Box Office Bucks!
It has played host to Captain America, James Bond, Cinderella, Harry Potter, Robin Hood, the Cybermen, Snow White, Scrooge and Monty Python among many others.
Though situated in the beautiful heart of south east England, it has appeared on screen as Hogwart’s Forbidden Forest, Transylvania, Switzerland, the Crimea, the Palace of Versailles and a rebel training camp in Uganda.
We are talking about Black Park Country Park, run by Buckinghamshire County Council, one of the most filmed locations in the UK. And It’s just one of many beautiful and iconic sites in the county that film and TV fans will be only too familiar with, often without even realising it.
Buckinghamshire has recentlybeen named the second most filmed county in England, according to a new survey, with more than 360 movies and TV shows shot on location there, which is great news for local taxpayers.
Recent movies made in the county include Spectre, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Victoria and Abdul, Bridget Jones’ Baby, Genius, Their Finest Hour And A Half, Me Before You, Legend, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game and the Monuments Men.
Cinema-goers will soon see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, filmed in Buckinghamshire, and early scenes of the blockbuster Disney sequel Maleficent 2 are currently being shot in Black Park.
Quite simply, when it comes to movies, there’s Hollywood, there’s Bollywood….and there’s Pinewood, the famous studios situated next to Black Park and a big reason why Buckinghamshire is such a magnet for those seeking film locations.
According to research compiled by GoCompare from filming location information on the IMDb website, Buckinghamshire can boast 367 films and TV shows made in the county, second only toKent which has had 401.
With the proximity of Pinewood, the home of James Bond and Harry Potter, Black Park is the most filmed location in the county, with Captain America: The First Avenger, Casino Royale, Willow, Stardustand Snow White and the Huntsman among the numerous movies filmed there.
West Wycombe Park is second, with films such as Rough Cut, The Importance of Being Earnest and Downton Abbey shot on location. West Wycombe House doubled as a ‘Russian’ military retreat in X-Men First Class and provided the scene where Emma Frost (January Jones) was interrogated.
Waddesdon Manor is frequently used as a period French chateau, as well as providing exterior scenes for Downton Abbey. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Queen and The Counselor were also filmed there.
Dorney Court, Cliveden, Stowe House, Hedsor House, Mentmore Towers, Chenies Manor, Halton House and Stoke Park have all featured regularly in big movies and TV shows, as have the woodlands at Burnham Beeches, proving that Buckinghamshire is very much a film-maker’s dream.
This year also sees the 50th anniversary of the classic movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with its memorable locations including the windmill home of Caractacus Potts, filmed at Cobstone Windmill, near the picturesque Buckinghamshire village of Turville,which has itself featured in many film and TV scenes and was the setting for much of the Vicar of Dibley series.
Even the County Hall complex in Aylesbury has featured in the filming of Judge John Deed and Lynda La Plante’s’She’s Out’ series, and the former shopping centre in nearby Friars Square was used as a futuristic urban scene for A Clockwork Orange, though it ended up on the cutting room floor.
It’s not just the beautiful parks and iconic properties that draw in the film-makers.
As well as making it easy for the movie men and women to film in the county’s beautiful countryside, Buckinghamshire is one of only two counties in the country that have speciallegislation allowing the county council to grant filming rights on the highways.
County Council Leader, Martin Tettsaid: “Buckinghamshire is a film-friendly county and the economic benefits to the area when you have a big feature film being made here are substantial.
“We work hard to maximise the benefit derived from filming in the county for the local community, while minimising any disruption and delivering a professional service to the film-makers.”
Andrew Smith, Corporate Affairs Director at Pinewood Studios, said: “Millions of film fans will be familiar with Buckinghamshire scenes. The county has such a variety and wealth of different locations which can double up as other places.
“Obviously, having Pinewood as a filming hub here with some 250 tenants all making films and TV helps, and we are about to have the ground-breaking ceremony in July before the start of construction on an additional six sound stages.”
Andrea Calderwood, producer of the movieA Little Chaos, with Kate Winslet, tasked with helping to build the gardens at the French Palace of Versailles, told how she had expected to have to film half of it in France, but actuallyfound she had all the locations she needed in England, and great places for the cast and crew to stay as well. They used, Waddesdon Manor, Cliveden and Black Park for filming.
Andreasaid: “What is fantastic about shooting in an area like Buckinghamshire is the flexibility and versatility of the locations you find there. Somewhere like Black Park, for example, gives you a huge range of different looks.”
The Creative Industries are worth £10million an hour to the UK economy and are the fastest growing part of the UK economy, employing almost two million people, and the attractiveness of Buckinghamshire to film-makers means the county is well positioned for a box-office boost.
Filming charges, mainly from location fees, earned Buckinghamshire County Council more than £1.75 million in the ten years to the end of January 2016. It’s one of the reasons why the county’s beautiful country parks, maintained by the council for the public, are self-financing.
Creative England has estimated the average amount a production would spend on local employment and services when filming on location per day to be more than £42,000.