Did you know that parts of the latest James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace" were filmed in North Hampshire? Farnborough airport's futuristic terminal building was used and so were the military barracks in Aldershot, which doubled for Siberia.
That got me thinking about other places in the south that have appeared on the silver screen.
The Browning Version was filmed at Sherborne school in Dorset. And our local cathedrals are accustomed to Hollywood rolling into town.
Winchester Cathedral has appeared in the Da Vinci code and Elizabeth, the Golden Age while Guildford Cathedral was used in the 1976 chiller, The Omen.
Another film made here in the south that year was "The Eagle has Landed" starring Michael Caine. The village of Mapledurham near Reading "moved" to North Norfolk to be the scene of an audacious attempt by German paratroopers disguised as Polish soldiers to capture Winston Churchill.
A row of shops was created on the church car park and a pub was built near the Millpond, it didn't serve beer though, much to the disappointment of villagers and cast alike.
Jack Eyston owns the Mapledurham estate and remembers it well. The money the studios paid him helped to restore the near derelict watermill which is the only working one on the Thames now.
He says they wanted to blow the mill up but he wouldn't let them, so they had to build a replica next to it.
Watermill at Mapledurham
The same watermill featured on the cover of Black Sabbath's first album, released in 1970.
With stars like Michael Caine, Jenny Agutter, Larry Hagman and Jean Marsh around, the villagers would often turn up to watch filming.
Most of the stars commuted from London but Donald Sutherland lived nearby, though he did keep himself to himself as Jack recalls.
"They had to paint the grass green by the end of that long hot summer (1976) but they left the place in a much better state than when they arrived."Jack Eyston
In order to create the perfect look, film crews sometimes take drastic action - and in Mapledurham some of the alterations changed the look of the village permanently.
There are no longer any TV aerials. The studio paid for them to be removed and a large communal mast was put up in a field just outside the village.
Cables were run off to every house so they wouldn't have to keep taking aerials down and putting them up again after filming sessions.
Has your local area has ever appeared on the big screen? Let me know if you've had a brush with Hollywood. What happened? Did you meet any stars? Were you an extra and what was it like? I'd love to hear from you...
"The street we live in , Haywood Bracknell, was used as the home of the little boy at the end of Terry Gilliams "Time bandits", the lady who lives at number 12 remembers the day of the shoot. This means we have had not only a "Python" in our road but James Bond (Sean Connery) as well."
Martin Barker, Bracknell
"Dear Tom. Following on from the Eagle Has Landed, I was fortunate enough to be on hand when the film was being shot at Mapledurham.
In between shooting sessions I took pictures of the various sets, ie the shop and the inn!
At the time 1976 it was quite a tourist attraction.
Regretfully I did not witness the attempted escape on the Thames, doubling up as the North Sea, Pity that would have been worth having."
Clive H. Litten
"Hi Tom. Ken Russells film TOMMY had large parts of it filmed in and around Portsmouth. Some of them that I remember are "South Parade Pier!" it had a serious fire a few days after filmimg, but the film crew managed to film it and it was included in the film. The Kings Theatre - Elton John did hid Pinball Wizard part in there. John Pound Scrap Yard. Fort Widley. A house in Bacon Lane Hayling Island where Roger Daltry sat on the roof with extras lining the pathway all dressed as representatives all various trades and professions while he sang "Come to my House" after 35 takes they got it right. I was in this as a Business Man with Bowler Hat and rolled umbrella. We later did a Banquet scene at Hayling Golf Club.
The cast stayed at an Hotel on Hayling in those days in was known as the Post House - I believe to has changed its name since then. It was here that I had to collect by Bowler Hat etc The most notable part of that was seeing Oliver Reed walking out of the swimming pool fully dressed with a bottle whisky in his hand at 8.30 in the morning.
I was one of many extras recruited in the Portsmouth area - it was a bit unique for me at the time I was the Manager of the Odeon Cinema North End Portsmouth and at the time it was showing I was in Foyer whilst at the same time being on the screen - mind you if you blinked you could have missed it."
