TV and movie locations threatened with development in Hertsmere Local Plan
- Credit: Charlotte Sterland
Iconic countryside filming locations which have appeared on our screens for decades are being threatened by housing developments.
In response to pressure from the government for more housing, neighbouring Hertsmere Borough Council's new Local Plan includes proposals to build 760 homes a year between 2022 and 2038.
But many of these housing developments are close to parts of the county which have been used for TV and movie filming locations for decades, as identified by the North Mymms History Project, on the doorstep of Welwyn Garden City and Potters Bar.
Charlotte and Heather Sterland, who have used the area for some of their music and film productions,said: "The council is keen to support the expansion of Elstree Studios and the upcoming Sky Studios with the infrastructure it needs, but it needs to listen to what it is about the area which makes it appealing to film makers.
Elstree Studios is proud of its use of the Hertfordshire countryside for filming, and boasts that "there are a multitude of spectacular and diverse filming opportunities within an hour's drive... Options include film friendly market towns, stunning country houses, countryside, industrial, quintessential English villages, period buildings and streets..."
IN 2015, a Film Friendly Charter was signed between Herts county council, local district and borough councils and Creative England, promising to build on the county's reputation as a first-class filming destination by ensuring cooperation and commitment to assist film and television production in the county.
They added: "If we chip away at this iconic Green Belt land - which has been used since the studio's inception in the early 20th century - we will start to erase its legacy.
"This is not just about preserving one of the most famous areas of Green Belt land in the country, but about making sure that the countryside will be there for future generations of film makers."
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Some of the threatened locations include:
North Mymms House
The house and gardens served as the set for Girls Will Be Boys, directed by Marcel Varnel in 1934, starring Dolly Haas and Cyril Maude, and appeared in the 1983 version of The Wicked Lady, about Wheathampstead highwaywoman Katherine Ferrers.
St Mary's Church, North Mymms
The vicarage featured in various TV shows, including The Avengers, with the churchyard being the final resting place of Cindy Beale in EastEnders.
Black Horse Lane, South Mimms
Seen in The House on Haunted Hill, a 1969 episode of the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Mike Pratt and Kenneth Hope.
The movie version of comedy series On The Buses (1971) filmed here, very close to where one of the housing developments is planned.
Brookmans Park Transmitting Station
Appeared as the HQ of Cypher Division in The Avengers (1968).
Brookmans, Bradmore Green, Brookmans Park
The former Brookmans Park Hotel, to the left of Brookmans, featured in Journey to the Unknown (1968), and the dining room at Brookmans itself was in a 2009 Go Compare advert.
Well End, Borehamwood
The country lanes in this area can be spotted in many episodes of The Saint, The Invisible Man and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).
Early silent film The Motor Pirates, directed by Arthur Melbourne-Cooper from St Albans, features the ford at Colney Heath alongside Coursers Road.
Budgie Café, former Corner Café, Dixons Hill Road, Welham Green
Renamed after TV show Budgie, which starred Adam Faith as the petty criminal, following filming at the café in 1971. It would later appear in Return of the Saint (1977), starring Ian Ogilvy as Simon Templar, and the film Never Too Young to Rock (1976), featuring pop group Mud.
Dellsome Lane, Welham Green
A scene from Johnny English Strikes Again (2018), starring Rowan Atkinson as the bumbling secret agent, was shot outside the shops here.
Bullen's Green Lane
The Droogs are seen driving along a country lane and under a lorry in a scene from A Clockwork Orange filmed here at the crossroads with Fellowes Lane.