When Nicole Kidman played the Russian mail order bride of a St Albans bank clerk

Nicole Kidman stars in film Birthday Girl, which can be watched on BritBox.

Nicole Kidman stars as a Russian mail order bride in film Birthday Girl, which can be watched on BritBox. - Credit: Film 4

Nicole Kidman as a Russian speaking mail order bride conning a bank clerk from St Albans. 

The Worzel Gummidge remake being filmed on a St Albans allotment, and Inspector Morse supping a pint outside Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub.

These are just some of the fictional scenes filmed in the district over the years.

BritBox, the streaming service set up by BBC and ITV, and also including content from Channel 4 and Channel 5, has a huge selection of movies, documentaries and series to watch, from the 1960s through to recent must-see series. 

Here's just five films and series currently available on BritBox that feature scenes shot in St Albans and the surrounding area. Can you spot the Herts locations in them?


1. Birthday Girl

Nicole Kidman stars in film Birthday Girl, which can be watched on BritBox.

Nicole Kidman stars as a Russian mail order bride in film Birthday Girl, which can be watched on BritBox. - Credit: Film 4

Nicole Kidman playing a mysterious Russian mail order bride in St Albans? Yes, you read that right. 

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That really is the bizarre plot of this 2001 dark romance thriller directed and co-written by former St Albans schoolboy Jez Butterworth, who later worked on the script for James Bond movie Spectre.

John Buckingham, played by Ben Chaplin, is a thirtysomething bank clerk from St Albans who has his life turned upside down by the arrival of his Russian mail order bride, Nadia (Nicole Kidman).

Containing strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature, parts of the movie were shot in St Albans – look out for the Drovers Way multi-storey car park – and the Marlowes shopping centre in Hemel Hempstead. 

You can watch again this largely forgotten Nicole Kidman movie on BritBox.


2. Inspector Morse

Inspector Morse loves a pint, so what better place to enjoy an al fresco drink than outside Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans?

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Picture: Danny Loo

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

While predominantly set in and around Oxford, Morse did venture to Hertfordshire quite a few times for filming.

Morse discuss a case with Lewis (Kevin Whately) outside the historic Fighting Cocks in 1990 episode The Sins of the Fathers, an episode in which they investigates the suspicious death of a brewery manager.

As Lewis sups his pint in the sun at the picturesque location, Morse castigates him: "Don't slurp in my ear, Lewis!"

They didn't even change the name of the public house, with the Ye Olde Fighting Cocks sign clearly visible in the background behind Lewis.

An episode of Inspector Morse was filmed in St Albans with the Cathedral as a backdrop.

An episode of Inspector Morse was filmed in St Albans with the Cathedral as a backdrop. - Credit: Alan Davies

Starring John Thaw as the cantankerous Morse, episode Masonic Mysteries also sees the detective chief inspector sitting in the Romeland garden in front of St Albans Cathedral.


3. Grantchester

Robson Green stars in Grantchester, which can be seen on BritBox.

Robson Green stars in Grantchester, which can be seen on BritBox. - Credit: ITV

This popular 1950s-set ITV detective crime drama starring Robson Green is based in the Cambridgeshire village of the show's title.

However, Robson Green was also spotted filming scenes in St Albans in 2018.

Green plays Det Insp Geordie Keating in the show and, being set in Cambridgeshire, the production is shot extensively in Grantchester itself, with the Church of St Andrew & St Mary taking centre stage for much of the church interior and churchyard scenes.

However, according to Creative England, a private home in Lemsford was used to double for the vicarage.

Robson Green photographed during filming for Grantchester in St Albans. Picture: Joe Kaloczi.

Robson Green photographed during filming for Grantchester in St Albans. - Credit: Joe Kaloczi.

In the first four series, DI Keating works with Anglican vicar Sidney Chambers – played by James Norton – to solve crimes in the titular village in Cambridgeshire. 

Tom Brittney as Reverend Will Davenport took over the lead from Norton in series 4. 

The TV series is based on the books called The Grantchester Mysteries, written by James Runcie, son of the former Bishop of St Albans and Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, who is buried at St Albans Cathedral.


4. Worzel Gummidge 

A St Albans allotment where Worzel Gummidge was filmed.

A St Albans allotment where Worzel Gummidge was filmed. - Credit: Helen Errington

Not the Jon Pertwee 1970s-1980s version, which is also available on BritBox, but the 2019 miniseries starring Mackenzie Crook, from The Office, as the eponymous scarecrow.

St Albans features in this remake of the classic TV series about the adventures of Worzel Gummidge, with the Highfield Park Allotments used.

At the end of the second episode, Soggy Bogart, Oswald Pollypop, Chopper and Trike join Earthy Mangold for a bedtime story at the allotments.


5. Humans

Channel 4 show Humans starring Tom Goodman-Hill being filmed in St Albans.

Channel 4 show Humans starring Tom Goodman-Hill being filmed in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

This Channel 4 series also visited Herts for location filming.

Benington Lordship Gardens near Stevenage was used for the first and third series, while St Albans featured in the second season of the hit C4 sci-fi drama.

Humans is set in a world in which we live alongside robots called ‘Synths' and outside the Clock Tower and in French Row were filming locations, as our pictures prove.

Scenes for the second series of sci-fi show 'Humans' were filmed in St Albans.

Scenes for the second series of sci-fi show 'Humans' were filmed in St Albans.Tom Goodman-Hill could be seen filming in French Row. - Credit: Debbie White / Archant

You can stream all three series of Humans on BritBox.

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