TV and film locations in Kent
If you’ve stepped off of the train in Margate and wandered along the seafront recently you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped back in time. The area around Dreamland has been transported back to the 1980s, with a retro cinema, named the Empire, and vintage cars have been seen trundling past as well as a parade of moped riding mods. As well as this lamps and festoon lights have been fitted along the seafront and there has even been fake snow and Christmas decorations.
This is all for the new Sam Mendes film Empire of Light, starring Colin Firth and Olivia Colman. Margate has quite a buzz right now and its been exciting to see.
With this in mind, I decided to find out what other locations have been used for TV and film locations in Kent.
It’s not just the big screen putting Margate in the spotlight at the moment, if you’ve been watching the latest season of Killing Eve, you’ll ntoice many of the scenes are shot in the seaside town, with some of the landscape even being passed off as Cuba! Locals to Margate will notice In one scene where Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and former MI6 boss Carolyn Martens clash on a Cuban beach which was actually shot by the iconic Cliftonville Lido. And Villanelle’s former handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) and assassin in training Pam (Anjana Vasan) have been doing the rounds of Maragte with Arlingston House, the harbour arm, Old Town, Dreamland and Nayland Rock Hotel all featuring.
Most famously though is probably one of the most well known episodes of Only Fools and Horses, The Jolly Boys Outing. The episode sees Del boy and crew hilariously get in trouble all over the seaside town!
Whitsbale has also seen film crews throughout the town recently with the second season of Whitstable Pearl being filmed. Starring Kerry Godliman, a restaurant owner who sets up a detective agency viewers will recognise locations such as the harbour, popular pub the Neptune and the pebble beach. Based on Julie Wassamer’s murder mystery novels of the same name film crews have also been spotted in Maragte, Canterbury, Dover, Maidstone and Faversham. You can watch season 1 on Acorn tv now whilst season 2 is in production.
Also in Faversham was Channel 4 drama Southcliffe. The drama that centres around a man embarking on a killing spree was filmed in various locations including Oare Marshes and Faversham Creek.
Chatham Dockyard has been used as a location for many films and tv shows inlcuidng Bridgerton, Les Misérables, The Mummy, The Crown, Downton Abbey and even for a Kayne West music video. Most notably however is Call the Midwife. The 400 year old Dockyards were transformed into 1950s and 60s East London. Vist the Dockyards and you can go on a Call the Midwife tour. This features material from the latest series, as well as props, costumes and set, all guided by your personal costumed midwife.
This famous castle has appeared on our screens in a number of films and also TV dramas. The Great Tower and the wartime tunnels were used for blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015 starring Robert Downey Jnr and Scarlett Johansson.The medieval castle was used as an enemy Hydra base while in the early stages of the film parts of the keep and wartime tunnels can be spotted. During filming of lady Jane the castle doubled up as the Tower of London. Other films include Johnny English, The Other Boleyn Girl and Wind in the Willows.
Many other castles in Kent have been used as filming locations. Hever Castle, childhood home of Ann Bolyn was seen on the screen for The Other Bolyn Girl starring Eric Bana, Natalie Portman, and Scarlett Johansson and also in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Whilst Leeds Castle, ‘The loveliest castle in the world’ has appeared in period dramas throughout the years including The Hollow Crown and even episodes of Doctor Who.
Knole Park, one of my favourite spots for a walk in Kent and a National Trust site has appeared in Hollywood blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides. The large inner courtyard at the National Trust property was filled with gallows for an execution scene. Alongside Hever Castle it also appeared in The Other Bolyn Girl and even The Beatles music videos for Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane.
Also in Sevenoaks Penshurst Place has proven to be another popular filming location for films such as The Princess Bride and tv series Merlin.
In The Peaky Blinders, Tom Hardy’s character moved to Margate, in one scene he was pictured on the beach with Tommy but this was in fact filmed in Merseyside.
Warner bros wanted to use Canterbury cathedral in the Harry Potter films however they were refused as cathedral authorities were concerned by the ‘pagan’ theme. However Dartford Crossing did appear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – part 1 depicting a dramatic chase scene with Death Eaters.
Coming of age, romance Heartbreaker on Netflix was primarily shot in Herne Bay, including the pier, torn centre and beach. Another Netflix favourite, Sex Education also had scenes shot in Kent, the scene where Maeve retrieves her sister is shot in Folkestone’s harbour arm.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about he different TV and film locations in Kent, I get such pleasure seeing where on live on screen and can’t wait to see the new Sam Mendes film.