5 Netflix series and films to watch made in Herts
- Credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
From The Queen's Gambit to The Crown and Emily in Paris to Ratched, Netflix has screened some of the most talked about and popular streaming series of recent years.
With cinemas and theatres closed in the county for the foreseeable future, and Tier 4 restrictions here to stay for the time being, we require good TV entertainment now more than ever.
Here's five movies and series released on Netflix in 2020 available to watch on the streaming service that feature scenes shot in Hertfordshire.
1. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
With Eurovision cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, Elf and Anchorman star Will Ferrell brought the annual song contest to the screen in this silly but affectionate musical comedy homage.
While the song contest is supposedly set in Edinburgh, Scotland, Knebworth House had a starring role as the playboy abode of flamboyant Russian contestant Alexander Lemtov, played by Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens.
The Gothic mansion near Stevenage was transformed with naked statues, flaming torches, ice sculptures and disco balls for a flashy Eurovision party hosted by Lemtov.
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"We went to town at Knebworth," said production designer Paul Inglis. "It was an absolute joy! We turned it into a modern party house for a Russian bachelor about town.
"We had four gold-plated supercars parked outside, flambeaus and a red carpet. Inside we added ice sculptures, naked statues of Lemtov, gold staircases, marble and disco balls.”
In the movie, the party is attended by real Eurovision Song Contest winners Conchita Wurst and Israeli singer Netta, and features a song-along with Eurovision icons covering Madonna, Cher, Abba, Celine Dion, and The Black Eyed Peas.
The plot of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga sees two small-town singers from Iceland chase their pop star dreams at the famous competition.
Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play the plucky Fire Saga pair, Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir.
The movie also features chart-topping singer Demi Lovato and former James Bond star Pierce Brosnan as Lars' dad Erick Erickssong, described as "the most handsome man in Iceland".
It also features a cameo from Graham Norton.
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again..."
So opens Daphne du Maurier's bestselling 1938 Gothic novel Rebecca.
Hatfield House was one of the main locations used for the recent Netflix film adaptation of Rebecca starring Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again's Lily James and The Lone Ranger's Armie Hammer in the lead roles.
The Jacobean mansion in Hertfordshire doubles for part of Maxim de Winter's ancestral pile, Manderley, with Cranborne Manor in Dorset, the home of Viscount Cranborne, the eldest son of the 7th Marquess of Salisbury, also used for the exteriors.
Kristin Scott Thomas, as sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers, welcomes the second Mrs de Winter (Lily James) into the home in scenes shot in the Marble Hall at Hatfield House.
Mrs Danvers' guided tour of Manderley also takes in the Long Gallery and Armoury.
This racy period drama has grabbed the Christmas and New Year headlines for its bodice-ripping plots and Regency-era romances.
From Shondaland – the makers of medical drama Grey's Anatomy – it's a big budget, glossy Downton Abbey meets Gossip Girl series with sumptuous sets, lavish society balls, lots of them, and sex.
Scenes of the eight-part series were shot on location at Hatfield House, as confirmed by Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan, who plays Penelope Featherington.
“We shot at Hatfield House, which was the house that they filmed The Favourite in," said Nicola Coughlan.
"I did sneak upstairs because I wanted to see Olivia Colman’s room. I was trying to rub the walls so that her acting talent would rub onto me!”
Bridgerton also features the distinctive voice of the legendary Dame Julie Andrews saying some rather scandalous things as narrator Lady Whistledown.
4. The Crown
Producers of this royal drama opted to set up base at Elstree Studios back in 2015, building sets for the exterior of Buckingham Palace and the famous door to 10 Downing Street on the backlot.
Four series later, with two more in the pipeline, The Crown is a multi-award-winning global hit, with millions of viewers around the world.
Claire Foy and Matt Smith played Elizabeth and Prince Philip in the opening two series, with Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies taking over the royal reins for seasons three and four.
Being based at the Hertsmere Borough Council-owned Elstree site has also been a boon to the wider Hertfordshire economy.
Filming on location has taken place over the years at Hatfield House, St Albans Cathedral, Wrotham Park near Potters Bar, Brocket Hall, and Knebworth House.
The latter doubled for the inside of Balmoral Castle in the most recent fourth season, with Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gillian Anderson all on set playing drinking game Ibble Dibble.
While inspired by historical events, The Crown is a fictional journey following the life and reign of Elizabeth II, from the young Princess becoming Queen to the series four rise and fall of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, played by former The X-Files star Gillian Anderson.
Scenes between the Queen and the PM were shot at Wrotham Park, while Brocket Hall doubles for Kensington Palace in season four.
Wrotham Park was also used as Gatcombe Park, the country residence of Anne, Princess Royal.
The fourth season of The Crown introduces Princes Diana, played by Emma Corrin.
If you've not seen The Crown yet, there's 40 episodes in total over four seasons so far to binge-watch before Imelda Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in series five and six.
Imelda's daughter, Bessie Carter, appears in Bridgerton as Prudence Featherington.
5. Enola Holmes
Bet you didn't know Sherlock Holmes had a younger sister.
Well the famous detective does – and she's played by teenage Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.
Released on Netflix last September, Enola Holmes was a huge hit on the streaming site in 2020, with 76 million households worldwide watching the film in its first month of release.
Based on the book series by Nancy Springer, the mystery-adventure introduces the world’s greatest detective to his fiercest competition yet: his teenage sister Enola.
The game is afoot!
Starring Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes and Sam Claflin as Mycroft Holmes, the oldest of the Holmes siblings, scenes at the Tewkesbury's family estate were filmed at Hatfield House.
The Hertfordshire stately home doubles for Basilwether, residence of The Dowager, Tewkesbury’s grandmother, played by Frances de la Tour, with the Marble Hall and Armoury seen on screen as well as the South Front.
“Hatfield House gave us our Basilwether House, home of the Dowager, which is altogether different from the warmth and femininity of Ferndell,” recalls production designer Michael Carlin.
“Everything is just so, symmetrical, quite sparse. It’s full of suits of armour and weapons on the walls, it’s fusty and old and massive in an intimidating way. There are no flowers at Basilwether.”
For the movie, the East End of London was created among the outbuildings on the Luton Hoo estate.
Linking Netflix series The Crown to mystery movie Enola Holmes is national treasure Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Enola's unconventional mum, Eudoria Holmes.
In the movie, Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown) wakes on the morning of her 16th birthday to find that her mother has disappeared.
Enola searches for her mother in London. But when her journey finds her entangled in a mystery surrounding a young runaway Lord, Enola becomes a super-sleuth in her own right, outwitting her famous brother as she unravels a conspiracy that threatens to set back the course of history.
Playing the floppy-haired Viscount Tewksbury, the Marquis of Basilwether, is Louis Partridge.