eric Bana) talk about their relationship.
As England’s oldest fortress at the shortest sea crossing to Continental Europe, Dover Castle was a vital strategic centre in the Tudor era and able to provide the ideal setting for the final and climatic scenes in The Other Boleyn Girl. Dover Castle was transformed into the Tower of London for the execution scenes of George Boleyn (Jim Sturgess) and Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman).
To celebrate the cinematic release and the locations that were used in the film, the Kent Film Office and Kent Tourism Alliance in association with Universal, National Trust, English Heritage, Penshurst Place, Hever Castle and the Heart of Kent released a movie map in 2011 to highlight the Kent locations to the world! You can download your own The Other Boleyn Girl movie map and to find out more about the Kent Campaign at: https://kentfilmoffice.co.uk/kent-movie-map/austens-in-kent/
The Other Boleyn Girl features in the Kent Film Office Tudor(ish) Trail, released in May 2016, celebrating Kent’s Tudor history and film connections.
The film was released on 7th March 2008 and is now available on DVD.
This feature film is set in 1645 at the end of the English Civil War. The rebel New Model Army has defeated the Royalist forces of King Charles I and Lord Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell emerge as heroes. Now the pair seeks to reform the crown and execute the King which leads to civil unrest.
Starring in this gripping historical drama is Tim Roth(Lie to Me, United Passions, Skellig), Dougray Scott(There Be Dragons, Doctor Who, Sinbad), Rupert Everett(Shrek, St Trinian’s, Stardust), Olivia Williams(Anna Karenina, Justin and the Knights of Valour, Sabotage) and Corin Redgrave(Spooks, Foyle’s War, The Trial of King Killers).
The production visited Kent to film at Penshurst Place where the interiors doubled as Cromwell’s living quarters. Dover Castle doubled as The Tower of London and the castle’s tunnels were also used in the scene where Fairfax and Cromwell search for the king’s missing gold.
Kevin and Perry Go Large is a feature film spin-off from the popular character’s of Harry Enfield’s TV series and follows the teenage pair as they go on holiday to Ibiza in the hope of becoming superstar DJ’s and meeting girls. Their holiday is seemingly ruined when Kevin’s parents tag along but will meeting DJ Eyeball Paul make their dreams come true?
Portraying the comical duo is Harry Enfield(Skins, Bad Education) and Kathy Burke (The Catherine Tate Show, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) alongside Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, The Amazing Spiderman), James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Louisa Rix (Harry Enfield and Chums, Miranda) and Paul Whitehouse (The Fast Show, Alice in Wonderland).
Dover Castle featured in the film during the opening scene where Kevin dreams about saving Anne Boleyn from execution.
The Wind in The Willows– Mr Toad’s WildRide is a feature film loosely based on the classic novel by Kenneth Grahame, sometimes referred to as ‘the Monty Python version’.
The story follows Mole whose home is bought up and marked for development by the evil Weasels. Working with his friends, Mole attempts to win back his home.
Directed by Terry Jones (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian), the film has an ensemble cast including Steve Coogan(I’m Alan Partridge, Philomena), Eric Idle (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Nuns on the Run), John Cleese (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Fawlty Towers), Stephen Fry (Gosford Park, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows)Bernard Hill (Titanic, The Lord of the Rings) Michael Palin (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda) and Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Emma).
The production filmed at Dover Castle, which doubled as the Gaol as well as The Old School in Chiddingstone (now the post office) which features as the Welcome Inn where Toad dines before stealing and crashing a motorcar.
When Prince Hamlet returns to Denmark following the death of his father, he discovers his mother has already married his uncle Claudius who has now been crowned King. They encourage Hamlet to marry his only love, the young Ophelia, but Hamlet remains troubled over his mother’s new husband. When the ghost of his father appears before him and reveals that he was murdered, Hamlet becomes dangerous to those around him.
Zeffirelli’s adaptation of the famous Shakespearean tragedy stars Mel Gibson as the Dark Prince, Glenn Close as his mother Gertrude and Alan Bates as Claudius. Helena Bonham Carter also makes an appearance as Ophelia.
Local Resident Tina Easterby experienced filming on a Hollywood film set when she worked as an extra in the film. She had this to say “In 1990 while I was studying for A levels, myself and my fellow Theatre Studies students were invited to tour the set of Hamlet at Dover Castle. As you can imagine at the age of 17 we were beside ourselves with excitement. However it only got better when we were all offered extras parts for 3 days. Hey, we were only servants but just to be on the same set as Glenn Close, Mel Gibson and Franco Zefferrelli was worth it. The castle looked stunning, in what would have been original costumes, with knights on horseback and misty, murky weather. We had a wonderful time!”