"Cockleshell Heroes was filmed round and about Eastney and Portsmouth. When the cast were sent off on a survival course, near their completion Jose Ferrer was filmed in a lorry which was waiting at a rail level crossing. This in fact was at the gates of the Brockhurst Station, Military Road, Gosport. The gates and lines are long gone, but the station remains."
Eric Rice, Waterlooville
"Sahara was filmed at Hawley Lake SC in Farnborough. It has been used as test areas for scences in 007 the world is not enough envolving fast boats and luxury sunseekers. The scene where 007 is captured and released on a bridge in north Korea was also filmed here in a near by quarry pit in the woods.
I think it is worth a mention that the opening scene of SAHARA was also used as they transfored the lake to appear as an old narrow river where the boat makes its first journey before being later found in the dessert (morocco)."
Michael Dray, Camberley
"Hello Tom, I live in a village called Upton Grey near Odiham. In 1955 a film called "Charlie Moon" was filmed in Upton Grey and the nearby village of Greywell. It starred Max Bygraves as a local lad who's childhood girlfriend was played by Patricia Driscol, who used to be Maid Marion to Richard Greens Robin Hood in the old T.V. series. A very young Jane Asher also features.
In one scene he rides an elephant from the church,down the hill to the pond chased by real village youngsters. He meets up with his old sweetheart.You can probably guess the rest. It ends up with Max singing his No 1 hit "Out of town".
I recently ran a film show in the hall called "Upton Grey...The way we were"
It consisted of our own film clips from various villagers cut onto a DVD of the Silver and Golden jubilee celebrations in the village together with other events going back over fifty years or so. Naturally we ended with relevant clips of Charlie moon.
The hall was packed to its 100 capacity and we are going for a second run on Jan 10th for those who couldnt get in. Several local kids were in the original film and also attended the show. Of course it finished with everyone singing "Out of town"
George And Ray, Upton Grey
"Shoreham beach or bungalow town was hailed as the UK's hollywood in the early 1920's and most of the hollywood stars including i believe charlie chaplin lived here at some time. the progress film company had a studio here because of the perfect lighting conditions. The studio was sited initially at the Old Fort and later near where the Church of the Good Shepherd stands today. At the time it was known as ‘Hollywood-by-Sea’.
Many stars from stage and screen lived on the Beach in what was known as Bungalow Town. Many of the “bungalows” were old railway carriages converted into makeshift homes.
Cinema blockbusters made on the Beach included an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel, ‘Little Dorrit’ and the ‘Mayor of Casterbridge’ produced under the guidance of the author, Thomas Hardy. Shoreham airport was used in the Da Vinci Code more recently."
Martin Sayers, Shoreham-by-Sea
"Back in the 70's Hollywood came to Warfield, near Bracknell when the Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow was using the location of Warfield Hall for one of the scenes. It was unbelievable how much was shipped in for a few minutes footage in the finished film.
I was in my teens at the time and was helping out in the nursery garden attached to the hall and actually met and got the autographs of both Redford and Farrow and they also posed for photographs for me."
Nick Hancock, Bracknell
"My late father told me many years ago that Sean Connery starred in a film that was based around Bracknell, with clips of the spiral walkway in the town centre, Mill Pond and the Point Royal flats, but I have not been able to find out whether this is true and if so what the film is called?"
Dean Howell, Bracknell
(Dean, have a look at Ray Rampton's comment below. Perhaps your father was talking about "The Offence")
"Bracknell, point royal, and bracknell town centre, the film, The Offence, starring Sean Connery.
Bracknell, binfield manor, olivia dehavalland and "The big hulk" bill bixby in an Agether christie thriller, murder most ...... cant remember the rest.
Richard Burton filming on the southern industrial estate, Bracknell. also Joss Ackland."
