With awards season upon us, everyone’s sights are very much focused on the big screen and the red carpet. But did you know that we’re not only home to fascinating Maritime heritage, we’ve also made TV and film history by featuring as many film locations?
Call the Midwife
Have you ever wondered where Call the Midwife is set? Many of the exterior shots for the popular BBC series are filmed here at The Dockyard or, perhaps better know to Call the Midwife fans, Poplar. Our pebbled streets made the perfect backdrop – albeit not so great for bicycles – a lot of practice was needed! One instantly recognisable filming location is the street with all the washing lines (see picture below). Our Call the Midwife Official Location Tours let fans explore the iconic locations and discover movie magic moments with a costumed ‘midwife’ guide – you’ll find out plenty of behind the scenes secrets and get access to an exclusive exhibition with set, props and costumes.
© Neal Street Productions 2011
The Golden Compass (2007)
The fantasy adventure film based on the first novel in Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, filmed some scenes around the Dockyard. Kent Film Office reports – “The sequence The Landing of Lyra and the Gyptians at the fictional Norwegian port of Trollesund was filmed at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. When Lyra first disembarks at the town of Trollesund, she did, in fact, step straight into the dockyard, where the Mast Houses and Mould Loft were dressed to look like the town’s harbour. CGI mountains were added to the background to create the illusion that the town has a fjord setting”.
The Big Painting Challenge (2018)
For its 2018 finale The Big Painting Challenge chose various locations around the Historic Dockyard site. The first challenge was to paint a self-portrait followed by the masterclasses, all filmed in the Tarred Yarn Store. The final challenge allowed contestants to choose any motif and, unsurprisingly, there were a few paintings of ships that made it to the final exhibition in No. 3 Slip.
Children of Men (2006)
For this dystopian action thriller film, No. 3 Slip provided a great location for Clive Owen and Julianne Moore to film the scene in the empty activist safehouse.
© Jaap Buitendijk ©2006 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Sherlock Holmes (2011)
With our cobbled streets, industrial buildings and Victorian architecture, we made the best filming location for the Sherlock Holmes films. You may recognise us in the following scenes – fight scene, the exterior to the Punch Bowl Pub, entering the prison to see Blackwood, hanging of Lord Blackwood, prison exterior and more such as the photo below of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.
© Warner Bros
Les Misérables (2013)
Based on the classic novel by Victor Hugo and the award winning Cameron Mackintosh musical, Les Miserables has been seen by thousands of people. But did you realise that some of its iconic scenes where filmed in Kent? The Dockyard doubled as a factory, a court room and various streets for the film released in 2013.
Anne Hathaway as Fantine © Universal Pictures
For all four seasons, Mr Selfridge recreated the exteriors of Selfridges Oxford Street Store at the Dockyard along Anchor Wharf (by our Steam, Steel and Submarines gallery).
Oscar nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh (Mr Turner) portrays one of England’s bloodiest episodes, the Peterloo Massacre of 1819. Government guards charged and attacked a peaceful protest held by 80,000 people in Manchester demanding democratic reform. The production used the Tarred Yarn Store (see below) and the exterior of the Ropery to double as a Cotton Mill in Manchester.
Screenshot from trailer © 2018 – Film4
For more information about filming locations in Kent and specifically at the Dockyard, take a look at kentfilmoffice.co.uk. You’ll find the latest information about what was filmed including Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, The Aeronauts, Red Joan with Judi Dench, Year of the Rabbit and more.
Want to find out more about filming locations to hire? Visit our filming page here to find out more.