Lights, Camera, Landscape

Matthew Sweet presents a series on famous cinematic locations.


0101Bourne Wood, Surrey2006121920070903

Once a good location is discovered in the film industry, word spreads like wildfire.

That is what happened to a bunch of tall spindly pine trees in Surrey when they were chosen to serve as the spectacular Bavarian battlefield in Ridley Scott's epic film Gladiator.

Matthew Sweet discovers why film, television and music producers have been flocking to Bourne Wood ever since.

0102Snowdonia National Park2006122020070910

Many locations in our natural landscape have become strangely familiar through unacknowledged use on television and film.

Yet how many would recognise the landscape of North Wales in films including Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Tombraider II, both supposedly set in China?

Matthew Sweet heads for the paddy fields of North Wales to discover why the Welsh landscape provides the perfect Chinese backdrop.

0103Betchworth Quarry, Surrey2006122120070917

Finding the perfect backdrop for television and film can be no mean feat especially if your brief is to find an alien planet within 25 miles of the BBC television studios.

Yet Matthew Sweet discovers that the makers of Blake's 7 and Dr Who did manage to find alien worlds in the Home Counties when he visits Betchworth Quarry in Surrey.

0104 LASTGlen Nevis, Scotland2006122220070924

Certain locations have a magical quality which film-makers adore.

Glen Nevis in the heart of the Scottish highlands had all the right ingredients for Braveheart and Rob Roy with rocky crags, purple heather and real Scotch mist.

But Glen Nevis hasn't just been typecast in kilt parts.

More recently, wizards on broomsticks have been seen flying up this glen in the Harry Potter films.

Matthew Sweet visits this wild patch of country to discover what makes it such a magical location.


Beachy Head in East Sussex has been chosen as a stand-in for the White Cliffs of Dover.

It even landed the part of the Rock of Gibraltar for the James Bond film The Living Daylights.


The Peak District has proved irresistible to makers of period dramas from Jane Eyre to Pride and Prejudice.



Black Park in Buckinghamshire has served as the setting for World War II France, a Ugandan rebel camp and an Egyptian valley.



The remote wilderness of the Brecon Beacons has served as many extra-terrestrial landscapes.

0205 LAST2007121420080727

The Yorkshire Dales have starred on both the small and the big screen in a range of productions from All Creatures Great and Small to Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves and Calendar Girls.