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Holkham on Screen

May 5, 2020 | Holkham flicks | 5 minute read

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Pass the popcorn, put your feet up and get ready to explore some of the many different films that have been shot at Holkham over the years. From war films to sci-fi, romance to historical drama, you may never have known that Holkham Hall, beach and nature reserve have had so many starring roles!

Operation Crossbow

Let’s start back in the 1960s with this WW2 film where allied agents attempt to infiltrate the Nazis’ rocket research site. In addition to great names such as Sophia Loren, George Peppard and Trevor Howard, Holkham’s pine woods star as the Peenemünde flying bomb site.


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The pine woods starring in Operation Crossbow

A Warning to the Curious – MR James

I love MR James ghost stories, but why wait until Christmas to indulge? Possibly one of TV’s most terrifying films, A Warning to the Curious follows the downtrodden, recently unemployed Paxton who has travelled to ‘Seaburgh’ in north Norfolk to search for one of the lost Saxon crowns of Anglia. Starring alongside Peter Vaughan are Holkham beach and pine woods, although I’m not going to tell you the role they play as that will give the game away!


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A Warning to the Curious – watch from behind a cushion

All the King’s Men

The heroic, heart-wrenching story of the Sandringham Company who disappeared in action at Gallipoli in WW1, starring David Jason as Captain Frank Beck and Holkham in various guises. Perhaps you recognise East Lodge? I was loaned this film recently by Neil, our Head of Finance, who told me that the ‘love’ scene was shot in the corridor right next to the Marketing Office. That will forever be in my head now.


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All The Kings Men – watch with a hanky

The Duchess

It is so intriguing to see how producers chop and change locations, and I loved seeing Keira Knightley arrive at Somerset House in London, go inside, and end up in Holkham Hall’s state rooms – aka Devonshire House. The views across the parkland also feature as her and Ralph Fiennes’ country residence. At the time, the filming of this caused huge excitement locally, with the biggest queue Norfolk has ever seen for the auditions in Fakenham for ‘extras’.


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Lord and Lady Leicester with Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley during filming of The Duchess

My Talks with Dean Spanley

My favourite film on this list. Not enough people know about this one – a delightful, quirky tale of reincarnation, friendship and dogs. Peter O’Toole and Sam Neill give great performances alongside their co-star Holkham Hall’s library.


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Dean Spanley – there’s a great little dog in this film too….

Shakespeare in Love

Love it or hate it, this romcom managed to win seven Oscars and starred Holkham Beach in its famous final scene supporting Gwyneth Paltrow, as she thankfully survives a shipwreck.


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Shakespeare in Love’s main star – Holkham Beach

Never Let Me Go

Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, the dystopian Never Let Me Go explores humanity, science, boundaries and perceptions of reality. Holkham Beach starred alongside all three of the main actors – Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. Not a joyous watch, but certainly a film that stays with you.


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Holkham Beach in Never Let Me Go


This sci-fi film was much talked about in the local media when it was filmed on Holkham Beach in 2016. Skeletons, big logs and strange structures kept surprising locals walking their dogs. Alongside Natalie Portman, Holkham Beach starred as ‘Area X’ and we think did a pretty good job at pretending to be in America.


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Filming of Annihilation on Holkham Beach c. Paramount/Netflix

Jackpot Joy

And lastly, for a bit of fun, who could resist watching Barbara Windsor whizzing around Holkham Hall’s state rooms on her mobility scooter in this Jackpot Joy advert. Take a close look at the artwork, Barbara has been redecorating! Click here to view on YouTube


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