Norfolk and Film
Discover Norfolk's hidden depths when it comes to celebrity. To the outside world, Norfolk seems a quiet and unassuming county, but swirling underneath the surface is a vibrant world of creativity. Norfolk scenery appears to be very adaptable, so with minimum effort, its rolling countryside, marshes and waterways can become exotic Asian countries, the city of Norwich with its rich and varied architecture transforms into a 17th Mediaeval backdrop and then easily shifts through to impersonating any one of our European neighbours. Norfolk has a booming performing arts presence which all must add to the draw for film and tv makers who have captured their images here since the early 1900's.
Norfolk watched I think with some amusement, the excited reporting and hype regarding the recent fleeting visit to Thorpe Abbotts Airfield and Museum by the Tom Hanks Production Company, Playtone. Thorpe Abbotts played host during WWll to the 100th Bomb Group, also know as the 'Bloody Hundredth'.
There are many of these airfields used by the RAF and the USAAF now lying abandoned throughout Norfolk and some have been restored with tender loving care, living testament to recent history and if you like to learn more about what went on in Norfolk during the World Wars, then visiting these atmospheric places and museums is a must.
Playtone is was reported, were inspecting the Thorpe Abbotts site with a view to a proposed production about the 100th Bomb Group. It remains to be seen whether any film or series will get the go ahead and if so ill it be made at the airfield in Norfolk. Perhaps more likely, it will be done on a back lot in Hollywood.
Norfolk is used to film crews and cameras popping up in unexpected places as over the years, as the county has played location host to many films and TV shows. Some will surprise you, such as the movie Die Another Day, which miraculously transformed the marshes of Burnham Deepdale in the Burnhams seemingly with very little effort, apart from the addition of a coolie or two, into a North Korean paddyfield.
'Full Metal Jacket' filmed in 1987 is a movie about Vietnam. Helicopter scenes were filmed over the Norfolk Broads, which also doubled admirably as paddyfields.
'Dambusters', in this classic WW2 film shot in 1954, some scenes were shot at Langham airfield in North Norfolk and the Wash doubled as the Dutch coast.
More recently, a film shot in 2016 'Tulip Fever' set in 17th century Amsterdam, used the Norwich Cathedral cloisters, presbytery and south aisle extensively in the film. Back in 1970 Norwich Cathedral also featured in the 'Go Between'.
Of course everyone knows the iconic beach scene in 'Shakespeare in Love', shot on the beautiful Holkham Beach and another 'The Duchess' was shot in Holkham Hall.
Houghton Hall also was the location for 'Shadows in the Sun' released in 2009 written by David Rocksavage, the owner of Houghton Hall and Marquis of Cholmondley.
Soap Operas and Serials too have played their part in Norfolk's TV and Film CV! For instance Eastenders has ventured here to film holiday scenes, 'Alan Partridge' filmed across Norfolk, 'Allo Allo' and 'You Rang M'Lord' used Lynford Hall as a location.
Great Yarmouth, Oxburgh Hall, Winterton, Hunstanton understandably, are also favoured locations.
So come on Mr Hanks and Playtone, make your series or movie in Norfolk and join a very exclusive club of discerning film makers who return to Norfolk time and again to take advantage of its history, architecture and adaptable geology, not to mention the wonderful squadrons of extras that have contributed so well to the British Film and TV industry.
If you are a film and TV buff, come to Norfolk and follow the trails left by the production companies, visit the locations and see for yourself why Norfolk is such a popular location
For more information on what was shot where and by whom go to Literary Norfolk