Hampshire related films and TV shows to watch during the lockdown

Highclere Castle - better known as Downton Abbey, or Totleigh Towers Photo: Richard Munckton

Highclere Castle - better known as Downton Abbey, or Totleigh Towers Photo: Richard Munckton - Credit: Archant

Duncan Hall rounds up the Hampshire films ideal for a spot of self-isolation.

With everyone encouraged to stay at home and keep their distance to stop the spread of coronavirus it’s a great time to catch up with your favourite films and TV shows.

We have picked a selection which bring Hampshire onto your TV screen – so if you can’t get out, our beautiful county locations can come to you. All of the films and TV series listed below are available on DVD and Amazon Prime unless otherwise stated. It may be worth checking your Netflix subscription too.


Southampton-born director Ken Russell spent much of his life in Hampshire, so perhaps it’s no surprise that when he brought The Who’s rock opera Tommy to the big screen he looked for locations just down the road from where he grew up.

The website movie-locations.com lists Cumberland Road near Fratton station, where the demolition of terraced houses represented homes being destroyed by the Blitz; Hilsea Lido as the holiday camp a young Tommy is taken to; and a funfair visit was filmed at Clarence Pier Amusement Park. The older visionary Tommy, played by Roger Daltrey, perches on top of Warblington Castle in Havant to spread his message, and his own holiday camp is based in Fort Purbrook. Perhaps the two most famous locations are the Kings Theatre, in Southsea, where Tommy defeats Elton John’s Pinball Wizard, and Southsea Pier, where Ann-Margret’s Nora and Oliver Reed’s Uncle Frank fall in love. Unfortunately the pier burnt down during filming after hot lights set curtains aflame. Footage of the fire is included in the finished movie.


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As well as appearing in Downton Abbey and The Crown, Winchester Cathedral has stood in for the Vatican in The Da Vinci Code and also appeared in the 2007 Cate Blanchett historical movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Winchester College has also been used as a location, for Jean Valjean’s final scene in Les Miserables, and the 2002 remake of Goodbye Mr Chips starring Martin Clunes.

Just outside Winchester, Marwell Zoo was the location for the 1997 “equal” to John Cleese’s A Fish Called Wanda. Fierce Creatures features the same cast of Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin and Kevin Kline playing different characters fighting to save a struggling zoo from the moneymen who are trying to toughen it up.


Highclere Castle has provided the backdrop for the goings on upstairs and downstairs with the Crawley family at Downton Abbey since 2010. The story was transferred to the big screen in 2019, taking the timeline up to 1927 and incorporating a royal visit by King George V and Queen Mary. Both the full series and the film are available to stream or on DVD.

It wasn’t the first time Highclere has appeared on the big screen. The beautiful 19th century country house designed by Charles Barry also stood in for Totleigh Towers in the 1990s series of Jeeves and Wooster starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

Into the woods

Mark Ash Wood and Fritham Plain were among the New Forest locations standing in for Sherwood in the 1991 swashbuckler Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Meanwhile Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham, provided the backdrop for the opening battle against Germanic tribes in Ridley Scott’s brilliant Gladiator.

Apocalyptic visions

Funnily enough Hampshire has appeared in a few nightmarish future tales. The 2009 version of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids – set in a world gone blind and under attack by giant plants – was partly filmed at The Hospital of St Cross in Winchester. And Children of Men, a bleak tale based on a PD James novel about a future where a whole generation has become sterile, included scenes shot at the Watercress Line’s Alresford Station.

The Crown

Rather than go all the way up to Scotland, Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret instead visited Rhinefield House Hotel in Brockenhurst for the third series of the Netflix favourite. In the show she spots her soon-to-be lover Roddy Llewellyn by the hotel’s pool. Winchester Cathedral stood in for St Paul’s as the location for Winston Churchill’s funeral in the opening episode of series three. And newspaper reports earlier this year suggested that the cathedral is also set to provide the backdrop for Lord Mountbatten’s funeral and Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s wedding in the forthcoming fourth series.

For your eyes only

The adventures of 007 have traditionally been set in glamorous locations all over the world – but Hampshire has appeared in many of James Bond’s adventures, welcoming three of the six actors to play the heroic spy. In Sean Connery’s last (proper) Bond outing Diamonds Are Forever the finale was filmed in Southampton Docks, with a murder attempt onboard the ship the Canberra.

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond came to Aldershot Military Barracks to shoot a hovercraft chase in Die Another Day, his last outing in the dinner jacket. In the same film Hawley Bear Pit was transformed into the border between North and South Korea for the memorable opening scenes and RAF Odiham became part of a US airbase.

And Daniel Craig returned to Aldershot’s Bruneval Barracks for his second Bond film Quantum of Solace. The barracks, which were part of the now demolished Montgomery Lines, stood in for Kazan in Russia. Farnborough Airport also stood in for an Austrian airport in the same film.

More Hampshire locations on film:

Stratfield Saye provided the cavalry scenes in War Horse and the dining scenes in the 1996 version of Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

Houghton Lodge in Stockbridge was the location of Oscar Wilde’s office in the 1997 film Wilde starring Stephen Fry.

The old airstrip at Blackbushe Airport in Yateley was where director Ron Howard filmed the race scenes for Formula One drama Rush.

And HMS Warrior in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard featured in the 1997 film version of Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett.