Dorset has been the star of many a film and TV drama and it's no surprise, with the unspoilt countryside, dramatic coastline and many impressive manor houses and gardens all offering a beautiful setting to really bring the script to life.
West Dorset’s stunning coastline plays a starring role in ITV1 drama, Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman and written and created by Chris Chibnall.
Sites which feature in the series include a number of locations in and around the seaside resort of West Bay including East Cliff, West Bay Harbour and the Quay West development as well as other locations nearby at Eype and Freshwater.
Far From the Madding Crowd
In 2013, Hollywood film crews descended on Sherborne and Mapperton House near Beaminster to shoot Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of Hardy’s fourth novel and first major literary success Far From the Madding Crowd.
Starring A-listers Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturrdige and Mathias Schoenaerts, film locations include Mapperton House, Sherborne Abbey, Castleton Church and Abbey Close, the streets of which were transformed into an 1870s market square in the town of Casterbridge.
To name but a few…
The BBC2 adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novel 'Wolf Hall', starring Damien Lewis, also featured Dorset locations. Filming took place in the grounds of Sherborne School and on Church Lane in Sherborne town, as well as nearby National Trust property, Montacute House.
A second 8 part series of ITV1’s Harbour Lives with Ben Fogle was filmed in Dorset during 2014. By land, sea and air, Ben explored all aspects of the place where he grew up - he met the people who live and work in this stunning part of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline and discovered the unique stories they have to tell.
From the generations-old fishing families, newcomers escaping the rat-race, and the high-flyers of millionaires row on Sandbanks, there’s nowhere quite like this part of Britain.
In 2011, Dorset's towns and villages starred alongside Bond girl Gemma Arterton in 'Tamara Drewe', an adaptation of the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds and Dame Maggie Smith's latest feature film, ' From Time to Time', written by Dorset's own Julian Fellowes, was filmed at Athelhampton House in West Dorset.
This is Hardy country
Dorset is Thomas Hardy's Wessex and with much of the landscape remaining unchanged it has been the location for many adaptations of his famous novels.
West Dorset and Purbeck have provided locations for the 2015 and 1967 versions of 'Far From The Madding Crowd', 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' for the BBC starring Gemma Arterton on and ITV's 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' starring Ciaran Hinds.
Adaptations of classic novels
Some lavish productions of Jane Austen's novels have also found a home here.
Her classic love story, 'Persuasion', was filmed in Lyme Regis with Rupert Penry-Jones playing Captain Frederick Wentworth.
Lyme Regis was the home of author John Fowles and the 1980 film adaptation of his classic novel 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' was filmed locally with a cloaked Meryl Streep famously standing on the Cobb Harbour.
Big screen blockbusters
Purbeck was used for ‘Nanny McPhee’ with Emma Thompson and Colin Firth!
Portland Harbour is the location for the latest British film directed by Richard Curtis ‘The Boat that Rocked’ starring Rhys Ifans and Bill Nighy.