6 movies to watch on TV this week made in Herts

Dixie Egerickx plays Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. Picture: STUDIOCANAL

Dixie Egerickx plays Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. - Credit: STUDIOCANAL

With lockdown restrictions set to continue for a while, here's a selection of movies to watch on TV at home this week which feature scenes filmed on location in Hertfordshire.

From period dramas to family favourites and comedy adventures to big budget blockbusters, there's something for most tastes – with our county providing the backdrop.

Can you spot the local tourist attractions and stately homes in these movies?

1. Johnny English
Sunday, January 17
Channel 5, 1.55pm.

Rowan Atkinson stars as the titular bungling British secret agent in this 2003 spy comedy.

The movie's climax takes place in St Albans Cathedral where Johnny English thwarts the coronation of John Malkovich’s French villain, Pascal Sauvage.

The Cathedral's long nave was used as a substitute for Westminster Abbey.

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Atkinson returned to the county for sequel Johnny English Reborn, with the golf course at Brocket Hall this time featuring prominently, along with a helicopter cutting down trees at the Hertfordshire stately home.

2. Transformers: The Last Knight
Sunday, January 17
Film4, 5.55pm.

This 2017 sci-fi adventure sequel from director Michael Bay sees the return of Bumblebee and Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager.

Sir Anthony Hopkins also joins the cast as Sir Edmund Burton, who has a deep understanding about the history of the Transformers on Earth.

In the fifth instalment of the Transformers franchise, Quintessa brainwashes Optimus Prime. She orders him to travel to Earth to help her get an ancient artefact.

Cade, Bumblebee and the Autobots race against time to find it first.

Transformers: The Last Knight

The film poster for Transformers: The Last Knight. Scenes of the action blockbuster were filmed at Knebworth House. - Credit: Alan Davies

The film crew shot scenes in the grounds of both Hatfield House and Knebworth House, although blink and you'd miss it in the trailer – Knebworth features for about a second at 2 minutes 19 seconds.

In the 2019 film and TV exhibition at Knebworth House, custodian Henry Lytton Cobbold wrote: "For the filming of Transformers: The Last Knight we had the largest unit base and crew we have ever had based here at Knebworth House, and also the largest crane – which was a logistical nightmare to move into position.

"Three days of fantastic action filming produced just 56 seconds of the final film, showing the amazing amount of effort that goes into filmmaking."

3. Paddington
Monday, January 18
Film4, 5pm.

There's another chance to see the polite bear from the Peruvian jungle in this charming family adventure.

In London, the eponymous marmalade-loving bear catches the eye of a sinister taxidermist played by Nicole Kidman.

Paddington pops out of a dustbin

Scenes of movie Paddington were filmed at Hatfield House. - Credit: StudioCanal

And the Paddington scenes filmed in Hertfordshire? Hatfield House was used for when Paddington and Henry Brown visit the Geographer's Guild. 

Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville) dresses up as a cleaning lady and pushes a trolley, all to help Paddington find the whereabouts of a British geographer, in scenes shot in the Long Gallery.

4. The Favourite
Tuesday, January 19
Sky Cinema Comedy, 6pm.

Olivia Colman won an Academy Award for her role as the gout-ridden Queen Anne in this rude, period black comedy drama from director Yorgos Lanthimos, with co-stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone also winning Oscar nominations.

More than 80 per cent of the movie was shot on location at Hatfield House. You will spot scenes in the Long Gallery, Marble Hall, Library and King James Drawing Room, as well as the estate's gardens and parkland.

READ MORE: Behind the scenes of filming The Favourite in Hatfield

It's early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving in the Queen's bizarre court.

A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper.

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. Picture: Fox Se

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in The Favourite, which was filmed at Hatfield House. Picture: Fox Searchlight Pictures. - Credit: Supplied by BFI London Film Festival / Element Pictures / Scarlet Films

When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, landing outside Hatfield House in a pile of mud, her charm endears her to Sarah. The Duchess of Marlborough takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail spots a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.

As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion and lover.

Their burgeoning friendship gives Abigail a chance to fulfil her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

The real Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough was from St Albans.

5. The Secret Garden
Tuesday, January 19
Sky Cinema Family, 7pm.

Colin Firth, Julie Walters and young Dixie Egerickx star in this new take on the beloved classic novel of the same name written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Colin Firth stars in The Secret Garden, a Sky Original telling the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-o

Colin Firth stars in The Secret Garden, a Sky Original telling the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl sent to live with her uncle Archibald Craven at Misselthwaite Manor, a remote country estate deep in the Yorkshire moors. Picture: StudioCanal / Sky UK - Credit: Studio Canal / Sky UK

Set in England during a new time period in 1947, the film follows young orphan girl Mary Lennox who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate.

Dixie Egerickx plays Mary Lennox, while her uncle Archibald Craven is played by Colin Firth. The Picture Gallery and State Drawing Room inside Knebworth House form part of Misselthwaite Manor.

The grounds of Woodside Park, in Watton-at-Stone, were another filming location.

READ MORE: Bringing The Secret Garden to life on screen

6. Victoria & Abdul
Wednesday, January 20
BBC4, 9pm.

It's more royalty and back to Knebworth House for his biographical comedy-drama starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria.

Directed by Stephen Frears, the film tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and young Indian servant Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal).

The film poster for Victoria & Abdul on display at Knebworth House where scenes of the movie were shot.

The film poster for Victoria & Abdul on display at Knebworth House where scenes of the movie were shot. - Credit: Alan Davies

Knebworth House is featured in the movie, with the Hertfordshire stately home doubling as Balmoral.

As well as Judi Dench, the film also stars comedian and actor Eddie Izzard as Bertie, Prince of Wales, the Queen's oldest son, and Michael Gambon as Lord Salisbury.

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