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The movie industry has been on a high this past decade with multi-billion dollar franchises such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars and many others – taking the world by storm. The impact of the cinema boom has been felt throughout the world with several other industries seeing benefits too. From growing tourism because of famous filming locations and fashion influenced by our big-screen heroes, to video games inspired by movies. It’s not unusual for tourists to visit sights where their favorite movies and TV shows have been filmed, or to wear clothes inspired by their favorite TV characters. The video game and iGaming industry has also had its fair share of games based on famous movie characters and many slot games online are extremely easy to play just because of the familiar theme, storyline and graphics.
Harrogate and its surroundings have also seen a burst in tourism, since many popular movies and TV shows have been filmed on our streets, halls and marvellous landscapes. For decades our town has been visited by film crews while shooting, so you may already have spotted a familiar scene when watching some of your favourites. And tourists have also started to wander down our streets and areas to experience those beautiful movie scenes in real life. Did you know that the following movies were filmed right here in Harrogate?
Before our favourite Peruvian bear returned to our screens with the sequel “Paddington 2” Harrogate residents had the chance to catch a glimpse of the stars of the film around town and filming near the Bilton Woods viaduct. The cast and crew were warmly welcomed by local fans and speculations abounded about what Harrogate’s role in the movie would be. As it turns out, the viaduct served as the setting for the thrilling rail chase scene in the film.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Of all the movies filmed in Harrogate, Hugh Hudson’s “Chariots of Fire” is perhaps the most critically acclaimed with four wins out of 7 nominations at the 1982 Oscars, 2 BAFTA awards (from 8 nominations) and a Golden Globe. It tells the story of Olympic athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. In this historical drama, you can spot Harrogate’s iconic Crescent Gardens used as the setting for a Parisian street café. Crescent Gardens have been a huge part of Harrogate and the community, and their recent sale to Impala Estates marks a new beginning and vision for their future.
Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” is undoubtedly a classic and has been a favourite with audiences for over a century with there have been over 16 English language versions of the gothic romance. Not one but two versions of this epic tale have been filmed right here in Harrogate in1996 and a TV movie in 1970. The unique collection of rock formations at Brimham Rocks serves as a backdrop for the notable scene of Jane and Rochester’s first meeting when his horse slips on a patch of ice and Rochester falls. Brimham Rocks have also been used as a filming location for “Wuthering Heights” (1970), “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1988) as well as the series “A Woman of Substance” (1984) and “Ivanhoe” (1997).
This fantastical story takes place in Yorkshire, so it’s no surprise that when filming for the 1993 version Allerton Castle was one of the central locations used. The castle was used for both the outside and interior shots of Misselthwaite Manor. In addition to the imposing castle, Fountains Hall and the moors near Coniston were also used as filming locations. The film was both critically and commercially acclaimed, and it earned Dame Maggie Smith a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Agatha Christie and Harrogate are forever linked due to her 1926 disappearance which led to extreme public interest and media speculation as well as a police hunt. The crime writer was later found safe and sound in Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, unharmed but with claims of amnesia. It’s only fitting that the dramatization of this disappearance in 1979’s “Agatha” was filmed in Harrogate with the Old Swan Hotel, the Royal Baths Assembly Rooms and surrounding streets all serving as key locations. The city has already hosted several crime writing events and festivals due to the connection between Christie and Harrogate. Moreover, many crime writers and fans have put the city on their list of must-visit places.