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Famous film locations in Berkshire

PUBLISHED: 12:23 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:27 10 May 2017

Gothic-style Oakley Court at night: perfect for a bit of Hammer mayhem or Rocky Horror

Gothic-style Oakley Court at night: perfect for a bit of Hammer mayhem or Rocky Horror

Archant

We take a look at the Berkshire locations that have featured in films

Windsor

Whether it’s a right old Carry On, 16th century courtly machinations, or even standing in for a bit of Devon, the royal town has provided the vital backdrop for many years. And when it comes to the Carry On franchise it’s even stood in for the supposed town of ‘Much Snogging-on-the-Green’ in 1970’s Carry On Loving, given away by Windsor Castle scene stealing.

Even the loo in the then still to be revamped Windsor and Eton Central Station gets a look in, as does the Harte and Garter hotel, and an office in Park Street as a marriage bureau (it had been an employment agency in the earlier Carry On Regardless). The station is also supposedly in Exeter for 1982’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a film better known for Meryl Streep on The Cobb at Lyme Regis in Dorset.

Windsor Great Park is always popular for filming historical epics and fantasies, such as the 2010 version of Robin Hood. In 2015’s Cinderella it’s where the heroine meets her stag-hunting prince, while in Theatre of Blood (a 1973 drama with Diana Rigg and Vincent Price) the police finally catch up with someone they need to question in The Long Walk.

In King Ralph, the 1991 film where a Las Vegas singer inherits the throne, John Goodman takes a carriage in The Long Walk with the Prime Minister. Perhaps the strangest use of Windsor Great Park is in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, where it has a brief part as the Cambodian jungle, with a lot of behind the scenes ‘tech work’.

Eton

With the college dating back nearly 600 years since foundation and the picturesque High Street, it’s no surprise that the town is a popular choice.

One of the most memorable scenes from the 1981 Best Picture Oscar winner Chariots of Fire 1981 takes place there. The college stood in for Cambridge’s Caius College as the young runners race round the quad.

Few films with royal history seem able to avoid Eton; these include The Madness of King George (as the Palace of Westminster) and Henry VIII and His Six Wives. The latter starred Keith Michell, Donald Pleasence, Charlotte Rampling and Jane Asher. This time Eton ‘plays’ Hampton Court and the execution of Queen Catherine Howard is staged in the college quad. In 1998’s Shakespeare in Love the college’s courtyard appears as the exterior of a church.

One of the most interesting appearances is in My Week with Marilyn, the 2011 movie chronicling Marilyn Monroe’s arrival at Pinewood, where she filmed The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956 with a somewhat despondent Lord Olivier. The blonde bombshell is taken on a day trip to Windsor by the story’s narrator, one Colin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne. Both are former Eton boys and scenes where the actress delights castle staff were actually filmed at 
the college.

Basildon Park

Keira Knightley should be familiar with this National Trust house by now: it appeared as Netherfield Park for Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and three years later in The Duchess. Basildon Park has also appeared in Marie-Antoinette (2006) alongside French chateaux, and the 2009 version of Dorian Gray.

The interior would be recognisable to any Downton Abbey fan as it was used for Grantham House, the Crawleys’ London mansion.

Oakley Court

The now luxurious hotel and restaurant retains all the Gothic attractions which made it a natural home for Hammer Films nearly 70 years ago, where five early films were produced, before the company moved next door to what was to become Bray Studios. The closeness of the mansion meant that it would always be a favourite location. So it helped to provide a creepy backdrop in films about Dracula, witches, zombies and a reptilian creature spreading a Black Death-style plague, and even a comedy version of The Hound of the Baskervilles with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

But it’s best known – and still attracting visitors today – for the ‘major role’ as Dr Frank N Furter’s castle in 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Ockwells Manor

The timber-framed 15th century manor house at Cox Green, near Maidenhead was used for filming of Beau Brummel, a 1954 movie starring Stewart Granger, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Morley and Peter Ustinov. It’s also been portrayed as a safe house in The Professionals series on TV and appeared in the 1979 Dick Turpin series.

Cliveden

The luxury hotel once home to the Astor family stands in beautiful National Trust grounds with amazing views, so it’s easy to see why directors would want to shoot there. But we start with an unusual choice – it doubles as the home of Sir Rodney Ffing – Sid James – in Carry On – Don’t Lose Your Head. It’s a send up of the Scarlet Pimpernel tale with Sir Rodney transforming into the Black Fingernail.

But Cliveden’s film ‘back catalogue’ is better known for its appearance as Buckingham Palace in The Beatles’ Help! and as the supposed Grand Hotel, Piccadilly Circus in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. Then there’s a ‘cameo’ in Chaplin, another Downey Jr film, where it is the setting for a riverside audition.

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