6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Surrey TV locations: Top Gear, Cranford, The Good Life etc

12:41 23 March 2011

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May are often at Dunsfold filming Top Gear (Photo: Todd Antony/BBC)

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May are often at Dunsfold filming Top Gear (Photo: Todd Antony/BBC)

Visiting the location of your favourite television programme can be a real thrill - and, as it happens, Surrey has been beamed into living rooms across the nation many times. Inspired by a new book, The British Television Location Guide, MATTHEW WILLIAMS discovers a few surprises as he delves through the county's on-screen history

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2009
 

***

Explore Surrey's film locations
If you spot any filming taking place in Surrey, please contact matthew.williams@surreylife.co.uk

***

CRANFORD
Many of the garden scenes for BBC One's award-winning 2007 drama Cranford were shot at the National Trust's stunning Winkworth Arboretum near Godalming. Starring Outwood resident Dame Judi Dench, parts of Elizabeth Gaskell's five-part period drama, which follows the small absurdities and major tragedies in the lives of the people of Cranford, were also filmed at Shepperton Studios.

DOCTOR WHO
A short trip back in time takes us to Doctor Who of days gone by. Buckland Sand and Silica quarry is better known to Tom Baker-era fans as where the classic episode The Seeds of Doom was filmed in 1976 - the site was transformed to resemble Antarctica. Just down the road, Betchworth quarry, which has since been landfilled, featured in a scene from 1975's Genesis of the Daleks, which also featured Tom Baker, this time alongside an army of Daleks.

THE GOOD LIFE
Sadly, while The Good Life is considered something of a Surrey institution, and was indeed based on Surbiton, the actual filming took place in Northwood, Middlesex, because it was easier for the cast and crew to travel there from the BBC Television Centre. In the show, Tom and Barbara Good's self-sufficient empire of vegetables would lead to the odd scuffle with upmarket neighbours Margot and Jerry Leadbetter. Margot was, of course, played by former High Sheriff of Surrey and patron of the Surrey Hills, Penelope Keith.

HOLBY BLUE
A former Ministry of Defence complex near Chertsey doubles as Holby Blue Station in this spin-off of Casualty and Holby City. Some of the cast spent time at nearby Woking police station shadowing uniformed officers and it was Woking's cell block that the fictional version was based on. The towns of Chertsey, Woking and Egham are all used for exterior scenes such as car chases and gun battles. 'Holby' is loosely modelled on Bristol and so camera men obviously had to put a little extra effort into avoiding catching Surrey's surrounding hills in shot.

IT AIN'T HALF HOT MUM
Rather than a sticky Burmese climate, the furthest location It Ain't Half Hot Mum actually travelled to were the tropical woods of Farnham. The series about the exploits of a Royal Artillery concert party during the Second World War was created by David Croft and Jimmy Perry and a natural follow-up to the pair's previous smash hit Dad's Army. Clever make-up, rubber plants and fake sweat made a convincing and slightly doolally British army camp, drawing on both writers' wartime experience in India.

MIDSOMER MURDERS
Midsomer Murders is a popular British television series broadcast on ITV about the fictional English county of Midsomer. In January 2007, the production team behind the show transformed Loseley Park, near Guildford, into the fictional Magna Manor. Based on a series of crime novels by the author Caroline Graham, the detective drama focuses on the main character of Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby, played by actor John Nettles, who in this particular episode, They Seek Him Here, investigates a murder on the film set at the manor. Albury Park near Guildford and Royal Holloway College in Egham have also provided filming locations in the past.

MARPLE
Fans of ITV's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple may have spotted that much of At Bertram's Hotel was filmed at the National Trust's Polesden Lacey. A team of 70 film crew and 18 actors and actresses descended upon the Regency house over a four-week period, from mid-November to mid-December 2006, as Polesden Lacey was transformed into an opulent 1950s London hotel for the filming. With the original lift in the house proving to be too small for filming, an exact replica - large enough to accommodate actors, film crew and lights - was built in an out-building on the 1,400 acre estate. Loseley Park has also made appearances on the show.

PRIMEVAL
Don't be too concerned if Surrey has seemed a little out of this world in recent years. Whether it's dinosaurs roaming round Kingston's Bentall Centre, monsters invading Merstham, or just high-adrenaline chases at Thorpe Park and Go Ape at Alice Holt, near Farnham, ITV's Primeval has made quite a home for itself in Surrey since its introduction to our screens in 2007. The sci-fi adventure even took over the University of Surrey's ship-shaped Duke of Kent building for a time.

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
In the television mini-series of this adaptation of Jane Austen's novel of the same name, the BBC used Loseley Park's impressive library as Colonel Brandon's own. The front entrance was also used for the scenes in which Brandon and his guests, including the Dashwoods, gather in preparation for his picnic. Meanwhile, the main house featured as the exterior of Sir John Middleton's home, which in the story was set in Devon, and its impressive Oak Room was used in the series to nurse a sick Marianne after her walk in the rain. Ham House in Richmond also doubled as Cleveland in the series.

