Actor Mark Stanley on filming Anne Boleyn in Yorkshire

Anne Boleyn: Episode 2CAST:Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn and Mark Stanley as Henry VIII

Jodie Turner-Smith as Anne Boleyn and Mark Stanley as Henry VIII - Credit: Fable / The Falen Falcon Ltd / ViacomCBS

Actor Mark Stanley, who grew up grew Otley, recently returned to Yorkshire to play Henry VIII in the much-anticipated Anne Boleyn for Channel 5, in which Jodie Turner Smith plays the eponymous Queen. 

The three-part series was filmed on location in Yorkshire last year, including at Bolton Castle in Wensleydale, and re-imagines the final months of Anne Boleyn’s life from her perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.

Bolton Castle near Leyburn features in the new series of Anne Boleyn 

Bolton Castle near Leyburn features in the new series of Anne Boleyn - Credit: Gareth Buddo

Mark can also be seen in leading roles for White House Farm, alongside Freddy Fox and Stephen Graham, Honour with Keeley Hawes (both for ITV), and in BBC1’s Elizabeth is Missing opposite Glenda Jackson. Mark began his acting career at Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley.  

Mark shared with Yorkshire Life the things he loves about  Yorkshire - and how special it was to be filming such an iconic story on home turf. 

Something in Yorkshire that makes you smile 
Definitely the landscape of Yorkshire. It wasn’t long ago that I was down near Ilkley – there’s an amazing view and you can see so much land there; just a stunning landscape across Yorkshire. It’s absolutely gorgeous. 

READ MORE: Take a walk around the West Yorkshire town of Ilkley

 A place you love to eat  
When I was growing up, we always used to go to the Outside Inn, which is sort of built like a Victorian street inside of it. It was always where we would go for birthdays and family meals and special occasions. I’m not sure if it’s still there or not, but it was in Horsforth and I’d say that it has a special place in my heart. 

A place to take friends 
There are a few - I’d take people to Bolton Abbey, or to the Blubberhouse Moors and then if I wanted to have a cocktail after that, I’d pop into Harrogate! 

READ MORE: Yorkshire walk - Bolton Abbey and the River Wharfe

 A childhood memory 
Three times a week I’d come in and drop my rugby kit on the kitchen floor, I’d have to strip off on the driveway and I remember my mum’s shrieks of despair at having to wash this kit yet again! And trying to get this bog-ridden mud off of me - it was such a frequent occurrence in my childhood! 

Cultural go-to 
 In terms of culture, if you go up onto the Oakley Moors, there are wild waterfalls that run down there and ancient markings in certain rocks and structures, and it’s always taken my breath away to see that.  

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Inspiration outdoors 
We have a woodland near to my mum and dad’s – it’s called Adel Woods and it’s always been somewhere that’s meant a lot to me. So, I’d say a bike ride round Adel Woods would be something  close to my heart.  

A place for indulgence 
I would go and find the dirtiest Irish pub you can find in Leeds city centre, and would sit in there for the day, for the variety of life that walks inside those doors. Fantastic. 

READ MORE: Location Yorkshire: The Railway Children return 

A Yorkshire view that inspires 
The drive from Skipton to Harrogate along the Blubberhouse Moor and at certain times of the year it looks like the earth has been scorched. the colours up there are incredible and it takes my breath away. I first went when I was shooting a film up there and we were based up near Skipton for two months, that drive is just stunning. 

I’m never happier than when … 
Someone offers me a cup of tea, and it’s with a Yorkshire Tea teabag! 

5 things you loved about filming in Yorkshire: 

  • The Blackhorse Inn where I stopped in Northallerton – the warmth of that pub and the friendliness brought me straight back home and I knew instantly where I was.  
  • The drive from hotel to unit base. We were at Castle Bolton and it was glorious up there.  
  • The crew - Northern crew are totally different. They’re the friendliest people. 
  • Knowing that something like this is being shot and money is going into local businesses and communities, and getting some life back into those businesses in these tough times.  
  • Having the opportunity to be closer to my family. 

Anne Boleyn is on Channel 5 on June 1

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