Tuesday, October 24, 2023

News: Why do top productions choose to film at Wentworth Woodhouse?


A number of feature films and big budget TV productions have been filmed at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham. Volunteers in the digital team explain why.

One of the most recent, Bodies, a mystery with four detectives, four time periods, and four dead bodies, used the Grade I listed stately home as a location. Airing on Netflix this month, the key crime scene, Longharvest Lane, was created at Wentworth Woodhouse.

HBO shut down the site earlier this year for its production, The Regime starring Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant.

Adam Widdowson, digital team volunteer at Wentworth Woodhouse said: "When these productions arrive, the house is transformed into bustling working sets. Trucks, trailers and vans line the front lawn, thousands of pieces of kit line hallways, miles of cables run throughout the house and hundreds of cast and crew members work together to make sure the production runs smoothly."

Ryan Widdowson, digital team volunteer at Wentworth Woodhouse, added: "As someone who's had the exciting opportunity to work as a locations marshall on these sets, it's fascinating to see the behind the scenes of how what we see on the screen is put together and the vast amount of work that takes place to make these productions happen."

The house is now in the ownership of a preservation trust and its famous Marble Saloon played host to the Downton Abbey movie and also featured in The Crown as a banqueting hall within the Kremlin.

Various locations throughout the house and grounds were used in Gentleman Jack for The BBC, including the Whistlejacket Room which was transformed into a cafe in the Louvre, and the entrance to the Stables doubled up as the gates of Paris.

One of the biggest production challenges was when Netflix built a set within a set in the five's court for The Irregulars, doubling as a street in Victorian London. When Netflix first saw the site, the floor of the courtyard was covered in 20th century tarmac. They offered to remove this to discover if any of the original cobbles remained underneath as they wanted an authentic floor covering for the set. Luckily the cobbles were still present.

For ITV's Victoria, Chapel Corridor became part of the Houses of Parliament and the low drawing room was used as the interior of Number 10 Downing Street.

On the big screen, Wentworth Woodhouse stood in for the Royal Academy in London for Mike Leigh's Mr Turner, and for Oscar winning feature film, Darkest Hour, the Whistlejacket room was used as interior of Buckingham Palace. Scenes were also filmed on the Portico which was used as the palace balcony where the King and Churchill looked out on wartorn London.

Adam explained why productions choose to use Wentworth Woodhouse as a filming location. He said: "It's a huge venue with multiple sites to choose from that feature a variety of periods of architectural styles, inside and out. We also have a large and beautiful garden which contains several historic structures.

"Much of the house that our regular visitors can see looks very grand but there are also a lot of dilapidated and derelict areas too which means that productions can film multiple scenes in one shoot location."

Ryan added: "The fact that the house is empty for the most part means they don't have to work around priceless paintings and furniture or empty out any rooms before they start work. They can bring exactly what they need to dress each room as required, saving productions a lot of precious time and money. Plus with all that space, there's plenty of room for their unit base and all the cast, crew and kit. And of course they get a warm Yorkshire welcome."

Sophie Ellingham, digital team volunteer at Wentworth Woodhouse said: "Every week Wentworth Woodhouse receives inquiries about using the site as a film and TV location and there are some incredible opportunities that will hopefully be secured over the coming years. It's an important part of our business model and helps us towards our strategic goal of using Wentworth Woodhouse as a catalyst for positive change across South Yorkshire."

On Location, an exhibition featuring 24 costumes worn in productions at Wentworth Woodhouse, runs until November 5.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT


Anonymous,  October 24, 2023 at 2:53 PM  

What a jewl in the Crown of Rotherham is Wentworth Woodhouse. One day it will be among the country's elite visitor attractions.

Anonymous,  October 24, 2023 at 3:51 PM  

Sheffield will claim it by then...think that's what the owners would like too.Just like magna is now somehow, Sheffield's Magna.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2023 at 12:58 AM  

What utter rot. Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust takes every available opportunity to stress it's Rotherhamness.

Anonymous,  October 25, 2023 at 11:49 AM  

That is certainly true. The Chair of WWPT is a Rotherham lass!

Anonymous,  October 25, 2023 at 11:48 PM  

Magna always advertises itself as a Rotherham venue, it's the events own adverting campaigns that claim it's Sheffield

Anonymous,  October 26, 2023 at 7:05 AM  

If Sheffield wants to claim Rotherham's star assets they can have the County, Rhino's, the Khyber and Joseph Pecks.

Anonymous,  October 26, 2023 at 11:48 AM  

They can also have our Planning Department foc.

Anonymous,  October 26, 2023 at 2:08 PM  

Straight in the charts at number 6,"I Never Promised You A Pocket Garden"

Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 8:12 AM  

Fabulous place Wentworth.

Anonymous,  November 7, 2023 at 1:01 PM  

Great pubs as well

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