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Copyright: © 2006 Universal Studios
The Golden Age in Cambridgeshire
It promises to be one of the biggest films of the year and features some of Tinsletown's sparkliest names. Yet a large part of the final cut of Elizabeth: The Golden Age will showcase a few familiar sites.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is out at cinemas now, use the box to the right to find local listings
Do you remember a few months ago when Ely residents, preferably of the bearded persuasion, were being sought as extras in a new big money movie?
Maybe you don't, but maybe you do remember a larger than normal presence of the bristly-faced fraternity in the East Cambs region after filming began in May 2006. Or perhaps you were more interested in spotting Hollywood heavyweights Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen?
Ely Cathedral, by Marie Bulman
Both were filming in and around Ely Cathedral as the 12th Century building became a key location in the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the follow up to the 1998 historical film Elizabeth, while St John's College in Cambridge also lent itself to the film's backdrop.
Blanchett reprises her role as Elizabeth I while Owen plays love interest Sir Walter Raleigh.
Ely Cathedral acts as the site for Queen Elizabeth's confrontation with the Spanish Ambassador and her reaction to the news that Mary has been executed.
"But those events never occured in Ely Cathedral," I can hear all of you GCSE history buffs shouting out loud. Well that's because it didn't; Ely Cathedral is quite sneakily acting as Elizabeth’s court at Whitehall.
The two weeks of trailers and stars that consumed the city is becoming a familiar sight in Ely. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson were in town recently for production of The Other Boleyn Girl, a story of the Boleyn sisters' rivalry for the affections of Henry VIII.
Copyright: © 2006 Universal Studios.
St John’s College, the second largest of the constituent Colleges of the University of Cambridge, can also be spotted in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
The college plays host to the first meeting between the Queen and Sir Walter Raleigh, where he purportedly threw down his cloak to cover a muddy puddle in the road – hence preventing the Royal feet from getting dirty.
St John’s was founded in 1511 by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII (and so Elizabeth’s great grandmother) on the site of the medieval hospital of St John. The first county in St John’s was constructed mostly between 1511 and 1520, and so it makes a perfect setting for one of the great fabled scenes from Elizabeth’s reign.
Being as it costs thousands of pounds a day to run Ely Cathedral, big filming deals like these are integral to its survival as a historic building. Elizabeth: the Golden Age is at cinemas across the nation now.
last updated: 06/11/07