Ray Rampton, Binfield
"The Robbery starring Richard Burton, car chase filmed in the 70's in Hounslow High Street. Norman Wisdom late 50's early 60's in Windsor running over people back garden fences in On The Beat."
Michael Noel, Mytchett
"Hi Tom I am a Master at Milton Abbey and we have had Five film units filming here at Milton Abbey School or close by. Firstly a lot of the series To Serve Them All Thy Days was filmed here in the 1970s and then in the 1980s (late?)we have one of the Ripping Yarns programmes ( with boys used as extras being 'crucified' in Main Quad. Then ( with a good extra part worth £705) I took part in (1992) the Browning Version - it was actually mostly filmed at Milton Abbey by the way.
I met all the actors and have many photos of a great event. After that the Victor Meldew series had one episode filmed in the village. Then, finally, in 2003 The Queen of Sheba's Pearls was filmed here by Colin Nuttley ( including a host of British actors including Rollo Weeks and dame Eileen Atkins). It is available ONLY via the Swedish Film Institute though I have a rare promotional copy as it was only released in Oceania. It is a superb 1950s period film and is very moving. I got a good part in it as a Master (again) as did a colleague Peter Lord. The Head's study was used for a caning session! Good luck!
Robin Nicholson, Hilton
"The 1962 film 'A Prize of Arms' was filmed on locations around Arundel, Sussex. A derilict barn on the Duke of Norfolk's estate was burned down as part of the action."
Neville Dalton, Newbury
"Who could forget that the town hall in Maidenhead featured as a hospital, well from the outside anyway!, in Carry on Doctors....! Barbara Windsor, Sid James and all..."
Bob Brown, Maidenhead
"O mr porter. filmed on the basingstoke/alton railway line main part of story based around Cliddesden railway station (near Basingstoke)"
"I am aware as my husband is a local that "The Punch & Judy Man" with Tony Hancock, John LeMesurier and others I've forgotten was filmed in Bognor Regis. Also scenes from James Bond - The Man with The Golden Gun" were filmed at the Amberley chalk pits museum. Recently, James Nesbitt was seen filming on the seafront but I have no idea what this was about!!!"
Gwyneth Sangster, Bognor Regis
"Do you remember "Heroes of Tellemark"? Part of it was filmed at Poole harbour in 1964 (I think). I was one of the German soldiers in a scene that the audience were convinced was shot in Oslo in the middle of a freezing winter. In fact the snow was 5 tons of salt sprinkled everywhere and every possible clue was removed that would give the game away. Even the dockside crane had its "Safe working load 10 tons" painted out and replaced with the same message in Norwegian."
Adam Reay, Lymington
"Worthing Dome Cinema was used in the 1987 film "Wish You Were Here", starring Emily Lloyd. My fabulous hairdresser was an extra (blink and he was gone!) in the film - as a hairdresser."
Samantha Roberts, Worthing
"Godalming & Shere in Surrey was used in the film The Holiday with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslit, Jude Lew & Jack Black."
Ray Goddard, Godalming
"On the watercress line, in Hampshire there have been many films,drama's and documentery's set on it. here are some of them, "Children of men"(2006), "Back to the secret garden"(1946), "The Canterville Ghost", "The Great Kadinsky", "Pie In The Sky", "Inspector Wexford", "Birds Of A Feather", "In the Name of Love", "Future via Hope", "Why Trains Crash", "Big Smoke", "High Heels & Low Lifes", "The Cazelets", "The Glass", and "On the Right Track"
Max Armitstead, Medstead
Many years ago I travelled up to Stowe House (Stowe School/Landscape Gardens part of the National Trust)near Buckingham (my hometown) in my lovely old Renault 4 to watch the BOOK BURNING SCENE from Indiana Jones LAST CRUSADE being filmed. I watched from behind a barrier and a number of burly security men in the chilly evening air as Harrison Ford and (the ever cool) Sean Connery were put through their paces. They accidentally get caught up in the Nazi book burning and come face to face with Hitler who 'innocently' signs Indianna's book mistaking him for a fan.