SPOOKS
A former Ministry of Defence complex near Chertsey was used as an American air force base in BBC drama Spooks, which follows the work of a group of MI5 intelligence officers at Thames House. Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), Ros Myers (Hermione Norris) and Lucas North (Richard Armitage) spend their days dodging foreign agents and near-death experiences weekly. This was the same location at which a stuntman died during filming of the last Batman film The Dark Knight.

TOP GEAR
When not gallivanting around the world winding up environmental focus groups, the motley trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May are likely to be found filming Top Gear from their Dunsfold Park base. Keen-eyed fans of the show visiting Dunsfold can also spot some of the programme's previous creations discreetly tucked away. Until 2002, Dunsfold aerodrome had been used by British Aerospace to flight test aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet. Now you're more likely to see the Stig and a whole host of celebs powering round the test track, which sits just next door to Surrey Air Ambulance's base, in supercars and, er, a Chevrolet Lacetti. Plans are still afoot to turn the park into a sustainable new village settlement, which would leave Top Gear seeking a new home.
 

  •  From Doctor Who to Spooks and from Cranford to Midsomer Murders, The British Television Location Guide includes details of where all major British TV shows are filmed and was the inspiration behind us looking further into Surrey's contribution. It is available for £9.99 by calling 0845 625 3045 or by visiting www.splendidbooks.co.uk and includes locations from across the nation.

1 comment

  • I think Krypton Factor was recently filmed at Priory Farm.

    Add your comment |

    TheGrumpyMole2

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Out & About

The CowParade herd is ready to take over the Surrey Hills

Walkers, cyclists and horse riders beware, because cows are set to take over our county this summer! As the world’s biggest public art event, CowParade, arrives in the Surrey Hills, Matthew Williams meets the first three colourful characters to escape from the farm...

Read more
Tue, 07:43
There will be more than one Martian in Woking this year (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Can you sum up the beauty of our county in one photo for Surrey Life’s annual Beautiful Surrey Photography Competition?

Read more
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Surrey Life magazine May 2016

Pick up May’s Surrey Life magazine to discover 25 secret gardens, why ‘a mini Covent Garden’ is coming to West Horsley, how the countryside moves to town for the Surrey County Show and much, much more…

Read more
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
A view over Toronto with the famous CN Tower just visible in the distance (Photo Ontario Tourism)

Listed in the top 10 must-visit places for 2016 by The New York Times, Toronto looks set to take centre stage this year – and with a new Air Canada route from London Gatwick starting soon, there’s never been a better time to visit. Surrey Life editor Caroline Harrap discovers the highlights – in every sense of the word…

Read more
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Franks Wood, by Steve Hancock

There’s nothing quite like the sight of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor. Here, Harriet Danhash shares some of the best places in Surrey to see everyone’s favourite springtime flower

Read more
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
The intriguing property at the heart of the gardens was once an 18th century workhouse

Opening for the National Gardens Scheme this month, the historic gardens of The Garth Pleasure Grounds in Lingfield are a fascinating place to visit – and, at this time of year, vast swathes of English bluebells should be carpeting the woodland floor. Leigh Clapp pays a visit...

Read more
Monday, April 18, 2016

Westcroft Park Polo Club, in Chobham, will play host to parades of the oldest, newest, greatest, fastest and most classic of four-wheeled machines, as well as incredible horses, in the Surrey Hills Summer Cup finals on Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19, 2016

Read more
On the Radar in Banstead, Surrey

With its leafy surrounds, famous lavender and expansive high street, Banstead is a pleasant place to while away an afternoon. Here are its hot spots...

Read more
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Azhar stars Emraan Hashmi and Nargis Fakhri at Mayfield Lavender, Banstead

One of Bollywood’s most eagerly awaited movies of the year, Azhar, features scenes shot at Banstead beauty spot, Mayfield Lavender.

Read more
Friday, April 8, 2016
Last Bus Home by Andy Carter

To celebrate its 70th anniversary, Bookham Camera Club will be holding a major exhibition at The Leatherhead Theatre this month.

Read more
Friday, April 8, 2016
Great Tangley Manor will reveal its 1,000 years of history this summer (Photo: Glyn Powell-Evans)

With a history dating back 1,000 years, including many a visit from kings and queens during that time, Great Tangley Manor near Guildford is set to celebrate with a spectacular son et lumière event.

Read more
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Best farm shops in Surrey

Celebrating the best of Surrey produce, here we pick a selection of the freshest farm shops found down our county’s winding lanes

Read more
On the Radar in Chertsey, Surrey

Set on the banks of the River Thames, Chertsey offers everything from boat trips and nature trails to artisan shops (not to mention a certain well-known theme park...)

Read more
Friday, April 1, 2016
Libby with one of the dresses owned by Princess Diana in the revamped Fashion Rules exhibition (Photo Richard Lea-Hair, Historic Royal Palaces)

Royal fashion is the focus of three special exhibitions celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday this year, which draw upon an exquisite, Surrey-based collection of international importance. Claire Saul gets a glimpse inside the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection at Hampton Court Palace

Read more


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search