‘The Great British Bake Off’ is officially back.
It’s that time of year where all armchair chefs, would-be-bakers and Mary Berry enthusiasts gather to find out who will be crowned king or queen of the kitchen and who will crack under the pressure of Paul Hollywood’s cooking criticism.
Food takes the focus of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ but what about the glorious surroundings that host the tent, judges and our ten amateur bakers?
England is packed with stately homes, historical buildings and beautiful backdrops that regularly attract film productions big and small from all over the world. Here are a few of our favourites…
‘The Great British Bake Off’ has been all over the place during its six series run. The show debuted by sending its ten bakers to various spots across the country before staying-put at Valentines Mansion in Redbridge for series 2 and Somerset’s Harptree Court for three and four. The show was eventually adopted by Berkshire’s Welford Park during its transition from BBC Two to BBC One in 2014 and has been on their glorious grounds for the past two years.
It use to be that Welford was known for the abundance of snowdrop flowers that coat its grounds like a layer of fresh snowfall however now it can add a rather iconic kitchen tent to its list of notable attractions. The ‘Bake Off’ Marquee stands on the grounds for 10 weeks, with contestants, judges and presenters arriving by bus each weekend to tackle their tasks and film new episodes. The park itself has a storied history; having originally been constructed as a monastery before transitioning into the official deer hunting lodge of King Henry VIII. Today, the park is owned by Deborah Puxley who lives there with her husband and two children after inheriting it in 1997.
BBC Two’s historical drama ‘Wolf Hall’ utilised six National Trust properties to help bring audiences an authentic taste of Tudor life, the most properties ever used for one show. The series was shot on location across the South West of England, with stately homes such as Barrington Court, Lacock Abbey, Chastleton House, Great Chalfield Manor, Horton Court and Montacute House doubling for many iconic places of historic royal importance.
The show followed the rise of Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance), advisor and friend to King Henry VIII (Damien Lewis) and would-be enemy of Henry’s second wife Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy). Throughout the series, Montacute House in Somerset can be seen as Henry VIII’s main London seat and the scene of Anne Boleyn’s ill-fated arrest. The venue’s lavish gardens and green exteriors can also be seen during the show’s tense and pivotal jousting sequences. Find out more about the stately locations featured in ‘Wolf Hall’ in our Production Services blog.
Tom Hooper’s musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel ‘Les Miserables’ had Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne flexing their vocal chords in one of the most successful movies of 2012. Whilst shooting the film Hooper found the perfect location in the English regions, with Northamptonshire’s Boughton House welcoming one of the story’s most pivotal characters.
Boughton appeared on screen as the home of French revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and can be seen in the movie as the backdrop to his wedding to Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). This grand and extravagant venue has earned the nickname the ‘English Versailles’ due to its period French architectural style and has previously appeared on screen during 2012’s X Factor on ITV. For ‘Les Miserables’ director Tom Hooper and his production team utilised the knowledge and expertise of Creative England’s Production Services team to gain filming permissions and ensure a smooth shoot. Head here for more information.
Christopher Nolan may have travelled to Chicago to shoot the majority of his grim and gothic Gotham but the production had to travel to the English regions to find the perfect Wayne Manor. In 2011, Nottingham’s Wollaton Manor was visited by Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman while the cast were shooting the final chapter of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.
It was here where the production found the perfect Elizabethan mansion to double for Wayne Manor, the home of elusive millionaire and Batman’s alter-ego, Bruce Wayne. Nolan and his cast shot a number of scenes both in the hall itself and in its surrounding grounds; including the garden party sequence featured in the opening of the film. The production also constructed a graveyard on the grounds for an emotional scene featuring Michael Caine’s Alfred and made numerous internal tweaks to the mansion to help bring Wayne Manor to life.
As you can see, it’s not just The Great British Bake Off that has made use of England’s wonderful scenery. To learn more, read our location doubles book.
To find out more about filming in Nottingham, filming in Somerset or bringing your production to the English regions, contact our Production Services team who will be happy to offer their expert services, free of charge.