Knebworth House hoping for Oscar glory in The King’s Speech

THE Oscar nominated and BAFTA award winner The King’s Speech is to cast a spotlight on a Comet country location, after scenes from the highly acclaimed film were filmed there.

Knebworth House played host to cast and crews for the filming of the hotly tipped contender for Oscar glory, acting as a setting for both Balmoral and Windsor.

The British film sees Colin Firth play King George VI or ‘Bertie’, a monarch who was plagued by a nervous stammer and was helped out by unorthodox Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush.

Scenes were shot over seven weeks last January, with the setting used for several high profile scenes in the film.

But the filming got off to a tricky start, as snowy weather made it difficult for the cast and crew to reach the building.

“We had a lot of the crew here, and we were helping their minibus up with tractors because of the snow,” said managing director Martha Lytton Cobbold.

“It’s always very busy when these film crews are here, and we were conscious of the tight schedule.

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“It was pretty full on, but very exciting. The weather was bitter though and did make it difficult.

“I’ve seen the film and it looks brilliant. It’s always surprising how different it looks.”

The grand hall of the building was used for a party scene, the drawing room for Queen Mary listening to Bertie’s final speech at Windsor Castle and the basement and halls for several scenes with Bertie.

The house also doubled as a hotel for some members of the cast, who were snowed in during filming.

“Knebworth is privately-owned, film friendly and flexible to a film’s ever-changing demands and schedule,” said Jamie Lengyel, location manager.

“For Balmoral, we dressed the house, which gave us elements of the baronial castle within good range of our London base.”