Seven movies filmed in Welwyn Hatfield on TV this week

PUBLISHED: 22:41 23 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 24 May 2020

The fairground scene in Paddington 2 featuring Hugh Grant and Paddington was filmed in the grounds of Knebworth House. Picture: Studio Canal

The fairground scene in Paddington 2 featuring Hugh Grant and Paddington was filmed in the grounds of Knebworth House. Picture: Studio Canal

Studio Canal

Paddington, Johnny English and Queen Elizabeth I can all be seen on TV this week in movies made in Welwyn Hatfield.

Here’s seven movies to watch at home during lockdown this week – Sunday, May 24 to Friday, May 29 – that were filmed on location in Welwyn Hatfield and elsewhere in the county.

From Paddington to Johnny English, and The Favourite to Rocketman, there’s plenty of movies on TV this week that feature scenes shot in Hertfordshire.

1. Paddington

The marmalade-loving bear from the Peruvian jungle can be seen in the first Paddington movie on E4 on Sunday, May 24 at 7.10pm.

Arriving in London, the talking bear – voiced by Ben Whishaw – catches the eye of Nicole Kidman’s evil taxidermist. Scenes from the charming 2014 family comedy starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Julie Walters were shot at Hatfield House.

The live-action feature based on the popular children’s books by Michael Bond also filmed at Elstree Studios, with scenes shot in stages 1, 2 and 7.

2. The Favourite

This dark, historical comedy-drama was mostly filmed on location at Hatfield House and features a stellar cast led by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. Picture: courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. Picture: courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.

All three female leads won Academy Award nominations for their roles in Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ acerbic – and often very rude – look at court life during Queen Anne’s reign.

Peep Show and Broadchurch star Olivia Colman won the best actress Oscar as the tragic, gout-ridden, rabbit-loving monarch.

But it’s the power-play between Rachel Weisz’s character, the Duchess of Marlborough, and Emma Stone as her cousin, servant Abigail, that provides the sparks as the pair jostle for the queen’s affections – both in and out of her bed.

The real-life Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough, was from St Albans.

Rachel Weisz in the film The Favourite. Picture: by Atsushi Nishijima © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.Rachel Weisz in the film The Favourite. Picture: by Atsushi Nishijima © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

READ MORE: The story behind the Duchess of Marlborough, the Queen and the ‘Dirty Parlour Maid’

She was one of the most influential women of her day through her close friendship with Queen Anne.

The Favourite was co-written by Tony McNamara, who filmed part of new TV miniseries The Great starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult at Hatfield House.

You can watch bawdy royal romp The Favourite at 6.55pm on Sunday, May 24 on movie channel Sky Comedy.

A poster for Paddington 2 on display at the film and TV exhibition at Knebworth House last summer. Picture: Alan DaviesA poster for Paddington 2 on display at the film and TV exhibition at Knebworth House last summer. Picture: Alan Davies

3. Paddington 2

The box office success of Paddington inevitably led to a sequel, and the producers once again visited Hertfordshire to shoot scenes for the imaginatively titled Paddington 2.

This time the lovable bear’s search for the perfect birthday present for his aunt lands him in deep trouble, and he ends up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

While some of the live action adventure was shot on location at Hatfield House, it was another Hertfordshire stately home that hosted the set-piece scene where Paddington meets baddie Phoenix Buchanan, the narcissistic actor and former star of the West End theatre played by Hugh Grant.

A huge fairground was built in the grounds of Knebworth House for the movie with dozens of extras needed to populate the fair.

READ MORE: Paddington 2 filming brings fair to Knebworth Park

In the movie, the fairground scenes are supposedly set during a summer’s evening, whereas in reality, filming took place at the end of January around the time of a cold snap, with temperatures reaching minus figures.

Paddington Bear is after a rare book of London in Paddington 2. Picture: K DaviesPaddington Bear is after a rare book of London in Paddington 2. Picture: K Davies

You can enjoy the heartwarming family movie on BBC One on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25, at 7pm.

The filming of Paddington 2 wasn’t Hugh Grant’s first visit to Knebworth House though.

He also starred opposite Amanda Donohoe in 1988 Ken Russell horror movie The Lair of the White Worm, which was also shot on location at Knebworth House.

4. Rocketman

Sir Elton John is honorary life-president of Watford Football Club.

So it’s no real surprise that scenes of biopic Rocketman about the flamboyant singer, songwriter and pianist were filmed in Hertfordshire, especially with David Furnish as producer of the film and Sir Elton as executive producer.

In director Dexter Fletcher’s flick, Brocket Hall was used for scenes between Elton, played by Kingsman: The Secret Service star Taron Egerton, and manager John Reid (Richard Madden).

And Elton John’s luxury Los Angeles pad in the movie was not somewhere in California, but a mansion between Brookmans Park and Essendon. Look out for the outdoor swimming pool an overdosed Elton falls into when Rocketman is shown on Sky Cinema Drama on Monday, May 25 at 11.55am and 5.55pm.

5. Elizabeth: The Golden Age

The Hatfield estate was Elizabeth I’s childhood home.

In 1558, Elizabeth heard the news that she had ascended to the throne while sitting beneath an oak tree in Hatfield Park.

So it makes sense for this movie set in Elizabethan times to be partly shot at Hatfield House.

Although the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth was not filmed at the Hertfordshire stately home, its 2007 sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age starring Cate Blanchett at the queen and Geoffrey Rush as Sir Francis Walsingham was.

The West Garden at Hatfield House. Picture: Alan DaviesThe West Garden at Hatfield House. Picture: Alan Davies

The Marble Hall, Grand Staircase and the Long Gallery were among the areas transformed into Sir Francis Walsingham’s London house.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age is being shown on movie channel Sky Drama at 8pm on Tuesday, May 26.

6. Johnny English

You might just recognise St Albans Cathedral in this 2003 spy spoof starring Rowan Atkinson.

The coronation of Pascal Sauvage, the movie’s villain played by John Malkovich, was filmed at the Abbey.

Brocket Hall’s website also states that Johnny English was filmed on the Hertfordshire estate.

The movie can be seen on Sky Family at noon and 9pm on Tuesday, May 25.

7. Johnny English Reborn

Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling British secret agent returned to Hertfordshire for shooting of 2011 sequel Johnny English Reborn.

This time the hapless spy creates havoc on the golf course at Brocket Hall as he tries to foil a plot to assassinate the premier of China.

Watch as Johnny English flies a helicopter badly in order to get Karlenko (Mark Ivanir) to a hospital.

You can see the second Johnny English comedy spy thriller at 2.05pm and 9pm on Sky Family on Wednesday, May 27.

The crew of Spider-Man: Far From Home also visited Brocket Hall during the web-slinging teenager’s European holiday.

This epic Marvel superhero sequel starring Tom Holland can be seen on Sky Cinema channel 302 on Thursday, May 28 at 8pm.


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