Lights, Camera, Action!
I had an interesting day following a trail of film and TV connections in and around Tunbridge Wells. Finchcocks has often provided perfect historical props for period dramas, their pianos have been seen in Jane Austen films like Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French filmed one of their delicious parodies at Finchcocks, spoofing the whole costume drama genre in their inimitable style. Finchcocks is situated on the Scotney Estate where the fairytale Castle is situated, ruined in a lake.
It featured in the 1979 film Yanks starring Richard Gere. Scenes from the previous World War were shot at Bayham Abbey which was made to look like a military hospital in Belgium for "Oh What A Lovely War". Next weekend Bayham Abbey is the romantic backdrop for a staging of the opera Carmen as part of the Lamberhurst Music Festival. It is a truly magical experience sitting amongst the ruins under the stars. Speaking of stars - Damien Lewis was spotted at Penshurst Place a couple of weeks ago!
Word is out that Wolf Hall is being filmed there with Damien taking the part of Henry VIII - when he was young and handsome of course. The Barons Hall at Penshurst Place is so well preserved it is frequently chosen to feature in films set in the past. You can see it in Anne of the Thousand Days, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Princess Bride. The floorboards in the Long Gallery have been recorded to produce the perfect creaking effects in the Harry Potter films.
Hever Castle is another favourite location that is frequently to be spotted in films set in Tudor times. The village of Chiddingstone plays a very important role in "A Room with a View" which was also filmed at Emmetts Garden, the perfect setting for Lucy (Helena Bonham-Carter) and Cecil's (Daniel Day-Lewis) engagement party. Peter Greenaway chose Groombridge Place as the setting for his elegant drama "The Draughtsman's Contract" and the House and grounds starred in the most recent version of the much filmed Pride and Prejudice with Donald Sutherland as Mr Bennett and Keira Knightly as Elizabeth. Kent is an excellent choice for filmmakers being so close to London and its studios and having such a wealth of beautiful houses, castles and gardens to choose from. Keep your eyes peeled and let us know when you spot one our sites or villages on the silver screen!