As the darkness settled on Stowe House the small crowd that had gathered were ordered to hush as they taped the scene. Seeing Stowe House draped in swastikas with a huge burning pyre in the foreground surrounded by groups of Nazis, SS and Brown Shirted boy brigades marching to and fro was a vision not to be missed. ..AND MY CLAIM TO FAME : I have a photo of Sean Connery's hat!! What a very fab evening that was.
Amy Urquhart-Winter, Buckingham
"A film called "Mr Drake's Duck" was filmed(1950's?) starring Douglas Fairbanks Jnr was made on location at Steyning and Ashurst, West Sussex, (on a local farm)."
Paul Wakefield, Worthing
"Our son Dean was an extra in 'Gladiator' which was partly filmed in the woods at Tilford, south of Farnham."
Bob Clarke, Aldershot
"As a young lad 12-13 years old in the 1950's, attending Fairfields boys school in Basingstoke, found out that a film was being made in a village close bye. A school chum and I bunked off school and biked to the village of Upton Grey to be extras (we hoped)at 10 shillings (50p) a day for the duration of the shoot, when we arrived we found that the film company had taken on as many extras as they required so our bike ride was invane.
I will always remember the opening scene, the vicar riding his bike down the hill out of control and ending up in the duck pond. This film has very fond memories, my late father was the organist at the church for many years. The title of the film was Charlie Moon staring Max Bygraves. My school chum was Brian Dixon who now lives in Lymington."
Paul Ramsden, Winchester
"There was a film with Jenny Agutter; Simon Ward; Lana Morris; Faye Compton filmed almost entirely in Bracknell, in the late 60's called " I start counting ". the scenes were shot in Bracknell, when it was developing as a New Town. I appeared in it for all of five seconds, as I was on my bicycle. Difficult to find or see these days but I have it on DVD which I found in the USA. This film was made before the Railway Children film and Walkabout, when Jenny Agutter was relatively unknown. I watched the filming on many occasions, as a lot of it was just yards from where I lived."
Barry Stickland, Wokingham
"I live in Aldershot just down the hill from the Beaumont housing estate which was once the south cavalry barracks which was used in the 1968 film the Charge Of the Light Brigade. The horse riding school building is the only surviving building which can still be seen,this building waswhere Britains' former primeminister Sir Winston Churchill learned to ride a horse whilst serving as an officer cadet at the Royal military academy Sandhurst.
However Iam also the direct desandant to Private 624 John Burton of the 11th Hussars who was at the Charge of the Light Brigade and not only do we still own his campaign medal , but since 2004 ( the 150th anniversary of the Charge)we have now accquired the rest of his medals he was intitled to. It is believed Burton was the oldest soldier in Lord Cardigans regiment at the age of 45.
The 11th Hussars were sent to Aldershot after they returned from the Crimean war.
If you wuish to contact me you may do so on my mobile number which is Jason Robinson 07851197185.I also now of a desendant of one of the oldest surviving soldiers of the charge and his ancesters grave you can still see."
Jason Robinson, Aldershot
"Dear Tom, Two films that we know of, were filmed partly in Theale High Street, 6 miles west of Reading. The Borrowers, and The Lazarus Child. Regards Charlotte."
Charlotte Dunn, Theale
"Tom, I live in a cottage at the old Longparish station near Andover. A film by Arnold Ridley of Dad's Army fame was made in and around here in the 1920's called the ghost train. A popular stage play also. Apparently there are no known copies in existence. It would be great if a search could be instigated and information compiled as it would be great snap shot of that era.
The station house is still standing in private ownership. There may still be people living who remember the film being made and what life was like round here all those years ago. The station was also used to transport ammunition into Harewood forest during WW2."
