Film and TV locations in Dorset

21 October 2021West Dorset Tourism

We all know that Dorset is a beautiful county, so it’s no surprise at all that the picturesque landscape here has had lots of TV, film and even music video appearances over the years. Inspired by seeing Timothée Chalamet filming for upcoming film Wonka on a fake-snow-covered Cobb in Lyme Regis this month, we’ve gathered some of the county’s most memorable on-screen appearances, as well as some film and TV locations in Dorset you may not have noticed…

Wonka – Lyme Regis – release date expected 2023

The plot for this upcoming film has yet to be fully released, but it is expected to be a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate factory, focusing on Willy Wonka’s life before he owned the chocolate factory.

Ammonite – Lyme Regis – 2021

This historical romantic drama follows the story of world famous paleontologist Mary Anning, who lived in Lyme Regis in the early 1800’s. Filming was done on Broad Street, Coombe Street and the Cobb, as well as some beach scenes being filmed at Charmouth and Eype.

Rebecca – Mapperton House – 2020

The gardens at Mapperton House feature in this Netflix film, with the External building shots being done at Cranborne Manor.

On Chesil Beach – Chesil Beach – 2018

This film adaptation of a novel features a newlywed couple in the 1960’s who travel to Dorset for their honeymoon and quickly begin to struggle in their new marriage. The film features Chesil Beach, shot in moody, overcast weather which perfectly suits the sombre mood of the film.

Dunkirk – Weymouth – 2017

This incredible film set in the Second World War is filmed as a triptych, showing accounts from the air, land and sea that detail dramatic events. Weymouth beach and harbour and Swanage Railway appear in the film.

Broadchurch – West Bay – 2013, 2015 and 2017

ITV’s hit crime Drama has been described by its writer, Chris Chibnall, as “a love letter to the Jurassic Coast”. The cliffs, the sea and the beach in and around West Bay are all key to the story set in the fictional town of Broadchurch, that gripped the nation as it unfolded each week. Other featured locations include Eype, West Bexington, Charmouth, Pucknowle, Weymouth, Hooke, Little Bredy and Freshwater beach.

Far From the Madding Crowd – West Dorset – 2015

An adaptation from a classic by Thomas Hardy, who was famously inspired by the Dorset countryside for many of his works. This film featured locations including Sherborne, Maiden Castle, West Bay, Mapperton House and Forde Abbey.

Wolf Hall – Sherborne School – 2015

This Henry VIII era TV series used a number of impressive locations for filming, including Sherborne School.

World War Z – Lulworth Cove – 2013

This American zombie film starring Brad Pitt was partly filmed in Lulworth Cove.

Tamara Drewe – Dorset – 2010

This story is loosely inspired by Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd and was filmed around Salway Ash, Beaminster, Dorchester and Yetminster.

Yellow (Coldplay) – Studland Beach – 2011

In this music video, Coldplay’s Chris Martin can be seen walking along an overcast Studland Beach.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Abbotsbury Swannery – 2009

A huge team from Warner Bros descended on Abbotsbury Swannery to film a short, 2 minute section of the Harry Potter franchise. The scene was filmed at night and the reeds seen are meant to be surrounding The Burrow, the home of the Weasley Family.

From Time to Time – Athelhampton House – 2009

In this children’s film, a WW2 evacuee goes to stay in an old manor house where he discovers a time portal to the past. Puddletown was also used to film church and village scenes.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Dancing Ledge – 2008

Fittingly, a dancing scene was filmed on the hills above Dancing Ledge near Swanage in the Isle of Purbeck.

Nanny Mcphee – Durdle Door – 2005

The beach at Durdle Door features briefly in the Mary-Poppins-style film Nanny Mcphee, when she takes the children on a beach outing.

Harbour Lights – West Bay – 1999 and 2000

This TV drama ran for 2 series and was set in the fictional town of Bridehaven for which they used West Bay to film in. The show was famously criticised by locals from West Dorset who say the series shows the area in a bad light.

Saviour’s Day (Cliff Richard) – Durdle Door – 1990

The video for this Christmas Number 1 was filmed entirely at Durdle Door.

Comrades – Tyneham – 1986

This historical British drama film features the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were arrested and deported in 1834 for forming an early trade union. Parts of the film were shot in Tyneham, a ghost town on the coast of Dorset that was abandoned during World War 2.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman – Lyme Regis – 1981

An iconic image of Meryl Streep as The French Leiutenant’s Woman standing windswept on the Cobb at Lyme Regis became famous, however the producers actually used a double for this shot as they were reluctant to risk the star of their film in dangerous conditions.

“Boy on Bike” Hovis Advert – Shaftesbury – 1973

Voted Britain’s favourite TV advert of all time, it made the steep, cobbled street of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury so famous that it is now sometimes nicknamed “Hovis Hill”.

Sleuth – Athelhampton House – 1972

Athelhampton House and Gardens was used as the main location in this mystery thriller. Though filming was done in Dorset, the film was actually set in Wiltshire.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – Corfe Castle – 1971

This classic musical fantasy film made by Disney is now a stage production, but the original 1971 film which combined live action and animation contained some scenes featuring Corfe Castle.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Abbotsbury – 1968

A few coastal scenes for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang were filmed near to Abbotsbury – you can see the Fleet Lagoon and Chesil Beach in the background.

The Damned – Weymouth – 1963

This 1963 sci-fi/horror film was filmed around Weymouth, Portland and Chesil Beach.

The Dam Busters – Chesil Beach – 1955

The first prototypes of bouncing bombs were tested here during World War 2, and it was immortalized in this 1955 black and white film.

Other film and TV locations in Dorset include:

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