‘Lights, Camera, Action’ for the Yorkshire Coast!
Yorkshire has a huge ‘starring role’ in a variety of films.
Our county has seen plenty of lights, camera, action and has been visited by global film stars – including Tom Cruise!
The county has been featured in popular period dramas and has even been part of a reboot of one of the most watched TV programmes of the 70s, 80s and early 90s.
It is fair to say, the star of the show is none other than Yorkshire: its coast, its moors, its towns and its villages.
Grab the popcorn as we take you on a movie lovers tour of Yorskhire …
Pickering and Levisham’s 15 Minutes of Fame
No touch ups or special effects required when the film crews frame up for their next feature, even if the visit in question is from perhaps the most well-known film star in the world – Tom Cruise.
Filming the latest instalment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
Mr Cruise flew in by helicopter to film scenes on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
A crew of around 300 used Pickering and Levisham stations for the latest movie with Mr Cruise ‘dropping by’ and saying ‘how beautiful’ our Yorkshire countryside is.
But of course, Tom, we’ve known this all along!
Mr Cruise is well-known for doing his own stunts.
His herculean efforts to be keep the film footage (and therefore the movie industry and those employed by it) safely ‘rolling’ during the Covid-19 Pandemic is the stuff of legend.
Bridgerton, which drew in record viewing figures on Netflix during Lockdown, also came to Yorkshire.
The steamy period drama series was partly shot at the iconic Castle Howard, which doubled as the fiction Clyvedon Castle during the first season.
The series was also filmed at the nearby village of Coneysthorpe.
Castle Howard is no stranger to film crews, with two versions of Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel, filmed in this stunning stately home.
More about these ‘filmic outings’ later in this blog.
A Veterinary Tale
The much-loved books by James Herriot have been made into films and a TV series a few decades ago and has had a recent reboot on Channel 5.
The engaging tales about the Yorkshire Dales vet practice and the various characters (some as rugged as the Yorkshire landscape!
It stars Samuel West among a talented cast, yet the star of the show is the glorious Yorkshire Dales scenery.
Darrowby, the fictional village in the books, is the Yorkshire village of Grassington, with its picturesque stone-constructed buildings and cobbled streets.
The Stuff of Horror
Saint Maud, directed by Rose Glass, was made in 2019 and is widely seen as a horror masterpiece.
Some scenes were filmed in Scarborough’s South Bay with 80 local folks used as extras.
Scarborough was selected over other locations due to its cinematic scale.
The film stars Jennifer Ehle (Lizzie Bennet from 1995’s eponymous Pride and Prejudice).
The Runaways is one of those films that in theory sounds very far-fetched … but when you settle down to watch it, the plots and scenery are totally absorbing.
The film, made in 2018, is set in North Yorkshire and stars Tara Fitzgerald and Mark Addy (Brassed Off) along with young actors, Rhys Connah, Macy Shackleton and Molly Windsor and not forgetting the starring role for the donkey!
We won’t spoil the plot for you but get your tissues ready.
Back in 2017 and 2018, captured ‘on celluloid’ is Phantom Thread. The film thrust the Whitby area into the global spotlight with the help of none other than Oscar winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
The film received an Oscar gong for Best Costume Design, which, if you’ve seen the movie, is thoroughly well deserved.
Phantom Thread includes starring roles for Robin Hood’s Bay, Staithes, Ravenscar, Lythe and Grosmont Station, all within easy reach from us here at the Riviera.
The film tells the tale of Reynolds Woodcock who is at the centre of British Fashion in 1950s London.
He meets Alma, played by Vicky Krieps, who becomes his muse and lover, and we follow their exploits across the Yorkshire countryside.
Directed by Paul Anderson, this is Day-Lewis’ final film before backing out of the limelight into retirement.
A recent remake of Dad’s Army features parts of Bridlington’s Old Town and made it world famous!
The 2016 film stars Catherine Zeta Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon and Toby Jones who were on set in the East Yorkshire resort.
Dad’s Army also used the North Landing, Flamborough, famous for its towering white cliffs.
If you want to be inspired by a classic novel and a dramatic location, Castle Howard is between Malton and York, a few miles off the A64.
Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, made 2008 stars Matthew Goode, Ben Wishaw and Hayley Atwell.
The film showcased this incredible stately home and its magnificent fountain, set against the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Booker Prize Winner
Ravenscar, Beck Hole, Runswick Bay and Whitby feature in Possession (2002) starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart, based on the 1990 novel by A S Byatt. The novel also won the Booker Prize the year it was published.
Other Famous Films Featuring Yorkshire
Fans of Harry Potter will recognise York and parts of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in the famous film franchise.
Rolling back over to the coast to Scarborough, Little Voice helped put the resort even more firmly on the film map when the likes of Michael Caine, Jane Horrocks, Ewan McGregor and Brenda Blethyn spotted ‘on location’ in the seaside town in 1998.
Fountains Abbey, also based in Yorkshire, was used as a location in the 1990s film adaptation of The Secret Garden penned by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Other films that feature parts of Yorkshire include Room at the Top (1959) staring Simone Signoret and Laurence Harvey, filmed in Bradford and parts of Halifax.
Billy Liar (1963) stars Tom Courtenay, mostly filmed in Bradford.
This Sporting Life (1963) is set in Wakefield.
A perennial favourite Yorkshire-based film has to be Kos (1969), filmed in and around Holland.
We can’t mention ‘ Yorkshire’ and ‘films’ in the same sentence without thinking of 1970’s The Railway Children, filmed in part in Haworth (where the Bronte family lived) and along the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
Brassed Off (1996) was filmed in Doncasater and the Piece Hall, Halifax, while The Full Monty (1997) was set in Sheffield.
Fast forward to 2003, and The Calendar Girls was shot in the Yorkshire Dales, Kettlewell and Burnsall.
In 2009, The Damned United was filmed in Leeds, Bradford and Scarborough.
Yet surely we can’t mention ‘movies’ without referring to Whitby’s most famous and camera-ready character, Count Dracula.
While the book was published in 1897, the 1977 TV film version entitled Count Dracula. It stars French actor Louise Jourdan as the mysterious toothy host who resides in the depths of the Transylvanian Mountains.
Dracula eventually arrives in Whitby aboard the ship Demeter and is seen in the form of a black dog bounding up the 199 steps toward the Abbey.
Parts of this adaptation is filmed here in Whitby, and of course Bram Stoker stayed just round the corner from us at number 6, Royal Crescent.
There is a blue plaque commemorating his visit to the town in 1890.
Now where’s that popcorn …