Where Were They Filmed?


People have a fascination for where their favourite movie or television shows was filmed, and the fact that a town is used as a location for film or television series can turn the whole place into a tourist destination, as the town of Holmfirth in Yorkshire attests. During the couple of dacades in which the TV series Last of The Summer Wine was shot there, the town's fame grew and today, even though filming finished a numver of years ago, hundreds of people come to have a cuppa at Syd's Cafe or have their photo taken on Nora Batty's steps. The shows listed here have all made the locations where they were filmed highly recognisable and in some cases like Holmfirth, quite famous.

Sherlock
(2010-2017)

Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington


In this contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories, Dr. John Watson is a war vet just home from Afghanistan. He meets the brilliant but eccentric Holmes when the latter, who serves as a consultant to Scotland Yard, advertises for a flatmate. Almost as soon as Watson moves into the Baker Street flat, they are embroiled in mysteries, and Sherlock's nemesis, Moriarty, appears to have a hand in the crimes.

Critical reception has been highly positive, with many reviews praising the quality of the writing, performances, and direction. Sherlock has been nominated for numerous awards including: BAFTAs, Emmys, and a Golden Globe, winning several awards across a variety of categories.

Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes' conflict with archnemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey), a pathologist at St. Bart's Hospital, occasionally assists Holmes in his cases. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Holmes and Watson's landlady, and series co-creator Mark Gatiss as Holmes' elder brother Mycroft.

The producers say that they wanted to "fetishise modern London in the way that the period versions fetishise Victorian London". Production was based at Hartswood Films' Cardiff production unit, Hartswood Films West, which was opened in late 2009 to take advantage of the BBC's planned Cardiff Bay "drama village". Production of the first two series was based at Upper Boat Studios, where Doctor Who had been produced.

Cardiff was more economical than in London, with some good matches for parts of London. Some architecture could not be faked, so location shooting in the English capital was necessary. The location shots for 221B Baker Street were filmed at 187 North Gower Street - Baker Street was impractical because of heavy traffic, and the number of things labelled "Sherlock Holmes", which would need to be disguised.

Only Fools and Horses
(1981-2003)

David Jason, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Lennard Pearce


Set in Peckham in south-east London, Only Fools and Horses stars David Jason as ambitious market trader Derek "Del Boy" Trotter, Nicholas Lyndhurst as his younger brother Rodney Trotter, and Lennard Pearce as their elderly Grandad. After Pearce's death in 1984, his character was replaced by Del and Rodney's Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield) who first appeared in February 1985. Backed by a strong supporting cast, the comedy series follows the Trotters' highs and lows in life, in particular their attempts to get rich.

Derek "Del Boy" Trotter, a fast-talking, archetypal South London 'fly' trader, lives in a council flat in a high-rise tower block, Flat 127 Nelson Mandela House, in Peckham, South London, SE15 - though it was filmed in Harlech Tower in Acton and later Bristol - with his much younger brother, Rodney Trotter, and their elderly Grandad (Lennard Pearce). Their mother Joan died when Rodney was young, and their father Reg absconded soon afterwards, so Del became Rodney's surrogate father and the family patriarch. Despite the difference in age, personality and outlook, the brothers share a constant bond throughout.

The show achieved consistently high ratings, and the 1996 episode "Time on Our Hands" (the last episode to feature Uncle Albert) holds the record for the highest UK audience for a sitcom episode, attracting 24.3 million viewers (over a third of the population). It was among the ten most-watched television shows of the year in the UK in 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2003. The 1996 Christmas trilogy of "Heroes and Villains", "Modern Men" and "Time On Our Hands" saw the show's peak. The first two attracted 21.3 million viewers, while the third episode - at the time believed to be the final one - got 24.3 million,[ a record audience for a British sitcom. Repeat episodes also attract millions of viewers, and the BBC has received criticism for repeating the show too often.

