Filming

A Perfect Location

Kentwell has been used as a film and TV location ever since the classic (and cult) Witchfinder General of the late 1960s was filmed here. We have hosted the Antiques Roadshow and were Toad Hall in the 1996 remake of Wind in the Willows with Terry Jones and Steve Coogan. We are always open to filming and TV offers.

Films

The Woman in White

Other major filming has included the acclaimed BBC serial of The Woman in White with Alan Badel, Diana Quick & Jenny Seagrove and John Shrapnel for which Kentwell provided a stunning 14 locations. These included Hamstead Heath, a Belgravia mansion and a Somerset solicitor's office among other places as well as the principal house of the series. The BBC decorated several rooms in the House for filming and their choice of wallpaper for Billiard Room and Library survives. (Patrick Phillips persuaded the BBC wall-paperers to hang the paper there with extra special care, which they did, although the decorators' bosses could not understand why it took them so long.) The BBC also added a fine Conservatory to the East Wing which the Phillips were rather sad to see go.

No Excuses

This was followed a year or two later by the rather less successful ITV series No Excuses, of which little more need be said. The producers added an extra room behind the House which the Phillips were happier to see depart.

Wind in the Willows

The next major film was Terry Jones's The Wind in the Willows with Terry Jones, Steve Coogan, Eric Idle, Antony Sher, and Nicol Williamson. This had everything: the House covered in 'snow' in the hottest August in memory (above), a new front porch, the Courtyard Maze lost beneath a fountain (and gravel); a terrible thunderstorm with lightening and torrential rain; and an early aircraft flying ever lower time and again right over the Hall.

Lesser Filming & Anonymous use

Kentwell has more often been used anaonymously in recent years when 'doubling' for other locations, such as the Tower of London, Greenwich Palace, Raglan Castle and many lesser places. Film-makers value Kentwell for this as Kentwell is seldom recognized in all its guises and they can return again and again to use the same rooms for different purposes (often in the same film).

Kentwell's Attractions for film-makers

To start with Kentwell is an unspoilt location. Little post 16th C intrudes. No TV aerials, telegraph poles, traffic (the nearest main road about a mile away), few aircraft overhead. It has rooms of several periods with its early rooms of 1500 to 1550 particularly useful. No electricty or later intrusions blight them.
Kentwell also has a vast collection of early artefacts so that these rooms can always be correctly dressed for an early period. Kentwell also has Gardens and Grounds offering great potential for just about any period from medieval onwards. It offers unmade up lengthy roads and tracks with no modern contradictions visible.

Then Kentwell offers a number of other buildings which serve well for periods from the medieval onwards. Finally, Kentwell's Rare Breed farm animals are suitable for early periods; its wagons and heavy horses are equally useful; as is its blacked out 1939 Lanchester motorcar.

The Phillips as Advisers

Film-makers often make use of the Phillips vast knowledge of what is acceptable and what not for any filming between about 1450 and 1650 with useful help for later periods. They have helped film-makers avoid many a solecism. Also they are often inventive in suggesting suitable Kentwell locations.

Kentwell's Tudors as extras

Kentwell has its own Tudors who participate in the Re-Creations of Tudor Life and are better dressed and equipped than most actors or standard extras ever can be. They are used to being Tudors and really look the part. The Phillips can select suitable extras for almost any role in their chosen period.

Who to Contact

Patrick Phillips usually personally deals with all filming. Please contact him on info@kentwell.co.uk or 01787 310207.

To find out more about using Kentwell as a filming location, call 01787 310207, or email info@kentwell.co.uk

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All images and text © Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9BA