TV series/films shot in Suffolk, Essex & Norfolk

Buying a property in Suffolk or Essex? Welcome to a region beloved by the makers of films and television series. Here are just a few:

Posted: February 26, 2024

TV series/films shot in Suffolk, Essex & Norfolk

Lovejoy (1984-1994)

The BBC comedy/drama based on the novels of Jonathan Gash was filmed in West Suffolk and North Essex . . . very much David Burr’s heartland. Ian McShane played the eponymous Lovejoy, a likeable rogue antique dealer, Phyllis Logan was Lady Felsham and the late Dudley Sutton was Lovejoy’s friend Tinker Dill.

Episodes were set in Long Melford, Clare and the Belchamps and the TV crew would often stay at the Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds.

For locals, scene continuity was sometimes amiss. After enjoying a pint or two in Bury’s Dog and Partridge pub in Crown Street, Lovejoy and his friends emerge onto the town’s Buttermarket a few hundred yards away.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (2013)

For the first big screen outing of Norfolk’s legend-in-his-own-lunchtime broadcaster Norwich (naturally) takes centre stage but there is also a climatic visit to Cromer pier.

Dad’s Army (1968-77)

The last surviving main actor from the series, Ian Lavender, (Private Pike) died recently, though as one of the BBC’s most popular comedies it will always bear repeated showings. The activities of this ragtag Home Guard revolved around Thetford, Honington, Bardwell and various places on the Norfolk coast.

Burial mounds at Sutton Hoo

The Dig (2019)

While the burial grounds at the centre of this story about Sutton Hoo’s famous archeological site were recreated in Surrey, much of the filming was along the Suffolk coast at Thorpeness, Shingle Street, Snape, plus the RSPB’s Boyton Marsh. And lead actor Ralph Fiennes learnt a very creditable Suffolk accent.

Singleton’s Pluck (1984)

The tale of a Norfolk farmer, played by Ian Holm who, because of a strike, has to walk his thousands of geese to a market in London. Look out for shots of the Glemsford area and Long Melford’s Green in this whimsical drama.

Iris (2001)

Southwold’s Heritage Coastline provides a soulful backdrop to the story of  the celebrated author Iris Murdoch. The cast includes Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville.

A Mother’s Son (2012)

Walberswick was used as a location for this ITV mini-series starring Martin Clunes. The usually peaceful seaside village was portrayed in the drama as an eerie, sombre town, shocked by murder and consumed with fear. The seaside landscape, with its lonely beaches, reed beds and marshes made an ideal setting for a murder mystery.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)

Bury St Edmunds was the backdrop to several scenes in this critically acclaimed comedy drama, including one in the town’s restored Regency Theatre Royal.
The Angel Hill was also closed off for filming, with the car park in front of the Angel Hotel dusted with sawdust or sand to allow horses and carriages to go back and forth.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Although there are conflicting views about where Elveden Hall features in  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, staff confirmed it was used as a location for a small segment of the film. A lavish stately home on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, Elveden Hall was well suited to the high-flying world of Lara Croft. Meanwhile the mansion was also used in the erotic mystery Eyes Wide Shut.

Downton Abbey Series 2 (2011)

Did you know the perfect location to film battlefield scenes for a popular period drama is in Suffolk? A farm just outside Ipswich at Akenham provided a purpose-built World War I battleground with British and German trenches and even a no-man’s-land. Jeremy Hall, the farm owner, and Taff Gillingham, a military historian, accurately re-created a piece of history for film and television purposes.

East of Ipswich (1987)

Written by Michael Palin and shot in Southwold, this short, coming-of-age film about a 17-year old boy forced on a Suffolk vacation with his parents is a light hearted treat. Southwold beach and surrounding locations capture a portrayal of British holiday makers from a bygone era.

Born of Hope (2009)

Lord of the Rings prequel Born of Hope, based on J R Tolkien’s appendices, was largely shot at the West Stow Anglo Saxon Village. The site, near to Bury St Edmunds, came to life in the film as a bustling settlement where the main characters resided. It’s in many a backdrop shot.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

In this Bond blockbuster RAF Lakenheath doubles as a US air base in the South China Sea. Since the Lakenheath base hosts American units and personnel it already contained the necessary details for background shots. RAF Mildenhall also had an important role in the film as it was where Pierce Brosnan prepared for his high altitude jump in another action highlight.

Kingdom (2007-2009)

The ITV series following Stephen Fry as a lawyer balancing family problems, sparring colleagues and the challenges of awkward clients took place in the fictional Norfolk town of “Market Shipborough’. In actual fact it was Swaffham.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

With its half-timbered medieval properties Lavenham is well suited to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Aptly named ‘Godrick’s Hollow’, the birthplace of Harry Potter, the village fits seamlessly with the fantasy, slightly gothic style found in the books and brought to life in the films. More specifically De Vere House was featured as being the Potter’s family home.

The Bridge (1992)

The Bridge, originally a book by author Maggie Hemmingway about forbidden love, was shot in parts of Walberswick and Southwold. Colourful beach huts, a rhythmic sea, gently swaying Marram grass and soft sand makes for quite a romantic film.

The Fourth Protocol (1987)

As this Cold War thriller reaches its conclusion, with an atomic bomb attack looming, two helicopters fly under the Orwell Bridge, near Ipswich. Overhead shots show the majestic scale of the bridge as well as a ‘dash cam’ view giving a panoramic shot of the River Orwell.

Yesterday (2019)

The tale of a struggling musician who learns, after a global blackout, that no-one has heard of the Beatles allowing him to take credit for their music. Locations include Ramsholt, near Woodbridge, Halesworth, the Latitude Festival, Dunwich and Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk.
The writer and producer Richard Curtis has a home at  nearby Walberswick.

Posted: February 26, 2024   •   Posted in: Local Interest

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