Owing to its exposure on Only Fools and Horses, the Reliant Regal van is now often linked with the show in the British media. The one used by the Trotters has attained cult status and is currently on display at the Cars of the Stars exhibition at the National Motor Museum, alongside many other vehicles from British and American television and movies, such as the Batmobile and the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Boxer Ricky Hatton, a fan of the show, purchased one of the original vans in 2004. Another of the vans used in the series was sold at auction in the UK for £44,000 in February 2007.

Although set in Peckham, London, the majority of the filming took place in and around Bristol. The exterior of "Nelson Mandela House" was actually filmed at Whitemead House, Duckmoor Road, Ashton, Bristol. The majority of filming took place at BBC Television Centre.

Dad's Army
(1968-77)

Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Clive Dunn


The much-repeated sitcom was subject to some hand-wringing by nervous BBC executives who feared the public would not want a comedy about the Second World War. However, the exploits of Walmington-on-Sea's Home Guard struck a chord with a nation who loved to support the underdog. Jimmy Perry and David Croft's genius lay in their ability to construct tightly crafted scripts around a perfectly cast ensemble of actors. The show focuses on the activities of a platoon of the Home Guard, which consisted of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, either because of age (hence the nickname "Dad's Army") or by being in professions exempt from conscription. The ill-advised attempt to revive Dad's Army for modern cinema audiences only served to highlight the considerable skill involved in the original.

In 2004, Dad's Army was voted fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom. It had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals. The series has influenced British popular culture, with the series' catchphrases and characters being well known. Jones had several catchphrases, including "Don't panic!", "They don't like it up 'em", "Permission to speak, sir" and talk about the "Fuzzy-Wuzzies". Mainwaring says "You stupid boy" to Pike in many episodes.

The show is set in the fictional seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea, on the south coast of England. The exterior scenes were mostly filmed in and around the Stanford Training Area, near Thetford, Norfolk. Each summer the cast and crew would come up to Thetford and stay in either the Bell or the Anchor Hotels in Bridge Street. The actors usually stayed at the more 'up-market' Bell while the crew lodged at The Anchor. Thetford Guildhall became Walmington-on-Sea Town Hall - and it was from the Guildhall clock tower that the German pilot dangled in 'Time On My Hands' (1972). The Guildhall was also used in 'The Captain's Car' (1974).

The flint cottages of Nether Row were used in four episodes: 'Man Hunt' (1969), 'The Armoured Might of Corporal Jones' (1969), 'The Big Parade' (1970) and 'Time On My Hands' (1972). Thetford's Palace Cinema featured in both 'The Big Parade' (1970) and 'A Soldier's Farewell' (1972). The Palace was also the place were the cast gathered at the end of each week's filming to view the 'rushes'. Newtown, Old Bury Road and Mill Lane, in the town, also make an appearance.

The Stanford Battle Area (STANTA) lies a few miles north of Thetford and was created during WW2 as a training area for British and NATO forces. Five villages were evacuated to create the area - namely: Stanford, Lynford, Tottington, West Tofts and Buckenham Tofts. The area provides many of the iconic locations for Dad's Army including the marvellous end-credit sequence where the platoon move across open ground wearing camouflage.

The Steam Museum at nearby Bressingham provided authentic fire engines, steam rollers and traction engines for a number of the episodes. Today, Bressingham hosts an impressive recreation of Walmington-on-Sea - as well as a collection of Dad's Army memorabilia. A Dad's Army museum has recently been set up inside Thetford Guildhall by the Friends of Thetford Dad's Army. It is quite hard to find as it lies on Cage Lane behind the Guildhall.

In June 2010, a statue of Captain Mainwaring was erected in the Norfolk town of Thetford where most of the exteriors for the TV series were filmed. The statue features Captain Mainwaring sitting to attention on a simple bench in Home Guard uniform, with his swagger stick across his knees. The statue was vandalised not long after the unveiling by a 10-year-old boy, who kicked it for 10 minutes and broke off the statue's glasses, throwing them into a nearby river. The statue has since been fixed.

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