Steve Hewitt, Longparish
"The 1954 film Bang! You're Dead. Location Crowthorne Berkshire. Cast Jack Warner,Michael Medwin, Gordon Harker.I remember this film very well in the 1970s when first viewed at the time living in Crowthorne. Many changes had taken place in the twenty years from 1954 to the seventies but many landmarks filmed survived.
I would like to see the film again the story and acting fantastic."
"In The Eagle Has Landed, the American HQ with Larry Hagman as an Army Officer, was Warfield Hall near Bracknell, which also featured in episodes of The Professionals with Bodie and Doyle.
The Joseph Losey film 'The Offence' with Sean Connery and Ian Bannen was filmed around Bracknell, with the only tower block of Flats, Point Royal in Easthampstead as Connery's home. This now listed building has no square rooms and was called the 'Thruppeny Bit Building' because of its many sides. It is a time capsule for the New Town, showing traffic in the later pedestrianised Town Centre. The Older Persons Day Centre at Heathlands, Wildridings was shown as a Primary School, while the Police Station was in fact the Council Offices in external views. Mill Pond was still a dry valley close by to the 'School'
The 'Eye of the Needle' with Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan used the River Wey Navigation for some boat scenes and Blackbushe Airfield had many dummy aircraft built on it as part of the plot as well as bringing in real ones. Alas I wasn't involved at the time of making any of these, except for photographs at Blackbushe of the mock ups and flat aircraft, which look strange when seen from the wrong angle."
John Oblein, Bracknell
"I remember Tommy being filmed in the area when I was at school. This was the film that featured a burning South Parade pier which came about when one of the studio lights set fire to it!
My particular place of interest is Warblington Castle. I live with in a stones throw of it. It was built by one of my favourite local people, Blessed Margaret Pole and was her favourite house. (It was not a castle at all). Tommy is to be seen hang gliding from the only remaining gate house tower. Warblington Church is next door to the castle and it is here that my father is buried. This featured in the film as well as many other local sites.
If you want to see Portsmouth and its environs on file the Tommy must be the film. I still watch the video now and then. May be not Hollywood but Ken Russell at his best."
Roger Goodbody, Havant
"Dear Tom Following on from the Eagle Has Landed, I was fortunate enough to be on hand when the film was being shot at Mapledurham and in between shooting sessions took pictureas of the various sets, ie the shop and the inn !! At the time 1976 it was quite a tourist attraction."
Clive H Litten, Reading
"They made 'Oh Mr. Porter', with Will Hay, at Lasham railway station. Which I believe is still in existence and being used as a coal depot. If you are lucky you might even find the engine, that was used in the crash, buried in the field."
"What about Shoreham Airport? I believe that it has featured in 'The Davinci Code' and episodes of 'Poirot' and 'Tenko'. "
Jeff Kearsley, Lancing
"Whilst attending Clayesmore School in the quaint village of Iwerne Minster near Blandford in the early eighties, I have to make you aware of the filming of one of the funniest scenes of the classic hit 'Only Fools and Horses'. The episode in question is the one where, in a classic Edwardian Stately home (Clayesmore School main building) they attempt to knock the chandalier through from the ceiling to clean it, however they position the sheet to catch the chandalier under the wrong one and subsequently the wright one falls, crashing to the floor.
Throughout filming, the Trotters Yellow Robin Reliant could be seen flitting around the village with Nicholas Lyndhurst and David Jason (messres Del Boy and Rodney) happy to share a laugh and a joke with the local pupils... Ah what great times!!"
Michael Partridge, Christchurch
"Corfe Castle in the Isle of Purbeck was featured in childrens (and some adults) classic "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" with Angela Landsbury."
"Sound subject Tom. I lived at Braunston famous for the canal system Northants. about 1968 Robert Powell. He starred with his then wife .....? in a film " Running Scared " The 2 stars stayed in the local pub in Braunston. I remember seeing a sports car driven up a launch ramp from the road and exploding as it hit the canal bridge. I would love to see the film if it was completed."
Brian Knibbs, Banbury