Dover Castlemakes its first appearance in the title credits for the film. Used to portray the Danish Castle of Elsinore, the castle battlements feature in one of the most dramatic scenes of the film: Hamlet speaking with the ghost of his dead father. Built in the 13th Century, the Castle is situated above the White Cliffs of Dover and has guarded our shores for 20 centuries. At the heart of the site stands the Great Tower of the castle which stands at a height of 83 ft. It is here that many of the scenes for Hamlet were shot.
Dover Castlehas featured in many films throughout its history. It appeared as the Tower of London in both Lady Jane (1986) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). A popular tourist attraction, Dover Castleinvites visitors to experience life in Henry II’s court and visit the secret WWII tunnels, the HQ of Operation Dynamo. With its striking position within the landscape and medieval architecture it is an ideal location for any film production.
When the death of King Henry VIII throws the country into chaos, the question of succession to the throne must be resolved. While the King’s surviving son Prince Edward lies on his death bed, a scheming John Dudley resolves to marry his son Guildford (Cary Elwes) to Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter), great niece of Henry VII and place her on the throne after the king’s death. Unwilling to be married, Guildford and Jane are at first unhappy with Dudley’s plans, but over time, their love for each other blossoms just as a chain of events threatens to rip them apart.
This costume drama sheds light on England’s reformation in 1553 as the Duke of Northumberland attempted to guarantee a Protestant monarchy and keep Catholic Princess Mary from the throne.
The film is directed by Trevor Nunn (King Lear, Oklahoma!) and star Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, The King’s Speech) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Saw) as young lovers Jane and Guildford, alongside John Wood (WarGames, Chocolat) and Patrick Stewart(Star Trek and X-Men series).
Three of Kent’s Castles feature in the film: the Long Gallery at Hever Castle was used for the scene where Lady Jane (Helena Bonham Carter) and Princess Mary (Jane Lapotaire) meet and talk about God and the moat around Leeds Castlewas used to double as some of the exterior of Lady Jane’s home. Dover Castledoubles as the Tower of London, including the execution scenes at the end of the film.
Near Maidstone is the magnificent Leeds Castle, which is set within 500 acres of parkland and gardens and surrounded by a moat. This location boasts a mote and maze and state rooms including original marble bathrooms. The location has previously featured in productions such as Gadget Man (2014), Henry VIII(2003) and Kind Hearts and Coronets(1949).
Hever Castle was originally built as a country house in the 13th Century, but the Boleyn family, who held a seat there from 1462 till 1539, transformed parts of the castle into a Tudor manor. Today it offers three floors containing antique furniture and Tudor artefacts which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the county. The location has been used for filming projects including Walking Through History (2013), Inkheart (2008) and Anne of a Thousand Days (1969).
Starring: Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, Roger Delgado, Pik Sen Lim
Production Company: BBC
Kent locations used: The junction of Archer’s Court Road with Pineham Road in Whitfield, Dover Castle, the hangar at Former RAF Swingate, the former Manston Airport, now Stone Hill Park
The Mind of Evil is a six part story of popular sci-fi show, Doctor Who, starring Jon Pertwee. The Doctor and his companion, Jo, arrive at Stangmoor Prison for the demonstration of a machine that has been created by Professor Keller to pacify criminals. However, when the Doctor discovers that his enemy, the Master, is involved he does everything to stop him before it is too late.
Jon Pertwee (Worzel Gummidge, Jackanory) stars as the third Doctor alongside Katy Manning (Gloria’s House, Evil Never Dies), Roger Delgado (First Man Into Space, The Road to Hong Kong), Nicholas Courtney (The Sarah Jane Adventures, Downtime), Richard Franklin (Emmerdale, Twilight of the Gods) and Pik Sen Lim (Emergency-Ward 10, Mind Your Language).
The production filmed in Kent where they visited Dover Castlewhich doubled as the exterior of Stangmoor Prison the junction of Archer’s Court Road with Pineham Road in Whitfield which was the location where the Master’s troops ambush the missile convoy. The hangar at Former RAF Swingate was used as the Master’s hiding place for his deadly missile and Stone Hill Park, formerly Manston Airport which was the base for the helicopter company providing the choppers and aerial footage in the series.
Dover Castle was founded in the 11th century and defended the coast of Britain for almost 500 years. It is now run by English Heritage as a tourist attraction and is a very popular filming location having welcomed productions such as The Apprentice(2015), Wolf Hall(2015) and To Kill a King(2003).