Simon Bland in Film & TV

21/01/2015

I Love Filming In...Somerset! - 'Wolf Hall'

The next instalment of our ‘I Love Filming In’ series features the new Company Pictures drama for BBC Two, ‘Wolf Hall’, and was made in partnership with Visit Somerset. The show is based on the award winning novel of the same name by Hilary Mantel alongside its sequel ‘Bring Up The Bodies.’


This six-part series was shot on location largely across the South West of England and used six National Trust properties to recreate Tudor England. Our latest short showcases the spectacular Somerset locations used by the production and the stunning stately homes that brought the books to life.

‘Wolf Hall’ sees ‘Homeland’ actor Damien Lewis step into the shoes of Henry VIII and follows the tempestuous years leading to the King’s break with the Roman Catholic Church in order to annul his twenty year marriage to first wife, Catherine of Aragon (Joanne Whalley).. The series is seen from the perspective of the King’s closest advisor Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance) and chronicles the acts which lead to the initiation of the Church of England and Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy).

Creative England’s Production Services team helped secure some of the locations featured in the show. The team were called on in early 2014 when the production requested a historical home to double as the main house in the novel. Using our national database we were able to provide options from all over England, including the South West area. The production ultimately chose to use Somerset’s Montacute House, which was used as Henry VIII’s main London seat and the backdrop for Anne Boleyn’s arrest. Montacute’s exteriors were also used for the show’s tense jousting sequences.

Another enquiry came when the production required a specific location they’d been unable to find: a body of water with high walls of either brick or stone on either side. Our Production Services Team was able to call upon its nationwide the Film Friendly Partnership network, putting out the call to all our FFP contacts in the area. Sedgemoor District Council suggested a canal in Bridgwater. After recceing the site, the production decided it fit the bill and shot their crucial scene there in one day.

Six of the National Trust’s stately homes were used throughout the series including Barrington Court, Lacock Abbey, Chastleton House, Great Chalfield Manor and, Horton Court as well as Montacute House. Dover Castle, which is managed by English Heritage, also appears in the series as a double for the iconic Tower of London.

The production were based in Bristol and filmed key scenes at Bristol Cathedral, which doubled as Westminster Abbey. The complex shoot involving 140 extras was supported by the Bristol Film Office.

Creative England’s Crew and Facilities team was on hand when the production relocated its offices and needed make-up trainees in Somerset, Kent and Wales. The team also supplied location marshals for a number of set locations from across England.

Creative England is continuing to develop its ‘I Love Filming in England’ series to promote the English regions as great places for film and television production. We are working with The GREAT Campaign for our next ‘I Love Filming In’ shorts, which will focus on the upcoming Disney titles ‘Alice: Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. In the meantime, you can watch our ‘I Love Filming In…Somerset made in partnership with Visit Somerset below: 


To find out more about shooting in Somerset contact our Production Services Team or follow them on Twitter. Their expert advice can help ensure a smooth shoot for productions filming in the South West.

For advice on filming in Bristol, contact the Bristol Film Office.

To watch our last 'I Love Filming In...' short focusing on Disney's 'Into The Woods' click here

All images © 2014 National Trust.

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